Oh, Hell N…. uh, maybe…?

Update and bump: This story seems to be in the news this week, so I thought I’d let you see my take on things if you missed it the first time.
When I first saw this, I just about went apoplectic about the Army going soft. But I read a little further, and am willing to concede the point.

First, the outrage:

One of the changes Hertling wants to implement is the elimination of bayonet drills, a longtime staple of BCT.

My dander got up. We’re in the middle of a shooting war, and they want to cut one of the few things that plants the idea in a troop’s head that war isn’t Nintendo?

But things get much better:

Hertling also wants Soldiers to focus less on traditional combatives moves such as grappling and, focus instead on fighting with their hands and knives or other objects.

He said Soldiers need to learn how to fight with their hands to make their combat skills more suited to existing battlefield conditions.

“The great majority of our Soldiers come into training having never had a fistfight,” Hertling said.

And he’s got a point. I thought back to the bayonet training that I went through back in the Stone Age (1985), and now recall that it wasn’t terribly practical. And the hand-to-hand wasn’t all that great either. Far more useful was the day to day wrasslin’ we ended up doing once we got to our units. A common introduction to a new troop was the “dogpile” where the new guy gets tackled by the whole platoon. As a new troop, you’re expected to resist to the best of your ability. In the end, you’re gonna go down, but you damn well better go down swinging.

But that was  a quarter century ago. I wonder how many young guys today have had that kind of experience prior to the Army. With the exception of high school football players, how many young men today have any experience with a full contact sport? How many can take a punch? How many are ready for the brutality of modern warfare.

We, as a nation and an Army, owe it to our young soldiers to prepare them.

6 thoughts on “Oh, Hell N…. uh, maybe…?”

  1. As a 48 year old Badger, being dogpiled was a normal part of playing outdoors. Got dogpiled in the Navy, got dogpiled in the police academy, get into altercations as a cop. There is still violence out there, even here. Good for the Army that they are gonna give the troops a leg up on that sort of thing.

  2. I wasn’t too surprised to learn that soccer was a full-contact sport in the Army.

    I was, however, a little surprised to learn that volleyball was.

  3. The Marines used to have a drill in boot camp in which two recruits were put in boxing gear and placed in an area slightly bigger than a phone booth. They then started punching until one of the recruits landed a straight punch. It’s purpose was to teach that getting hit wasn’t the end of the world. That you could still function. It seems useful training to me but I believe it was ended in the 90’s.

  4. This article is back from the dead I see. 🙂

    Seriously though, take a look at the “Engineers” poster below. Go on, I’ll wait…

    Ok, see the bayonet on his rifle? Yeah, that looks to be about 1.5-2 times as long as the M-9. And it’s mounted on a wooden stock rifle that’s longer than an M-16 (and damned longer than an M-4). A rifle that would take the abuse dished out in an actual close quarters battle. I agreed with your analysis back when you first posted this in Feb, and I still agree.

  5. Not just HS football (which I played) How about common everyday playground slug-fests, as you suggest, XBrad? The kind where a couple of round-house rights are thrown just for starters. In my day we always settled it between ourselves, and if you couldn’t learn to take a punch, you soon learned to. Hell, there was one guy I fought with almost every day over lunch in Jr. HS.–big guy who used to love picking on me–mainly because I wouldn’t shut my mouth and show proper “respect.” And this was at a Lab school on a college campus!

    Today kids run to the principal’s office and cops and attnys are called in the better suburban schools. “In the Hood” they just gun or knife you, case closed. Real “playground fights” of yore are few and far between today except for the killing kind in the inner cities.

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