Entries in Miltary (2)


How Many Bayonets Does the US Have?

Cpl. Walter D. Marino II/U.S. Marine Corps(WASHINGTON) -- The most memorable line of Monday night’s debate was President Obama’s pointed “horses and bayonets” jab at Mitt Romney for questioning what Romney said was a shrinking U.S. Navy.

Obama responded that Romney “hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works.”  He added, “You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916.  Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed.”

Horses and bayonets quickly became a Twitter punchline, but while they may no longer be needed for bayonet charges, it turns out the Pentagon still owns a hefty arsenal of bayonets.

The Army said on Tuesday it has 419,155 bayonets in its inventory.  The Marine Corps has another 195,334 bayonets that it bought in 2004 and  it plans on buying 175,061 more bayonets this year.  A Marine official says it’s not accurate to add the two totals together as the new ones will include replacements for ones already in service as well as additional stocks.

Bayonets are standard issue for Marines deployed to combat areas, though they don’t necessarily carry them with them when they’re on patrol.

Several soldiers who spoke to ABC News said that deploying with bayonets to Iraq and Afghanistan varied from unit to unit.  While not a requirement, one soldier said they were available if needed.

However, a 2011 Stars and Stripes article quoted a former Army official as saying bayonets had not been issued to soldiers deploying in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In 2010, the Army dropped bayonet training for its recruits in basic training.

The Army also reported on Tuesday that it has 176 horses.  The horses kept at Fort Myer, Va., are used mainly for ceremonial duties at Arlington Cemetery and the Capital region.  There are also some horses located at Fort Hood, Texas.

The Marine Mountain Warfare Training Center in California trains Marines in using horses, mules and donkeys to carry supplies in mountainous regions.

Romney has proposed increasing the Navy to more than 300 ships from the current fleet size of 285 ships.  A Defense official pointed out on Tuesday that the Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan presented to Congress earlier this year will result in 300 ships by 2019.

However, the official also said that while numbers are important when talking about a globally deployed Navy it’s important to look beyond the numbers at a ship’s capabilities when it’s deployed.

“When you look at an Arliegh Burke Class destroyer it’s missile defense capable, it can fire cruise missiles, it can conduct anti-submarine warfare, it has a gun on front for anti-surface warfare.  It can patrol the coast of not only the U.S. but off the coast of other countries.  That’s a pretty capable platform,” the official said.

Adding that these destroyers can also carry helicopters, the official said, “It’s not single use, that’s been the evolution of not just the Navy but of our platforms as well.”

The official said today’s ships can carry out the capabilities of the 600-ship Navy envisioned by the Reagan administration.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Secret Service Scandal: Soldier Is Latest Military Member Under Investigation

Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The 12th military service member under investigation for links to the the prostitution scandal in Colombia is an Army soldier working for the White House Communications Agency (WHCA), Defense Department officials confirm to ABC News.

The agency is staffed by military members who provide technical and communications support at the White House as well as on domestic and international presidential trips.

“A military service member attached to the White House Communications Agency is under investigation related to the incident in Cartagena,” a Defense official said. “The individual has been relieved of his duties pending the outcome of the investigation. The White House Communications Agency provides information services to the executive branch, Secret Service and others as directed, but it reports to the Defense Information Systems Agency.”

The Secret Service is investigating 12 of its agents and officers regarding allegations of misconduct with prostitutes in Colombia before President Obama’s arrival in Cartagena for the Summit of the Americas two weekends ago. Six Secret Service members have resigned or been asked to step down from their posts.

The military service members now under investigation for their activities in Colombia include seven Army soldiers, two Marines, two Navy sailors and an Air Force airman.

White House spokesman Jay Carney confirmed earlier Monday that a WHCA employee was now under investigation.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Monday that several service members under investigation have had their security clearances suspended while the investigation’s underway.  Several officials said the soldier working for WHCA is assumed to be one of the ones referred to by Panetta.

Panetta made the comments while en route to Colombia for a previously scheduled trip to meet with defense officials there.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio