Is the bayonet an obsolete weapon?
At the third and final presidential debate Monday night, Mitt Romney accused Barack Obama of reducing the number of ships in the U.S. Navy. President Obama responded, "Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets." Does the U.S. military still use bayonets much?
Yes. All Marines learn to use bayonets during their basic martial arts training. Some of this training takes place on the Bayonet Assault Course, upon which Marines are unleashed to bayonet everything in sight. Learning proficiency in basic bayoneting techniques is part of qualifying for a tan belt, which is required of every recruit. Marines are expected to learn to attach and remove the bayonets from their rifles quickly, so that they might swiftly initiate a charge.
While the bayonet dates to the 17th century, it has evolved through technological innovations over the years. In 2003, the Marine Corps replaced its standard-issue bayonet with a longer, sharper model, the OKC-3S. The new model, designed by New York's Ontario Knife Co., was also more effective when brandished as a hand knife - not to mention more ergonomically correct. Perhaps more vitally, the blades were also better able to pierce body armor, a concern particular to modern warriors. More than 120,000 bayonets were commissioned to supply one to each Marine, at an estimated price of $36.35 each, or $4,362,000 total. In addition to potential use in hand-to-hand combat, bayonets are said to be useful for keeping prisoners under control and for "poking an enemy to see whether he is dead."
The Marines aren't the only branch of the military to equip its soldiers with bayonets. The Army issues the M9 bayonet knife, which has been in use since the 1980s, but troops have moved away from the detachable knives in recent years. In 2010, the Army began to scale back on bayonet drills in favor of calisthenics, perhaps a wise move given that the soldiers rarely carry bayonets on their rifles, and since the last U.S. bayonet charge was in 1951. Others, however, have still found use for the bayonet charge in recent years. Just last month a British soldier was honored for a bayonet charge on the Taliban that he led in 2011. This charge was reminiscent of another British bayonet charge in Basra, Iraq, in 2004. In 2011, Col. Moammar Gadhafi was also reportedly killed by a bayonet stab to the rear.
While the use of the bayonet is rare, the use of horses is even rarer. The military still maintains the historic 1st Cavalry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas, and the division's horse detachment still sometimes mounts up for the occasional charge - but these charges tend to take place only as part of parades, historical ceremonies, and fairs.
Is the bayonet an obsolete weapon?
- Strong fourth quarter announced CLINTON -- CFB Holding Company, the parent organization for Citizens First Bank, held its annual shareholders' meeting Feb. 19, at the bank's main facility at 1442 Lincoln Way in Clinton. Attendees were welcomed by Board of Directors Chairman Bart Ba
What you need to know about subtle office bullying
Sad to say, but bullying does not just exist in the schoolyard. It is alive and well in the workplace.
Study says too much protein could lead to early death
Even as researchers warned of the health risks of high-protein diets in middle age, they said eating more protein actually could be a smart move for people over 65.
Lilly's diabetes drug rejected by FDA
A diabetes pill developed by Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim was rejected by U.S. regulators because of previously disclosed manufacturing deficiencies at a German plant that hadn't been resolved.
Donation brings cancer detection to Clinton
Patients at Mercy Medical Center can soon expect the most advanced and high-tech form of lung cancer detection in the medical market, thanks to a generous donation from the Mercy Auxiliary Volunteers.
VIDEO: Apple iPhone to become more car-friendly
Apple is teaming up with major car makers to make iPhone applications easier for drivers to use while they're on the road. Apple Inc. is calling the technology, "CarPlay."
The only online dating ad you'll ever need
Wired magazine assembled a number of infographics this month of what makes for the most attractive online dating profile. It even included a list of the most appealing words men and women used in their profiles.
- Religions take center stage CLINTON -- A Lenten discussion series will start March 11. Peace Soup is set to open at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, at St. Boniface Hall, 2520 Pershing Blvd. For the eighth year, Prince of Peace Parish Pax Christi and the Clinton Franciscan Center for
- Another look at winter memories Recently, a newspaper proclaimed, "It's Official, 2014 is Worst Winter in Memory." Not so fast, 20-somethings. Don't discount many octogentarians who will recall those swirling winds of 1936. Winters of old are legendary for hard times caused by sev
- Canticle preps for Lenten retreat CLINTON -- A Lenten retreat will be held at the Canticle in March. The retreat, which is open to the public, begins with check-in at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, March 22, and continues until 4 p.m. Overnight accommodations are available. The title of the ret
- More Lifestyles Headlines