LTG Mark Hertling responded to my earlier praxis post on the bayonet, giving a thoughtful and more detailed explication of the Army's current thinking. Here it is. I will have comments on the other side.
LTG Mark Hertling has left a new comment on your post "Praxis: The Bayonet":
A few Soldiers who I respect mentioned this blogsite and some of the things being posted as a result of an interview I did at Ft Jackson. They recommended I clear things up with some additional information.
We're revising how we "fight with a rifle" as part of basic training. We're looking at the most likely ways Soldiers will be asked to fight, based on what we've learned in combat, especially in combat over the last eight years. Our new training will include significant changes in a pugil assault course (which I would challenge anyone to compare to the old Bayonet Assault Course, and see which one they think is tougher), fighting with devices (knives, etc) and revising our combative training skills. That is in addition to how we conduct tough physical training, and a more intensive form of basic and advanced rifle marksmanship. It will be pretty intense, and -- more importantly -- relevant to the current and future operating environment.
We can teach the "spirit of the warrior" (replacing the "spirit of the bayonet, as I was taught)by using all kinds of devices and training in our professional values. And that might be important, because the chance of actually using a bayonet in combat is relatively rare (even given the unique actions of the Highlanders, or that of the great infantry hero COL Millett).
For those who submitted comments about me personally, I did have to smile. Yes, my chosen branch was Armor. I've commanded Infantry and Cavalry units, and have had three tours in combat, and I've been assigned to two different training centers. And by the way, in all my years, I've never seen bayonet training being conducted outside the training base (Army or Marines), so I'm wondering how people sustain these critically important skills....or is this just something that is introduced in basic, and never practiced again? Seems to be the case. Not a good way to train.
Thanks for all of you for being interested in what we're doing in the training base. We're still producing the best Soldier in all the world...and we're trying to keep it that way!
General Hertling over Iraq.
While LTG Hertling's thinking is made more clear by his kind response, I maintain my own position (as previously set out) that, at least for the purposes of the militia of the United States, bayonets and bayonet training should not be neglected.
I do thank LTG Hertling for taking the time to respond to my concerns, but I stand by my position.