Staffer's Hard Sayings Log
Excerpts from this quote log have been popping up all over the blogosphere, but I haven't seen the whole thing (at least the whole thing as of when I retired in late 2004) posted. A little background -- this "virtual green book" was kept by a Navy pilot at EUCOM J-5, who was working with all the staff pukes in D.C. and Tampa (CENTCOM, where I was) during the run-up to the Iraq War and the aftermath; it mostly has to do with the thoughts and frustrations of staff officers involved in putting together a Coalition in the brave new One Superpower world. Some of them you've heard before, others you won't understand at all unless you've been a staff puke. One of them is even my very own invention. Sit back and enjoy (unless you don't like naughty words, in which case you should skip it) -- this post is a long one...
STAFFERS’ HARD SAYINGS LOG
"Deny everything…Admit nothing…Demand proof…Counter-accuse…”
“Dude…what’s your name again?”
MAJ (CFLCC) to EUCOM GO/FO about 15 minutes (and 15 vodka shots) after being introduced in a bar in Warsaw
“Poland is the land of living Barbie Dolls…”
MAJ (JS) on the relative proportions of Polish women
“They’re not real women…they’re FemBots…”
CDR (TRANSCOM) on the beauty of Polish women
“This is the most unholy Lithuanian goat fuck I've ever heard of...”
“It's like a bunch of field grade monkeys trying to fuck a football...”
“It's as wrong as two schoolboys fucking in a church on Sunday...”
“It was a frank discussion. We had a pretty good motherfucker calling contest going on…”
LTC (DAO) on any number of staff-related events
“When will I just give up and accept the fact that I'm just not funny?”
“When they said it that your input was used in the update last night, they meant it was wadded up and placed under a short leg on the table to keep it from wobbling.”
“I’m having a wetting down on 4 April 1630-1634, during our lunch break. Then, it’s back on our heads.”
“Never in the history of the US Armed Forces have so many done so much for so few…”
MAJ (Task Force Warrior) on the “success” of the Free Iraqi Forces (FIF) Training Program, where 1100 Army troops trained 77 Iraqi exiles at the cost of, well, way too much…
“OSD will continue to drive this cart into the ground long after the wheels have been sold on E-bay.”
MAJ (JS) on the progress of FIF
“Don't you know you can never leave this program? It becomes a part of you. You can run, but it will drag you back in. It’s like getting raped in prison: the best thing to do is just relax and enjoy it.”
MAJ (JS) on the joys of staff work during FIF
“I don’t want to waste anyone’s time here…”
COL (JS) before one of the countless video conferences linking hundreds of staffers from every possible command to discuss the status of FIF
“So Chuck, what do you do here at EUCOM?”
Lt Col to the 4-star DCDR at a Command Christmas Party
“If you take his brain, double it in size, and shove it up a gnat’s butt, it’d be like a BB in a boxcar.”
Lt Col (EUCOM) on a fellow staff officer’s mental capabilities
“My idea of the perfect child is a 17 ½ year old Swedish Nanny.”
Single LTC (EUCOM) on the merits of the traditional family structure
"You’ve got a better chance of playing pick up sticks with your butt cheeks than you do of making the CoS buy off on that idea!"
Maj (EUCOM) to an eager, but misguided, CDR
"One of the secrets to maintaining my positive attitude in this job is this: I complete no tasker before its time…”
"I can’t believe you guys are drinking already.”
“Dude, it’s 1130.”
“Oh, OK. Give me a beer…”
Exchange between two CDRs (CENTCOM and TRANSCOM)
"Oh my God, she’s beating the crap outta that guy. Man, I dig that…”
CDR (TRANSCOM) while viewing a street massage in Europe
"You know, when I was your age, we would never drink in front of the Boss.”
“But, sir, I thought that you hired me for my comm skills. How am I supposed to be able to talk to the Boss if I’m sober when he’s crocked?”
Exchange between LCDR (EUCOM) and his supervisor
"Deny everything…Admit nothing…Demand proof…Counter-accuse…”
CDR (CENTCOM) detailing our credo
"It is nothing for US soldiers to be in the desert for a year without a woman. It is different for us, though, because we are Latin…”
LTC (LATAM country) on one of the differences between Latin American soldiers and their US counterparts
“I guess the next thing they'll ask for is 300 US citizens with Hungarian last names to send to Iraq…”
MAJ (JS) on the often-frustrating process of building the Iraqi coalition for Phase IV
“Pipe down. You don't want anyone to hear you say that or they will come in here and pick you as the perfect dickhead to do this knucklehead task…”
Lt Col to a LTC (EUCOM) who commented that he had done nothing for his country today
“If we wait until the last minute to do it, it'll only take a minute.”
