Humor - Marine Corps Wisdom


Basic Laws of Combat

  • You are not superman.
  • Suppressive fires -- won't.
  • If it's stupid but works, it isn't stupid.
  • Don't look conspicuous -- it draws fire.
  • When in doubt, empty the magazine.
  • Never share a fighting hole with anyone braver than you are.
  • Never forget your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.
  • If your attack is going really well, it's an ambush.
  • No plan survives the first contact intact.
  • All five second grenade fuses will burn down in three seconds.
  • Try to look unimportant, because the bad guys may be low on ammo.
  • If you are forward of your position, the artillery will fall short.
  • The enemy diversion you are ignoring is the main attack.
  • The important things are always simple.
  • The simple things are always hard.
  • The easy way is always mined.
  • If you are short of everything except enemy, you are in combat.
  • When you have secured an area, don't forget to tell the enemy.
  • Incoming fire has the right-of-way.
  • No combat ready unit has ever passed inspection.
  • If the enemy is in range, so are you.
  • Beer math: 37 men times 2 beers each equals 49 cases.
  • Body count math: 3 bad guys plus 1 probable plus 2 pigs = 37 enemy killed in action.
  • Friendly fire - isn't.
  • Things that must be together to work usually can't be shipped together.
  • Radios will fail as soon as you need fire support desperately.
  • Anything you do can get you shot -- including doing nothing.
  • If you make it too tough for the enemy to get in you can't get out.
  • Tracers work BOTH ways.
  • The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire.
  • If you take more than your fair share of objectives, you will have more than your fair share to take.
  • When both sides are convinced they are about to lose, they're both right.
  • Professional soldiers are predictable, but the world is full of amateurs.
  • Any significant military action will occur at the junction of two or more map sheets.
  • When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend.
  • Don't draw fire; it irritates the people around you.
  • Never tell the Platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do.

Six Phases of a Military Operation

  • Enthusiasm.
  • Disillusionment.
  • Panic.
  • Search for the guilty.
  • Punishment of the innocent.
  • Praise and honor for the non participant.
(This dates to post Vietnam and reflects the cynicism of that era when career Marines were wearing T-shirts with "Second Place - SE Asia War Games"  -web bos'n) 

USMC and USN Rules of Engagement

  • Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns.
  • Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap. Life is expensive.
  • Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.
  • If your shooting stance is good, you're probably not moving fast enough nor using cover correctly.
  • Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. [Lateral and diagonal movement are preferred.]
  • If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a long gun and a friend with a long gun.
  • Ten years from now, no one will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived.
  • If you are not shooting, you should be communicating, reloading, and running.
  • Accuracy is relative. [Most combat shooting standards will be more dependent on "pucker factor" than the inherent accuracy of the gun.]
  • Use a weapon that works every time. [All skill is in vain when an angel pisses in the flintlock of your musket.]
  • Someday someone may kill you with your own weapon, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.
  • Always cheat; always win. If you walk away, it was a fair fight. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.
  • Always have a plan.
  • Have a back-up plan, because the first one won't work.
  • Use cover or concealment as much as possible. The visible target should be in FRONT of your gun.
  • Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours.
  • Don't drop your guard.
  • Always tactical load and threat scan 360 degrees.
  • Watch their hands. Hands kill. [In God we trust. Everyone else, keep your hands where I can see them].
  • Decide to be aggressive ENOUGH, quickly ENOUGH.
  • The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.
  • Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
  • . Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one.
  • Your best option for personal security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation.


  • Adopt an aggressive offshore posture.
  • Drink coffee.
  • Send in the Marines.

(Tnx to Ed Poplin & Jarrad Langley) does not claim originality to these items - only collection and editing.