Army Aphorisms

Date Published: 15 August 2004

Army Aphorisms

Here's a few Army aphorisms I've picked up over the years and tend to live by:

1. “Sleep when you can” -- this is something every soldier should live by. Basically, you never know when you'll get your next chance to sleep, so take the opportunities when they present themselves.

2. “Semper Gumby” -- Loosely translated: Ever Flexible. It's usually pointless to plan anything more than a few days out (or perhaps next drill in the Guard/Reserves), since it invariably gets changed, usually by higher headquarters. Thus, it's more important to be ready to adjust when things change.

3. “It's a soldier's right to bitch” -- Pretty much speaks for itself. If you're doing what you're supposed to be doing, and you had the guts to sign up and actually deploy, then you've at least earned the right to bitch when things are screwed up (which happens incredibly often, at least from the enlisted soldier's point of view).

4. “P for Plenty” -- this one is Engineer specific. All the demo formulas take the form of P = (some formula) where P refers to the number of pounds of TNT required for a particular task (dropping a tree, breaching a wall, creating a crater). The general 'wisdom', though, is that P stands for plenty, since when in doubt most demo tasks can be accomplished if you throw enough explosives at them. Which reminds me of a non-military aphorism: “There is no problem so great that it cannot be solved by a suitable amount of plastic explosives.”

Anyway, not much new here in Iraq. Got to blow some stuff up today, for the first time in over a week. Other than that, things are progressing, but not a lot I can talk about.

Steve Smith

About Ardalis

Software Engineer

Steve is an experienced software architect and trainer, focusing currently on ASP.NET Core and Domain-Driven Design.


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