“I just got back from four days off with the family. Anything going on in the world?”
CDR (CENTCOM) after a rare long weekend during OEF and OIF
“Working with Hungary is like watching a bad comedy set on auto repeat…”
“I have to stay here and fill out this form…it's my future”
“You have no future, sir. What you need to do is get home to your wife and new baby, or you won't have a wife to go home to.”
“No. My wife will stick with me come hell or high water. I’ve got the last good one.”
“Um, how many times have you been married again?”
Exchange between Maj and LTC (CENTCOM)
“Between us girls, would it help to clarify the issue if you knew that Hungary is land-locked?”
CDR to MAJ (EUCOM) on why a deployment from Hungary is likely to proceed by air vice sea
“When you get right up to the line that you're not supposed to cross, the only person in front of you will be me!”
CDR (CENTCOM) on his view of the value of being politically correct in today’s military
“There’s nothing wrong with crossing that line a little bit, it’s jumping over it buck naked that will probably get you in trouble…”
Lt Col (EUCOM) responding to the above
“How come my wife just bought a new car and I’m making all the payments??”
“I may be slow, but I do poor work…”
“Everyone knows the words to that damn song are “Blinded by the light, revved up like a deuce, another roller in the night.” The questions really are, “What’s a deuce? How do you rev it? and Why the hell is it rolling in the night??”
“The Army is gonna have a hard time trying to figure out which unit is heading to Iraq. They’re just plain outta action figures…”
“It’s only gay if you’re in port…”
LCDR (EUCOM) on life aboard the Boat
“Dude, you’re a frickin’ actor…”
LT (SOCOM) after meeting with actor Steven Segal, who had been telling SEALs how hard he works to put together the right team for his “missions”
“That’s what they say in Korea…”
GS-14 (STATE) trying to recover after incorrectly using a proverb. A variant of this hard saying can be used any time a staffer botches quote or fact (i.e., “The early bird catches a worm with two hands in its bush. Um, that’s what they say in Korea…”), a joke (i.e., “You guys just don’t get it. That joke is hilarious in Korea,”), or a misspeak during a PowerPoint presentation (i.e., “Yes sir, the slide does appear to indicate that we gave $2.8 billion to support artificial sheep insemination programs last year. That information came directly from a trusted source in Korea.”)
“Great! What we really need are some more 0-5s around here…”
MAJ (EUCOM) on the release of the list of 0-5 promotables
“The only reason that anything ever gets done is because there are pockets of competence in every command. The key is to find them…and then exploit the hell out of ‘em.”
“Revolving Jacuzzi with Swedish bikini team waitresses; a padded crud room and billiard table; a walk-in cigar humidor and a stack of Benjamins to light them; our own jet to whisk us away when needed; a putting green in the hallway; drive-in, underground parking with a brew-thru window; a wooden pizza oven; and a fleet of golf carts to drive around base to do errands. If there is any money left over, some pens and pencils.”
LtCol (EUCOM) submitting a wishlist for allocation of excess, end of year funds
“Here are the 5 rules of life:
1. If you get dumped, don't worry. Women are like streetcars; a new one comes along every ten minutes…
2. Never get married. It's cheaper to buy a house every ten years and give it to some woman you hate...
3. Never date a chick with big hands, it makes your willie looks small…
4. Never buy something that floats, flies or f---s. Rent it; it's cheaper…
5. Stick it to ‘The Man’ whenever you can!”
CAPT (unidentified CVW)
“Don’t ever be the first…don’t ever be the last…and don’t ever volunteer to do anything….”
CDR (EUCOM) relating an ancient Navy truism
“‘Few things exemplify the chaos (of Liberia) more than the sight of doped-up, AK-47-wielding kids roaming the streets decked out in fright wigs and tattered wedding gowns. Indeed, some of the more fully accessorized soldiers in the militia even tote dainty purses and don feather boas.’ Are you sure they’re not describing an Army wetting down here??”
“In many ways, pizza is like air: you can never exhale all the air from your lungs and you can never NOT eat another piece of pizza…”
Lt Col (EUCOM) on how he was able to eat 32 pieces of pizza in one sitting
“Hey, somebody should really do that…”
CDR (CENTCOM) on the CENTCOM tasking process
“Anybody know what the burst radius for an 0-4 is around here?”
