29 December 2012

Military Wisdom (Not Necessarily an Oxymoron)

[These were sent to me by a friend recently and they’re quite wonderful.  And mostly all are absolutely true.  (Except the one about not leaving anything up in the sky.  It must have been coined before space flight as I believe there are still a few objects up there—including a couple of Russian cosmonauts and a dog or two.)

[Someone left off the wisest military comment, now universally known as Murphy's Law ('Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong').  Ed Murphy (1918-90) was an actual Air Force captain, so it qualifies.]

If the Enemy is in range, so are you.
—Infantry Journal

It is generally inadvisable to eject over the area you just bombed.
—U.S. Air Force Manual

Aim towards the Enemy.
—Instructions printed on U.S. rocket launcher

When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend
—U.S. Marine Corps
Cluster bombing from B-52s is very, very accurate. The bombs are guaranteed always to hit the ground.
—USAF Ammo Troop

Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons.
—General Douglas MacArthur

Try to look unimportant; they may be low on ammo.
—Infantry Journal

You, you, and you.  Panic.  The rest of you come with me.
—U.S. Marine Gunnery Sergeant

Tracers work both ways.
—U.S. Army Ordnance

Five second fuses only last three seconds.
—Infantry Journal

Don't ever be the first, don't ever be the last, and don't ever volunteer to do anything.
—U.S. Navy swabbie

Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid.
—David Heckworth

If your attack is going too well, you're walking into an ambush.
—Infantry Journal

No combat-ready unit has ever passed inspection.
—Joe Gay

Any ship can be a minesweeper.  Once.

Never tell the Platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do
—Unknown Marine Recruit

Don't draw fire; it irritates the people around you.
If you see a bomb technician running, follow him
—USAF Ammo Troop

You've never been lost until you've been lost at Mach 3.
—Test pilot Paul F. Crickmore

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.
Blue water Navy truism: There are more planes in the ocean than submarines in the sky.
—From an old carrier sailor

If the wings are traveling faster than the fuselage, it's probably a helicopter—and therefore, unsafe.
When one engine fails on a twin-engine airplane, you always have enough power left to get you to the scene of the crash.
Without ammunition, the USAF would be just another expensive flying club.

What is the similarity between air traffic controllers and pilots?  If a pilot screws up, the pilot dies.  If ATC screws up . . . the pilot dies.

Never trade luck for skill.

The three most common expressions (or famous last words) in aviation are:  “Why is it doing that?”  “Where are we?”  And “Oh S - - - !”

Weather forecasts are horoscopes with numbers.

Airspeed, altitude and brains.  Two are always needed to complete the flight successfully.

Mankind has a perfect record in aviation; we never left one up there!

Flashlights are tubular metal containers kept in a flight bag to store dead batteries.

Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground who is incapable of understanding or doing anything about it.

The Piper Cub is the safest airplane in the world; it can just barely kill you.
—Attributed to Northrop test pilot Max Stanley
A pilot who doesn't have any fear probably isn't flying his plane to its maximum.
— Astronaut Jon McBride

If you're faced with a forced landing, fly the thing as far into the crash as possible.
— Renowned aerobatic and test pilot Bob Hoover

A slipping gear could let your M203 grenade launcher fire when you least expect it.  That would make you quite unpopular in what's left of your unit.
—Army's magazine of preventive maintenance.

Never fly in the same cockpit with someone braver than you.
There is no reason to fly through a thunderstorm in peacetime.
—Sign over squadron ops desk at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 1970

If something hasn't broken on your helicopter, it's about to.
Basic Flying Rules:  “Try to stay in the middle of the air.  Do not go near the edges of it.  The edges of the air can be recognized by the appearance of ground, buildings, sea, trees and interstellar space.  It is much more difficult to fly there.”

You know that your landing gear is up and locked when it takes full power to taxi to the terminal.

As the test pilot climbs out of the experimental aircraft, having torn off the wings and tail in the crash landing, the crash truck arrives, the rescuer sees a bloodied pilot and asks, “What happened?”  The pilot's reply, “I don't know, I just got here myself!”
—Attributed to Lockheed test pilot Ray Crandell

[I don’t know where these came from originally.  They sound a little like things that used to appear in Reader’s Digest—which had a regular feature called “Humor in Uniform”—but I have no idea.  The friend who sent them to me got them from someone else, so he doesn’t know the source, either.  I guess we’ll just have to pass them from hand to hand, like the old Soviet practice of samizdat, without ever knowing the origin of the collection.  Like a chain letter—without the curses or Ponzi-scheme promises of wealth.  Just chuckles and knowing smiles.  ~Rick]

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