“There are winners and losers. A loser is just a winner that tried one more time.”
Chris VanSant, a retired Army infantryman, Ranger, Green Beret, and Operator in 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta (1st SFOD-D)
I do not regard the procuring of peace as a matter in which we should play the role of arbiter between different opinions…more that of an honest broker who really wants to press the business forward.
Otto von Bismarck
“We were at war. I wanted to do my part.”
Stephen Kraft, who joined the army at age 28 after 9/11.
“I can at least go out and defend my country and do something honorable as a father. Show my son something good.”
Joshua Hernandez, who joined after 9/11, and deployed to Iraq twice.
“I just wanted to do something to support those young people.”
Matthew Niblack, a Vietnam-era Navy veteran who joined the National Guard as a sergeant with an age wavier in his early 50s and deployed to Kuwait.
“Discipline is the soul of an army.”
“Front toward enemy”
Extremely brief and practical advice on an M18 claymore mine
“I’d do it all again if I had the chance.”
Zachariah Chitwood, a veteran of the U.S. Army who was wounded in Iraq.
“I’d learned a lot in the Army. I knew that above all things in the world I had to become so big, so strong that people and their hatred could never touch me.”
Sammy Davis, Jr.
Pretty much the entire U.S. Army.
“They’ve got us surrounded again, the poor bastards.”
Gen. Creighton Abrams
“9/11 changed the entire direction of my life.”
Fred Wellman, who had served as a helicopter pilot in the Army and rejoined after September 11 to serve as a public affairs officer.
“It took me another 18 months to convince my wife to let me join the Army National Guard. We had two small children, so it was a very hard decision
Joel Bottem, a veteran who rejoined after 9/11
“It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.”
“The most striking thing I have seen throughout my almost four years of service are the NCOs who are willing to do anything for their soldiers. … It’s amazing to have and know people who are willing to go out of their way for you.”
Stephanie Schneider, Afghanistan veteran
“The sergeant is the Army.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
“My answer is bring ’em on.”
President George W. Bush, talking about insurgents attacking U.S. military members in July 2003
“I’m very happy with how it all played. I was very blessed. That was my idea, to go to enlist, do one tour and fight and get out.”
David Kaefring, U.S. Army veteran of Afghanistan
“So far, I’ve spent my entire adult life fighting.”
James Coleman, U.S. Army sergeant
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.
“Lead from the front.”
Audie Murphy, most decorated U.S. soldier in World War II
It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.
“What can we do to support the troops? Give them a nation that is worthy of protection.”
Two-tour Army veteran who emailed me when I was writing an article for The Atlantic in 2007
“At this point, Sergeant Bellavia, armed with a M249 SAW gun, entered the room where the insurgents were located and sprayed the room with gunfire … Seeing a Jihadist loading an RPG launcher, Sergeant Bellavia gunned him down. … Sergeant Bellavia then came under fire from the insurgent upstairs and the staff sergeant returned the fire, killing the man. … Sergeant Bellavia pursued, but slipped on the blood-soaked stairs. … Sergeant Bellavia put a choke hold on the wounded insurgent to keep him from giving away their position. … In the wild scuffle that followed, Sergeant Bellavia took out his knife and slit the Jihadist’s throat.”
Silver Star citation for David S. Bellavia, Iraq, whose award was upgraded to the Medal of Honor
“This is all normal, routine stuff. Dude with the AK that I shot in the street? That’s routine. The dudes digging an IED? That’s an everyday occurrence.”
An Army lieutenant whose platoon I embedded with in Iraq in 2007
Bill Murphy Jr.
“There are winners and losers. A loser is just a winner that tried one more time.”
Liberty is the very last idea that seems to occur to anybody, in considering any political or social proposal. It is only necessary for anybody for any reason to allege any evidence of any evil in any human practice, for people instantly to suggest that the practice should be suppressed by the police.
Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.
“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”
General Dwight D. Eisenhower
“It is necessary for us to learn from others’ mistakes. You will not live long enough to make them all yourself.”
Admiral Hyman G. Rickover
“PowerPoint makes us stupid.”
General James Mattis
“Great powers don’t get angry, great powers don’t make decisions hastily in a crisis.”
General John Allen
“Clarity and simplicity are the antidotes to complexity and uncertainty.”
General George Casey
“Never give an order that can’t be obeyed.”
General Douglas MacArthur
“Leadership is a gift. It’s given by those who follow. You have to be worthy of it.”
General Mark Welsh
“Be an example to your men, in your duty and in private life. Never spare yourself and let your troops see that you do not in your endurance of fatigue and privation. Be always tactful and well-mannered. Avoid excessive sharpness of voice, which usually indicates the man who has shortcomings of his own to hide.”