Maj (CENTCOM) midway through working a tasker
“Our days are spent trying to get some poor, unsuspecting third world country to pony up to spending a year in a sweltering desert, full of pissed off Arabs who would rather shave the back of their legs with a cheese grater than submit to foreign occupation by a country for whom they have nothing but contempt.”
LTC (JS) on the joys of coalition building
“Are you sure they aren’t writing about us? Hell, at least we should jump on that wholesale desertion thing…”
Maj (CENTCOM) on the following report from a newspaper:
“(The Iraqi military was crippled by)…a multitude of erratic orders and strategic miscalculations, while its fighting units barely communicated with one another and were paralyzed from a lack of direction...these woes were compounded by incompetence, poor preparation, craven leadership and (the) wholesale desertions of thousands of soldiers…”
“That concept was probably developed by the Department of Redundancies Department.”
Maj (MARFOREUR) on one of the many “good ideas” put forward at a joint planning conference
“Cynicism is the smoke that rises from the ashes of burned out dreams.”
Maj (CENTCOM) on the daily thrashings delivered to AOs at his Command
“WE are the reason that Rumsfeld hates us…”
LTC (EUCOM) doing some standard, Army self-flagellation
“Never let yourself become too closely associated with disaster…”
“South of the Alps and East of the Adriatic, paranoia is considered mental equilibrium…”
“The chance of success in these talks is the same as the number of “R’s” in “fat chance…””
“It's as obvious as dog bollocks on an ironing board.”
British LTC (OMC-A). Unsure of the actual meaning, but the image is interesting and Brits seem to get a kick out of it.
“His knowledge on that topic is only power point deep...”
“We have no position on that issue. In fact, your position IS our position. Could you tell us what our position is?”
CDR (TRANSCOM) at a policy SVTC
“Ya know, in this Command, if the world were supposed to end tomorrow, it would still happen behind schedule.”
CWO4 (ret) (EUCOM)
“Even if Al-Qaeda nuked this place, the Chief of Staff would approve a 4-star visitor the very next day!”
“Never pet a burning dog.”
LTC (Tennessee National Guard)
“Remember: kill something every day, no matter how small and insignificant it may be…it helps maintain proficiency.”
“It’s basically announcing to the world that I’ve completely given up.”
LT (USN F-14 squadron) on his initial feelings behind the wheel of his brand new minivan
“Strive for the bare minimum. Remember, there’s no competition at the bottom of the barrel.”
"A good staff officer can read upside down and knows how to flirt with secretaries."
"A staff action is like getting an out of state check, countersigned by a fraud on a phony ID: some of the time it clears, but most of the time, you're screwed."
Lt Col (USAF)
"There are times in your life when you'll have to eat crow. Actually, you don't have to eat it—just hold it in your mouth long enough until nobody's watching, and then spit it out."
Lt Col (USAF) on the realities of a staff work
"Well, out of all the officers on this staff, he is certainly one of them..."
Maj (MARFOREUR) on a fellow staffer
“I need intelligence, not information.”
"Now is the time for us to get out of the stovepipes of multilevel thinking and become monoethical!"
"This situation is going soft brown on us real quick…"
"It's time for someone to jerk a knot is his ass!"
"We have to get a handle on the internecine interactions that go on here…"
"Well, first we need to skinny down on this thing to find out what is really going on, then I want to skinny down the skinny some more...."
GO (EUCOM) using GO/FO-speak
"Legal Advice: Fast, Cheap, Accurate. Pick two."
On the door of a Judge Advocate’s office
“Ah, the joys of Paris: a unique chance to swill warm wine and be mesmerized by the dank ambrosia of unkempt armpits...”
“Assmosis: The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by sucking up rather than working hard.”
“Blamestorming: Sitting around in a group, discussing why a suspense was missed or a mission failed, and determining who was responsible.”
“Ohnosecond: The minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a big mistake (e.g., hit 'reply all')”
Maj (EUCOM), excerpted from a collection of definitions
“Always watch whose toes you step on because they may be connected to the butt that you will eventually have to kiss…”
“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it…”
“‘Status quo,’ as you know, is Latin for ‘the mess we’re in…’”
Attributed to former President Ronald Reagan
“We are now past the good idea cutoff point…”
MAJ (JS) on the fact that somebody always tries to “fine tune” a COA with more “good ideas”
“Who are you talking to? ...Hang up the phone!”
