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    Re: Sabres and Sextants
    From: Robert Eno
    Date: 2003 Jan 29, 23:22 -0500

    You missed the tongue and cheek aspect of my response.
    I recognize that there ain't no going back. GPS, microchips and
    turbo-charged illudium Q-39 space modulators are with us forever. The
    sextant will go the way of the wagon wheel.
    Nevertheless, I am one of those die hard hold outs. I still believe that
    placing sole reliance on something as delicate as electronics -- and in a
    hostile environment -- is less than prudent. Having operated in many hostile
    environments myself, I can tell you that before or during a crisis
    situation, the first thing to crap out is the electronics.
    Anyway the point of my bringing up the bayonet is this:
    Firearms have replaced swords as the weapon of the ground soldier and
    rightly so. The military above all, has to maintain an technological edge.
    There is just too much at state to let something like that slip. But long
    ago, someone in the system rightly recognized that when the infantryman runs
    out of ammunition, his rifle becomes, at worst, useless and at best, an odd
    shaped club. So this smart fellow figured, well why not affix something
    sharp-edged to it to give him an added advantage until he can get some
    bullets?  As you can see, we've come full circle; sort of. From sword, to
    rifle to modified spear.
    Bruce Bauer, author of the sextant handbook wrote this to the introduction
    to the second edition:
    "...Off the Atlantic coast recently or radar, loran, and single sideband
    radio all were smoked in one brilliant instant by a lightening stroke merely
    near our vessel -- not even a hit..."
    I am not suggesting eschewing GPS. Indeed, I use it a lot where I live and
    am damn glad to have it, but if it craps out on me at -40 in a storm and I'm
    100 miles from home, I know that I can get back to safety because I also
    know how to navigate without electronics.
    Now I must toddle off. I have to finish building that wagon wheel and I've
    been meaning to polish my sword for some time now....
    P.S. I hope never to see that mushroom cloud that you spoke of.
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Jared Sherman 
    Sent: Wednesday, January 29, 2003 10:06 PM
    Subject: Re: Sabres and Sextants
    > Yes Robert, but I spoke of cavalry sabres not bayonets. There are reasons
    why the Army issue one and not the other.
    > The Navy, the USCG, and the Air Force do not normally issue bayonets
    either. Even the Army does not issue them to MP's for routine duty. Bayonets
    are issued only to those men, in those forces, who are expected to *use*
    > Dissembling on the analogy does not affect the basis of it: Celestial Nav
    is a largely obsolete tool and that is why the services are not "issuing"
    it. The only people who can afford to carry it are those aboard ships and
    places--where they can carry lighter smaller tools that perform better and
    faster with less training. Inertial navigation can now be done with IC chips
    that fit in a matchbox without removing the matches. That's plenty of backup
    for GPS.
    > And if you see a bright mushroom cloud on the horizon, you won't need your
    GPS or your sextant. Just turn your back to it, and go the other way.

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