German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty— never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”
“The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten.”
“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”
Douglas MacArthur, an American soldier
“The reason the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices it on a daily basis.”
Karl Dönitz, German Grand Admiral
“The best armour is staying out of gun-shot.”
“We live in a world that has walls, and those walls need to be guarded by men with guns.”
“The time is now at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own…The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.”
President George Washington, July 2, 1776, Writings Of George Washington
“Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the government nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it.”
President Abraham Lincoln, 1860, Collected Works
“For the first time in a long time, I felt like I had a purpose being in the Navy. It wasn’t about money and rank or prestige. It was about raising the flag. We do what we do because no one else can or will do it. We fight so others can sleep at night. And I had forgotten that.”
“Today we say goodbye to a proud warrior. As we leave, each of us will take our members of [the USS]Midway with us… you guys were the ‘Magic.’ It was a privilege to sail with you.”
“Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.”
”Preparedness is the key to success and victory.”
General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur
“The soldier is the Army. No army is better than its soldiers. The Soldier is also a citizen. In fact, the highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country”
George S. Patton Jr.
”Only our individual faith in freedom can keep us free.”
“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States, and former General of the Army
“The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.”
“Any soldier worth his salt should be antiwar. And still there are things worth fighting for.”
General Norman Schwarzkopf, U.S. Army
“Do not swallow bait offered by the enemy. Do not interfere with an army that is returning home.”
“Hopefully one-day Wars will only be fought in movies. And may the best producer win!”
Stanley Victor Paskavich
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.”
“I have lived now for over a century, yet I can still say with complete confidence that no one can claim to have plumbed the depths of human misery who has not shared the fore-ends of a submarine with a camel.”
John Biggins, A Sailor of Austria: In Which, Without Really Intending to, Otto Prohaska Becomes Official War Hero No. 27 of the Habsburg Empire
“In 1917 I was only beginning to learn that life, for the majority of the population, is an unlovely struggle against unfair odds, culminating in a cheap funeral.”
Siegfried Sassoon, Memoirs of an Infantry Officer
“If war was once a chivalrous duel, it is now a dastardly slaughter.”
Artur von Bolfras
“It doesn’t matter now that they lived and died, but rather did they make a difference?”
D. Dauphinee, Highlanders Without Kilts
“The Allied governments, for example, with the British as executors, maintained in place the food blockade of Germany that had been in effect since 1917. A British authority would note that “in the last two years of the war, nearly 800,000 noncombatants died in Germany from starvation or diseases attributed to undernourishment. The biggest mortality was among children between the ages of 5 and 1 5, where the death rate increased by 55 percent. . . a whole generation [the one which had been born and lived during Hitler’s rise to power] grew up in an epoch of undernourishment and misery such as we [British] have never in this country experienced.”3 A distinguished American authority on United States foreign policy in the first half of the twentieth century, Stanford University professor Thomas A. Bailey, noted that “the Allied slow starvation of Germany’s civilian population was quiet, unspectacular, and censored.”4 The Englishman Gilbert Murray, writing in 1933, noted that future historians would probably regard the establishment and continuation of the blockade as one of those many acts of almost incredible inhumanity which made World War I conspicuous in history.
Hitler: Beyond Evil and Tyranny, p. 122”
Russel H.S. Stolfi
In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war.
All wars are civil wars because all men are brothers… Each one owes infinitely more to the human race than to the particular country in which he was born.
A Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me.
Robert E. Lee
In every battle there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten, then he who continues the attack wins.
Ulysses S. Grant
War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.
William Tecumseh Sherman
“Their notion of training was to march the men up and down in parades and reviews: these were nice to look at and gave them the impression of military discipline and precision, but as a preparation for a modern war they had no value whatsoever.”
Orlando Figes, A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891-1924
“There are more good people than bad people, and overall there’s more that’s good in the world than there is that’s bad. We just need to hear about it, we just need to see it.”
Tucker Elliot, The Day Before 9/11
“The simple and terrifying reality, forbidden from discussion in America, was that despite spending $600 billion a year on the military, despite having the best fighting force the world had ever known, they were getting their asses kicked by illiterate peasants who made bombs out of manure and wood.”
Michael Hastings, The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan
“Chickenshit can be recognized instantly because it never has anything to do with winning the war.”
Paul Fussell, Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War
“Troops are everywhere in their modern, digital camouflage, designed to blend in anywhere at any time. Yet at night we wear bright yellow reflective belts.”