Lt Col mentoring MAJ (EUCOM) on how to stay in his own lane…
“That dude actually invented the SSOL!”
CDR (EUCOM) on the Stupid Staff Officer’s Look (a.k.a. the Ensign’s/2LT’s salute…)
“I have to avoid those German spas where everyone hangs out naked. I mean, I get enough emails from people who think I need to enlarge my penis.”
“The hardest thing about having a third child is switching from 1-on-1 to a zone defense.”
“Nobody ever said you had to be smart to make 0-6.”
“That was a typo. Instead of “pot of money,” it should have read “pot money.” It refers to money spent by OSD after smoking a joint. We have a similar fund we can tap into for financing many of our own ideas. In fact, that's how we got the name ‘Joint Staff.’”
LTC (JS) in an email describing the amount of money available for use on a given project
Top Ten Perks of Being Stationed in Iraq:
10. Access to Saddam’s extensive collection of Barbara Streisand CDs
9. I’m the only Jonathon Atwood in the Baghdad phonebook.
8. You play cards with those Iraqi government decks…we use the actual guys.
7. We get to test out the Army’s new bulletproof camel.
6. You don’t need Dr. Phil to lose weight here…you just sweat your ass off.
5. When the CO isn’t looking, you can tiptoe around the presidential palace and play
dictator for awhile.
4. It’s fun to pick up the phone and say, “No, Uday and Qusay are not available right
now because they’re dead.”
3. Goodbye standard-issue army tent; hello billion-dollar palace.
2. CBS comedies are actually funny in Kurdish.
1. The farther away from the state of California, the better.
“I haven't complied with a damn thing and nothing bad has happened to me yet.”
“Whatever happened to good old-fashioned military leadership? Just task the first two people you see.”
“The first question I ask myself when tasked to do something that's not obviously and overwhelmingly in my own best interest is, ‘Exactly what happens if I don't do it?’"
“Accuracy and attention to detail take a certain amount of time.”
“No need to tip our hand as to how responsive we can be.”
CDR (EUCOM) in a passdown to his replacement
“I seem to be rapidly approaching the apex of my mediocre career.”
“I think that my next set of orders will take me to Iraq. My career’s going so badly that I’m considered a ‘dead-ender.’”
Lt Col (EUCOM)
“Contact is a high school graduate with computer ability and unspecified heroin processing skills.”
“Don’t make me have to break off my foot in your ass, Jackie Chan-style.”
“This place is in dynamic equilibrium: it sucks as much as it blows.”
“This is probably gonna be another ‘jump through our ass-ex.’”
“You couldn’t count your balls twice and come up with the same number.”
“Friday is a ‘reduced battle rhythm’ day.”
LTC (Combined Forces Command), heard around Afghanistan
“I just realized that this War on Terror might take a little longer than we thought, so I am developing a new system of hanging charts on walls to solve our problem and win the war."
LTC (EUCOM) after a review of long range Counter Terrorism (CT) plans
“We use the BOGSAT (Bunch of Guys Sitting Around Talking) approach. That’s actually the PC cousin of BOGSATAS (Bunch of Guys Sitting Around Talking About Shit).”
LCDR (EUCOM) on his branch’s modus operandi
“There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots.”
“Some people dream of success, while other people live to crush those dreams.”
“Much work remains to be done before we can announce our total failure to make any progress.”
“None of us is as dumb as all of us.”
“It takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile, but it doesn’t take any to just sit there with a stupid look on your face.”
Excerpted from a brief (EUCOM)
“Things are looking up for us here. In fact, Papua-New Guinea is thinking of offering two platoons: one of Infantry (headhunters) and one of engineers (hut builders). They want to eat any Iraqis they kill. We’ve got no issues with that, but State is being anal about it.”
LTC (JS) on OIF coalition-building
"It’s not a lot of work unless you have to do it."
"I’m gonna have to leave work early today and probably stay home tomorrow. I’m fighting off a cold and I want to beat it before I start my leave in two days."
“This is my PowerPoint. There are many like it, but mine is XP.
My PowerPoint is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I master my life.
My PowerPoint without me is useless. Without my PowerPoint, I am useless.
I must format my slides true.
I must brief them better than the others who are trying to outbrief me.
