THE ARMY WAY; Following the idea of the Marine Corps Crucible (a final harrowing test at the end of Basic Training), the Army has created "The Bayonet" as its own final test of a recruit's mind and body. The Bayonet is a 25-mile endurance course with numerous events, challenges, and tasks. The Army course is 24 hours and is focused on tactics by platoons of trainees; the Marine Crucible lasts 54 hours and is primarily an individual test of endurance. The Bayonet includes five specific events:
@ The Wall: A squad must evacuate two "wounded helicopter pilots" (dummies weighted with sand) over a rough terrain course including a ten-foot wall.
@ The Bridge: The platoon must make a tactical movement across a rope bridge.
@ Ammunition Carry: The platoon is given a stack a heavy ammunition cans (weighted with sand or other material) and must work together to move them "to the front line".
@ Casualty Evacuation: Several members of the platoon are "wounded by artillery fire" and must be carried to an evacuation point.
@ The Cliff: The platoon must attack up a 70-foot cliff using ropes already in place. As always, the platoon must work together with stronger members assisting others.
After the basic training company completes The Bayonet, the troops march to a field lit by torches, dip their canteen cups into a barrel of "grog", and drink a toast to the infantry. This ceremony welcomes them to the Infantry Branch as qualified soldiers.--Stephen V Cole