Military Sayings, Mottos, Truisms and Cheek

  • '18 '17 '16 '15 Customizer

    I came across another old chain email yesterday and found myself again laughing and feeling glad to have the good guys with big guns on our side. Feel free to contribute any you may have.

    U.S. Marines - Certified Counselors to the 72 Virgins Dating Club.”

    U.S. Air Force - Travel Agents To Allah”

    When  In Doubt, Empty The Magazine

    Death Smiles At Everyone - Marines Smile Back

    SEAL Sniper - “You can run, but you’ll just die tired!”

    Artillery Brings Dignity to What Would Otherwise Be Just A Vulgar Brawl

    When a Marine sniper was asked by a reporter if he feels anything when killing insurgents:     “[pause]   …   A little recoil.”

    Happiness Is A Belt-Fed Weapon

    Marines - Providing Enemies of America an Opportunity To Die For their Country Since 1775”

    “One Shot, Twelve Kills” - U.S. Naval Gun Fire Support

    “Machine Gunners - Accuracy By Volume”

    “It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed.” - U.S. Air Force Manual

    Out of Kadena, Japan, Request comes in to tower:  “Naha, <call sign="">request FL600</call> (60,000 ft)”
    Naha control tower reply:   " <call sign="">rojah, FL 600? If you can get there you can have it.</call>"
    SR-71 pilot reply:   “Roger, descending to FL 600

    “Tracers work both ways.” - U.S. Army Ordnance

    "If the wings are travelling faster than the fuselage, it’s probably a helicopter – and therefore, unsafe.

    "Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death, I Shall Fear No Evil.
    For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing."

    • At the entrance to the old SR-71 operating base Kadena, Japan

    “The Piper Cub is the safest airplane in the world; it can just barely kill you.” - Attributed to Max Stanley (Northrop test pilot)

    “If something hasn’t broken on your helicopter, it’s about to.”

    "Aim towards the Enemy." - Instruction printed on US Rocket Launcher

    “Try to look unimportant; they may be low on ammo.”  - Infantry Journal

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Great collection of quotes.  Here are a few more I’ve heard over the years; I can’t recall the attributions for some of them.

    “The only ground you truly control is the ground you’re standing on.”

    “Peace through superior firepower.”

    “The U.S. Navy could probably win a war without coffee, but it would really rather not have to try.” _“Military aircraft flight manuals are written in blood.”

    “If the Army and the Navy ever look on Heaven’s scenes / They will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines.” [USMC Hymn]

    “There are two types of naval vessels: submarines and targets.” [Expression popular in the Silent Service]

    “Lemme tall ya, they were MEAN-looking dudes!” [Appreciative comment I once heard from a USN Admiral at a conference, in reference to some Special Forces guys he met prior to their take-off for a combat mission.]_


  • Friendly fire isn’t

    Never be in a fighting position with anyone braver than you

    Never run when you can walk, never walk when you can stand, never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lay down, never lay down when you can sleep

    Light infantry is anything but light

    Field Artillery, the King of Battle, we put the balls where the Queen wants them….we also keep her from getting raped

    When everything is going right, you are about to be hit in the flank

    When carrying a full combat load, ounces equal pounds, pounds equal discarded

    One is none, two is one

    No plan survives first contact

    Fight the enemy, not the plan

    Peace through superior firepower

    Soldiers always gripe, if they don’t, something is wrong

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    When everything is going right, you are about to be hit in the flank

    Probably my favourite. Thanks guys.

  • 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16

    Don’ t think!
    Leave it to the horses, because they got bigger heads.

    German Landser

  • '18 '17 '16 '15 Customizer

    @CWO:

    “Peace through superior firepower.”

    @Redleg13A:

    Peace through superior firepower

    This is actually my all-time favorite. Weird that I forgot about it. First saw it on Star Trek TNG.

    @Redleg13A:

    Friendly fire isn’t

    Never run when you can walk, never walk when you can stand, never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lay down, never lay down when you can sleep

    When everything is going right, you are about to be hit in the flank

    When carrying a full combat load, ounces equal pounds, pounds equal discarded

    :lol: :lol: :lol:

    So many of these things sound funny, but they really are quite seriously true.

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @aequitas:

    Don’ t think!
    Leave it the horses, because they got bigger heads.

    Sydney Greenstreet’s character of Major Duval (a French colonial army officer) says something similar in the movie Passage to Marseilles: “Discipline is more important than thought to a combat officer.  An army is not a debating society – its thinking is done for it by experts.”  (He says this during a discussion in which he boasts about the “invincible” Maginot Line, about five minutes before the scene in which a newspaper reports that it’s been flanked.)

    The two following items aren’t military truisms, but they’re kind of funny anyway:

    [TV interview with a US soldier who was being asked about his career prospects in anticipation of some planned personnel cuts in the armed forces]: “I’m a mortarman.  I fire explosive charges on enemy positions using a mortar.  There aren’t a lot of civilian applications for that particular skill-set.”

    [From the package of an F-117 plastic model kit I saw in a store many years ago]: “The F-117 Stealth fighter is a single-seat ground-attack aircraft with a maximum speed of over 600 miles per hour and a service ceiling of 45,000 feet.  It can carry two GBU-10 Paveway laser-guided bombs with 2,000-pound warheads.  For ages 8 and up.”

