Military Wit and Wisdom: Quotes on Surviving Combat

Respected for their discipline, honor and ability to face the most intense situations in the name of freedom, the U.S. military knows a thing or two about surviving combat. These are some of our favorite quotes from our armed forces. Quotes: Military Wit and Wisdom

Military Philosophies

“Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.”

“If you find yourself in a fair fight – you didn’t plan your mission properly.”

“No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.”

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”

“Both optimists and pessimists contribute to society. The optimist invents the aeroplane, the pessimist the parachute.”

“Optimists study English; pessimists study Chinese; and realists learn to use a Kalashnikov.”

Military Humor

“If the enemy is in range, so are you.”

“Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword, obviously never encountered automatic weapons.”

“Do you know what a soldier is, young man? He's the chap who makes it possible for civilized folk to despise war.”

“Tracer rounds work both ways.”

“If you see a bomb technician running, try to keep up with him.”


“When you’re short of everything but the enemy, you are in combat.”


“Sniper: If you run, you’ll only die tired.”


“What you can't solve with politics, you can solve with a 5.56.”

U.S. Marine Corps Expression's Resistance Library: Quotes

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