I’ve long been a fan of military rhyming couplets. I think they seem to be such an intriguing aspect of American military culture. Here, with a lot of help from my Task & Purpose colleagues, are some I and they remembered. Please add yours in the comments section.
Lots of these are infantry sayings, but not all of them. I wonder if the rhyming couplet is a thing in just parts of the military. Or do niches like intel and EW have their own sayings that just aren’t as well known?
“Kick the tires and light the fires.”
“Smokin’ and jokin’.”
“Every room with a boom.”
“We’re rackin’ ‘em and stackin’ ‘em.”
“Haze gray and underway.”
“Shoot and scoot.”
“Spray and pray.”
“You snooze, you lose.”
“Sun’s out, guns out.”
“Different spanks for different ranks” (From JS)
“Runnin’ and gunnin’.” (From DW)
“Locked, cocked and ready to rock.” (From JS)
“Nuts to butts.” (From BvR)
“In the rear with the gear.” (From BL)
“If it ain’t raining, we ain’t training.” (From JK and others)
“Wakee wakee, eggs and bacee” (From MN)
“Choose your rate, choose your fate.” (Navy saying) (Fm RJ)
“Two is one and one is none” (That is, always pack two of everything) (Fm DJ)
“Bottle to throttle" (time from last drink to first aviation duty) (From “Bluto”)
“Dip it and rip it!" (For when you've established a long duration OP and you need tobacco and caffeine to stay awake all night) (From MS)
“When in doubt, whip it out!” (No, not a Donald Trump quotation. It is a paratrooper saying about your reserve chute) (From RM)
“Knees to the breeze” (More paratrooper talk, this one from JK)
“If it flies it dies” (From SA)
“Last to know, first to go” (Fm JC)
“It’s not gay when you’re underway” (Fm JB)
“3 and 5 keep you alive” (fuel and ammo) (Fm JD)
“Warheads on foreheads” (Air Force saying)
“Snoopin’ and poopin’” (What Recon does) (Fm “Iron Captain”)
“Gear adrift is a gift” (Marine Corps rationale for stealing) (Several entries)
“No comms, no bombs.” (Commmunications guys) (From TS)
“Wattage in your cottage” (Radio PSYOPS) (From RB )
“Balls to the wall” (Giving aircraft maximum power for takeoff) (From “Charlie Sherpa”)
“Semper Fi, do or die” (ZI)
“I’m Jo-jo the duck, and I’m all fucked up” (Army basic and corrective training) (JS)
And of course, the classics that began it all, the Iliad and Odyssey of NCO sayings:
“Drop your cocks and grab your socks"
“This is my rifle, this is my gun/ One is for fighting, one is for fun” (From “Charlie Sherpa”)
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
The Pentagon has identified a Green Beret who was killed on Tuesday by enemy small arms fire in southern Afghanistan as Staff Sgt. Joshua Z. Beale.
Beale was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, according to U.S. Army Special Operations Command. He was killed during combat operations in Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan.
The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard called the ongoing partial government shutdown "unacceptable" following reports that some Coast Guardsmen are relying on donations from food pantries while their regular paychecks remain on hold.
"We're five-plus weeks into the anxiety and stress of this government lapse and your non-pay," Adm. Karl Schultz said in a video message to service members. "You, as members of the armed forces, should not be expected to shoulder this burden."
The M160 Robotic Mine Flail at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Photo: Maj. Dan Marchik/U.S. Army
The battlefield of the future could feature robot medics delivering life-saving care to casualties in the line of fire. At least, that's what the Army is aiming for — and it's willing to pay millions for help doing it.
Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Charles Kettles was awarded the Medal of Honor July 18, 2016, for his actions while serving as a Flight Commander assigned to the 176th Aviation Company (Airmobile) (Light), 14th Combat Aviation Battalion, Americal Division. Then-Maj. Kettles distinguished himself in combat operations near Duc Pho, Republic of Vietnam, on May 15, 1967. (U.S. Army/Spc. Tammy Nooner)
by Martin Slagter, The Ann Arbor News, Mich.
YPSILANTI, MI - When a brigade of U.S. troops was ambushed by the North Vietnamese Army in the Song Tra Cau riverbed on the morning of May 15, 1967, Lt. Charles Kettles volunteered to lead the rescue, and he refused, again and again, to back down when faced with a barrage of gunfire.
His aircraft badly damaged, left spilling fuel, and his gunner was severely injured during the treacherous operation.
But he helicoptered in and out of the battlefield four times, saving the lives of 44 soldiers in a death-defying emergency operation that would become a legendary tale of bravery in the Vietnam War.