I must brief the impact on the CDR before he asks it of me. I will.
My PowerPoint and I know that what counts is not the number of slides, the colors of the highlights, nor the format of the bullets. We know that it is the new information that counts. We will brief only new information.
My PowerPoint is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as my brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strengths, its fonts, its accessories, its formats, and its colors. I will keep my PowerPoint slides current and ready to brief. We will become part of each other. We will...
Before God, I swear this creed.
My PowerPoint and I are defenders of our country.
We are the masters of our subject. We are the saviors of my career.
So be it, until victory is ours and there is no enemy but peace.
Ranger’s Creed, updated
“Creating smoking holes gives our lives meaning and enhances our manliness.”
LTC (EUCOM) at a CT conference
“Interagency is a process, not a noun.”
“Eventually, we have to ‘make nice’ with the French, although, since I’m new in my job, I have every expectation that I’ll be contradicted.”
DOS rep at a Counter Terrorism Conference
"Everyone should have an equal chance, but not everyone is equal."
"Kissing his ass may not do anything for you, but it will sure make him feel better."
"I am so far down the food chain that I've got plankton bites on my butt."
"If you ain't got an audit trail, you're looking at butt time in the crowbar motel."
"He is educated beyond his intelligence."
"If it's an ass worth kissing, be sure to leave a hickey."
"You can't scrub a black dog white."
"He's over at the gym looking at the spandex exhibit."
"Every time she leaned over, I thought I was going to get fragged by denim shrapnel."
"You can get drunk enough to do most anything, but you have to realize going in that there are some things that, once you sober up and realize what you have done, will lead you to either grab a 12-gauge or stay drunk for the rest of your life."
"Once you accept that a dog is a dog, you can't get upset when it barks."
“Women are going get mad at you about something, so it might as well be for something you enjoy."
Lt Col (USSOCOM), excerpts
“That guy just won’t take ‘yes’ for an answer.”
"Let's just call Lessons Learned what they really are: institutionalized scab picking."
"I can describe what it feels like being a Staff Officer in two words: distilled pain."
“Alcohol is the Bermuda Triangle of my moral compass.”
"When all else fails, simply revel in the absurdity of it all."
"Arguing with a Marine is like wrestling with a pig: everybody gets dirty and only the pig enjoys it."
"Never attribute to malice that which can be ascribed to sheer stupidity."
“I always get a little nervous when I hear a Lieutenant say, ‘Based on my experience,’ a Captain say, ‘Hey, watch this,’ or a General say, ‘I was just wondering…’”
"As a Colonel, I get to philosophize. As AOs, you get to do the dirty work"
"Yeah, I’ve been married a few times. I like to think of myself as a shit magnet."
"We exist solely to light as many fires as we can around the AOR and then have the Army and the Air Force think they are surrounded.”
"Working in this command is like living in an interrogation center: eventually, it will break even the best of us. It is just a matter of time…”
"They also serve, who sit and surf the NIPR."
"I hear so much about Ft. Bragg. Where is it?"
“It's in the western part of southeastern North Carolina.”
LCDR and CPT (EUCOM)
"Never trust anyone wearing a loop.”
“I’ve become the master of nodding my head and acting like I give a shit, and then instantly forgetting what the hell a person was saying the moment they walk away.”
Flag-level Executive Assistant
"Mark my words, this internet thing is gonna catch on someday."
"You’re not a loser. You’re just not my kind of winner..."
"He who strives for the minimum rarely attains it."
"I’m tired of waiting on somebody who I know is just going to ignore me once they arrive.”
Lt Col (EUCOM), while waiting to start a brief for a visiting VIP
"If I’d had more time, I’da written a shorter brief…"
Derived from the writings of Mark Twain
"Vision without funding is hallucination.”
"I work at EUCOM. I know bullshit when I see it.”
LTC (EUCOM) in a game of office poker
"If I want to flick a booger off my finger, I need to keep my finger out of my nose."
"That guy is as queer as a football bat."
“His remarks are a lot like premature ejaculation: two strokes and it’s out…"
"That drink was so damn good it knocked her panties off..."
"You only know as much as you don't know."
"During my first six months in the Army, I actually thought my name was ‘Goddammit.’"
"That man confirms the theory that they remove your tongue when you make 0-4, remove your brain when you make 0-5, and then give you back your tongue when you make 0-6…"
Lt Col (EUCOM)
"I’m just livin’ the dream…"
EUCOM staffer response to the question, “How’s it going?” or, “What are you doing?”
