Bayonet's history stretches back to WWII
April 5, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga. (April 3, 2013) -- Last week, The Bayonet was honored with first place in the MG Keith L. Ware Public Affairs Awards Communication Competition.
However, that was just the latest honor in the long and storied history of The Bayonet, a history that stretches back to the days of World War II.
For more than 70 years, The Bayonet has served as the official newspaper of Fort Benning, and has been the only continuously published weekly newspaper during that timeframe.
The Bayonet was first published on Sept. 17, 1942, after being founded by Maynard Ashworth, who was assigned to the Office of Public Affairs at what was then the U.S. Infantry Center.
It was named by 1st Lt. Henry T. Gayley, who wrote in the inaugural edition, "The bayonet is the symbol of the infantryman, whether he trudges the roads, rides the jeep or six by six, or is air borne. The paratrooper forming the left ear of the mast-head represents the parachute trooper and Lawson Field, while the tank on the right ear is symbolical of the armored divisions which are trained at Fort Benning."
The first issue featured a story on comedy star Harpo Marx's visit to Fort Benning on the front page, as well as a cartoon that depicted Soldiers and Family members reading The Bayonet.
But perhaps it was Brig. Gen. Levin Allen, then the commandant of the Infantry School, that was able to best predict the future of The Bayonet.
"I know the publication will be a worthy addition to post activities," Allen wrote in the first issue.
"It will be of definite assistance to Fort Benning personnel … and will prove of incalculable enjoyment to the reservation's thousands of citizens. … It is my hope and belief that The Benning Bayonet will have a long and useful life. Thursday is publication day, and I'm sure it will be looked forward to by all of us. I know it will by me."
And while publication day has since shifted several times, Allen's words have proven to be true, as The Bayonet has continued to tell the Army story since that first 14-page issue, printing more than 3,500 editions in the process.
Other publications or periodicals have attempted to replicate The Bayonet with little success.
These publications included The Infantry School News, which first published Sept. 1, 1922 and ceased publication March 6, 1931; The Benning Herald, which published from May 1, 1931 to May 3, 1935 and then again as a monthly from April 6, 1948 to 1969; and the competitors of The Bayonet, The Benning Patriot and The Benning Leader, which published from 1991-1993 and 1993-1997, respectively, but only The Bayonet has carried the banner as the first official newspaper of Fort Benning.