  • '18 '17 '16 '15 Customizer

    @CWO:

    [From the package of an F-117 plastic model kit I saw in a store many years ago]: “The F-117 Stealth fighter is a single-seat ground-attack aircraft with a maximum speed of over 600 miles per hour and a service ceiling of 45,000 feet.  It can carry two GBU-10 Paveway laser-guided bombs with 2,000-pound warheads.  For ages 8 and up.”

    Ha! Nice!  :lol:

  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    I always think about a line from Sgt. Toomey in “Biloxi Blues,” “Men do not face enemy machine guns because they have been treated with kindness.”

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @frimmel:

    I always think about a line from Sgt. Toomey in “Biloxi Blues,” “Men do not face enemy machine guns because they have been treated with kindness.”

    I think the Duke of Wellington (or someone else I can’t recall) once similarly said that soldiers have to be more afraid of their own officers than of the enemy.


  • Maybe back then they did…today, if your men fear you then you will just get fragged. NCOs on the other hand…yeah, joes should fear them…

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Redleg13A:

    Maybe back then they did…today, if your men fear you then you will just get fragged. NCOs on the other hand…yeah, joes should fear them…

    Yes, good point.  In Wellington’s time, the ordinary soldier in the British army was basically just one component of a firing line whose job was to load, aim and fire a black powder musket at a similar line of enemy troops standing just a couple of hundred yards away.  It was a job that required rigid obedience and rote practice more than anything else.  Soldiers in modern high-end armies today have more sophisticated jobs, have to be proficient in the use of complex equipment, and tend to operate on the battlefield in open order rather than massed, close-packed formations.  All of that requires a higher standard of training that Wellington’s men had, and better motivational strategies by the officers than plain simple terror.  (Old methods sometimes die hard, however: I think that in WWII the Red Army’s front-line divisions were accompanied by NKVD troops which were responsible for spotting and summarily executing deserters.)


  • Sometimes some wall to wall, wall to floor counseling is in order for knuckleheads. But there are many ways to motivate soldiers and in my mind the best way to do that is to be out in front of them. Taking the same risks, sleeping in the same mud, showing you know what you are doing. Simply giving a crap about the subordinates, and them knowing it, will breed quite a lot of loyalty and trust. Of course, a corporal in wellingtons army would never be given the responsibility that corporal today has….unless you are one of Sharpe’s men of course!

  • Customizer

    “Retreat hell!!! We are just attacking in a different direction.”

    I think this was a quote from Chesty Puller out of the Chosin Reservior during the Korean war.

  • '18 '17 '16 '15 Customizer

    @sgtwiltan:

    “Retreat hell!!! We are just attacking in a different direction.”

    I think this was a quote from Chesty Puller out of the Chosin Reservior during the Korean war.

    My uncle (Marine) told me one similar. I think this was also a version of Puller’s comments in Korea:

    • “Sir, we are surrounded.”
    • “Good. We have them right where we want 'em.”

    Other variations I found:

    “We are surrounded. That simplifies the problem.”

    and

    “All right, they’re on our left, they’re on our right, they’re in front of
    us, they’re behind us… they can’t get away this time.”

  • Customizer

    "Praise the Lord and Pass the amunition!" ,….by a Naval padre under fire

    “They’re firing at us in Technicolor!”…from a U.S. Navy seaman aboard the CVE Gambier Bay as it was being fired on buy several Japanese cruisers and the Yamato in the Battle of Leyte. (The Japanese used different dies for each gun turret on their warships).

    Tall Paul

  • '17 '16 '15

    In the us military  the army calls it a latrine  the navy calls it the head  the airforce calls it the bathroom 🙂

  • '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 '12

    When we play AA with my buddy’s dad, he used to say this:

    A UK soldier,
    “You yanks are over sexed, over payed and over here.”

    An American soldier,
    “You Brits are under sexed, under payed and under Eisenhower.”

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Another version I’ve heard has overpaid / underpaid as the middle jibe.  🙂  The Tommies did in fact greatly resent the pay difference between them and the Yanks, not to mention the ability of their American comrades-in-arms to supply silk stockings to British girls.

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    I read somewhere that the British media once used photos of Montgomery picking up his pension cheque, to imply some kind of “how dare he” scandalous behavior on his part.

    Then they found out he was not a man of particularly impressive financial means, and needed those cheques just to pay the rent lol.

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Gargantua:

    I read somewhere that the British media once used photos of Montgomery picking up his pension cheque, to imply some kind of “how dare he” scandalous behavior on his part.

    Then they found out he was not a man of particularly impressive financial means, and needed those cheques just to pay the rent lol.

    It’s a pity he wasn’t American because his collection of a pension would probably not have attracted any special attention.  Case in point: after the war, there was some high-level debate in the U.S. about whether the Navy’s last remaining five-star rank allocation should go to Halsey or Spruance.  It eventually went to Halsey, but as I recall Spruance – who would fully have deserved getting a fifth star – was eventually (as a kind of consolation prize) rewarded for his WWII service by being retired on a full Admiral’s pay for life.

  • '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 '12

    I think your right Marc, I couldn’t remember that middle part. 😮

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