Glenn Dean, Soldier / Geek: An Army Science Advisor’s Journal of the War in Afghanistan
“Give me a scholar, therefore, who is able to think and to write, to look with an eye of discernment into things, and to do business himself, if called upon, who hath both civil and military knowledge; one, moreover, who has been in camps, and has seen armies in the field and out of it; knows the use of arms, and machines, and warlike engines of every kind; can tell what the front, and what the horn is, how the ranks are to be disposed, how the horse is to be directed, and from whence to advance or to retreat; one, in short, who does not stay at home and trust to the reports of others: but, above all, let him be of a noble and liberal mind; let him neither fear nor hope for anything; otherwise he will only resemble those unjust judges who determine from partiality or prejudice, and give sentence for hire: but, whatever the man is, as such let him be described.”
Lucian of Samosata, Lucian’s True History;
“For God and country—Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo. Geronimo E.K.I.A”
Here’s a quote from an Army inspector in 1916 that you can save for some future OER or NCOER: “As an exhibition of incompetency, it was entirely successful”
Courtesy of The Angry Staff Officer
“From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe and Asia…could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.”
“If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent out Texas and live in Hell”
General Philip Henry Sheridan
“War means fighting, and fighting means killing.”
Nathan Bedford Forrest
“This isn’t to deny that there were fierce arguments, at the time and ever since, about the causes and goals of both the Civil War and the Second World War. But 1861 and 1941 each created a common national narrative (which happened to be the victors’ narrative): both wars were about the country’s survival and the expansion of the freedoms on which it was founded. Nothing like this consensus has formed around September 11th…. Indeed, the decade since the attacks has destroyed the very possibility of a common national narrative in this country.”
Some people tried to hurt us to protect themselves, their family and communities…This was one of the consequences of civil war. People stopped trusting each other, and every stranger became an enemy. Even people who knew you became extremely careful about how they related or spoke to you.”
Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
“For twenty-five years I’ve been speaking and writing in defense of your right to happiness in this world, condemning your inability to take what is your due, to secure what you won in bloody battles on the barricades of Paris and Vienna, in the American Civil War, in the Russian Revolution. Your Paris ended with Petain and Laval, your Vienna with Hitler, your Russia with Stalin, and your America may well end in the rule of the Ku Klux Klan! You’ve been more successful in winning your freedom than in securing it for yourself and others. This I knew long ago. What I did not understand was why time and again, after fighting your way out of a swamp, you sank into a worse one. Then groping and cautiously looking about me, I gradually found out what has enslaved you: YOUR SLAVE DRIVER IS YOU YOURSELF. No one is to blame for your slavery but you yourself. No one else, I say!”
Wilhelm Reich, Listen, Little Man!
“If men were equal in America, all these Poles and English and Czechs and blacks, then they were equal everywhere, and there was really no such thing as foreigner; there were only free men and slaves.”
Michael Shaara, The Killer Angels
Two young soldiers were exchanging their experiences of the service in the Army.
“My sergeants are wonderful”, said one soldier.
“I wish I could say the same about mine,” said the other.
“You could if you could lie as I do.”
“Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength.”
The relationship between a military working dog and a military dog handler is about as close as a man and a dog can become. You see this loyalty, the devotion, unlike any other and the protectiveness.
Every soldier thinks something of the moral aspects of what he is doing. But all war is immoral and if you let that bother you, you’re not a good soldier.
The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.
In World War II in Germany, we had a ration for one U.S. soldier, or one allied soldier for every twenty inhabitants. The ratio in Iraq is about one for a hundred and sixty.
No soldier outlives a thousand chances. But every soldier believes in Chance and trusts his luck.
Erich Maria Remarque
“Wars begin when you will, but they do not end when you please.”
“It would be a joke if the conduct of the victor had to be justified to the vanquished.”
“If you wage war, do it energetically and with severity. This is the only way to make it shorter and consequently less inhuman.”
“So we go on and don’t do it, and let the war go on. Over a period of 3 and a half or four years, we did burn down every town in North Korea. And every town in South Korea. And what? Killed off 20% of the Korean population. What I’m trying to say is, if once you make a decision to use military force to solve your problem – then you ought to use it. And use an overwhelming military force. Use too much. And deliberately use too much. So that you don’t make an error on the other side, and not quite have enough. And you roll over everything to start with. And you close it down just like that. You save resources. You save lives. Not only your own but the enemies too. And the recovery is quicker. And everybody is back to peaceful existence – hopefully in a shorter period of time.”
Gen. Curtis Lemay, on the all-out bombing campaign the U.S. didn’t do at the beginning of the Korean War as quoted in Dan Carlin’s “The Destroyer of Worlds”
“The belief in the possibility of a short decisive war appears to be one of the most ancient and dangerous of human illusions.”
“Optimists study English; pessimists study Chinese; and realists learn to use a Kalashnikov.”
Russian Proverb, due to the threat of Chinese influence in Siberia