"I’m just ranting…I have nothing useful to say."
"Why would an enemy want to bomb this place and end all the confusion?"
"How soon before we can give this guy a medal, a good OER, and send him on his way?"
GS-12 (EUCOM) referring to his boss
"Other than the fact that there’s no beer, an early curfew and women that wear face coverings for a reason, Kabul is really a wonderful place to visit.”
"I’m outta here; gotta go move the body.”
LTC (EUCOM), in an attempt to convince his colleagues that he was going to the gym. Seen immediately afterwards behind the wheel of his car, exiting the base…
"It was seen, visually.”
LTC (EUCOM) during a Reconnaissance briefing
"To hell with that. My morale will continue until the beatings improve.”
LT (NAVEUR) responding to the classic, “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”
"The best part about having kids this age is bath time. I just toss ‘em both in the tub and let ‘em go at it for, say, 15 minutes. It works like the spin cycle on your washing machine"
CDR (EUCOM) on his 2-year old twins
"Let me tell you about the benefits of being on a staff…"
"This should be a short conversation."
LtCol to Lt Col (EUCOM)
"This is like trying to give birth to a flaming porcupine.”
GO (CENTCOM) on the inception of the Afghan National Army
"I wish there were two of me. I’d get twice the work done and the chicks would love it.”
Lt Col (EUCOM)
"If you want to take down a country, gimme a call. We’ll get it done.”
GO/FO (EUCOM) to a gathering of US Ambassadors
"Hello gentlemen. Are we in today or are you just ignoring my request?"
GS-15 (DSCA) in an email to EUCOM staffers
"After seeing the way this place works, I bet that Mickey Mouse wears a EUCOM watch.”
"CENTCOM rules for TDY:
1. Never whistle while packing. It pisses off the wife off big time.
2. Never bring home anything you are not willing to share with the wife.
3. What goes on TDY, stays on TDY.”
"That’s a BEM answer: very fast, completely correct and totally useless...”
LTC (JS) describing BEM (Brevet Ecole Militaire), graduates of the Belgian Staff College
"Whenever I’m in a crisis I ask myself, ‘What would Tony Danza do?’”
“Your Key Issues are so 2003…”
CPT (CJTF-180) in January 2004
"USCENTCOM commanders announced today that they intend to maintain their presence in Qatar "until the sun runs out of hydrogen," thus committing the US to the longest duration deployment in human history. When asked how they planned to maintain the presence in Qatar for a projected length of 4 to 5 billion years, planners said "we're working on a plan for that. We don't have one yet, but not having a plan or an intelligent reason to do something has never been much of an impediment for us in the past; we don't foresee it being a big show stopper for us in the future either."
Among the options that were being discussed was an innovative program to "interbreed" the deployed personnel. "We are going to actively encourage the military members in Qatar to intermarry and raise children that will replace them in the future. Sure, it may be a little hard on some of our female service members, since there currently are about 8 men for every woman over there, but we expect that to be OBE as the sex ratios will even out in a generation or two. In any case the key to the plan is to make these assignments not only permanent, but inheritable and hereditary. For example, if you currently work the JOC weather desk, so will your children, and their children, and their children, ad infinitum. We like to think of it as job security."
COL (CENTCOM), Fucked Up, But I’m Just a Reservist…
“As far as I’m concerned, I’m the only one that matters in here.”
"He has delusions of adequacy."
“I heard there was an earthquake in Djibouti last night. So did they shake their ‘Djibouti’?”
“The Dhow is sunk!
“Is that something I should get excited about?”
“You should be. You’ve been working the issue for three days...”
“Oh, I thought you were talking about the DOW.”
Col to CDR (CENTCOM)
"No matter how hard this Command beats me down, I am still able to get it up."
"I keep myself confused on purpose, just in case I am captured and fall into enemy hands!"
"Cheese-dickery abounds at this Command."
"Does anybody around here remember if I did anything this year?"
LTC (EUCOM) preparing his Office Evaluation Report support form
"He is a modest little person, with much to be modest about."
"...or the alternate explanation is that I'm just a wussy boy."
Col (EUCOM) using words that you just gotta love…
"This is all happening because we had the sympathetic detonation of a stress grenade."
Maj (EUCOM) after an insignificant issue became a theater focus because somebody used the "Reply all" function
"I’d be happy to classify this document for you. Could you tell me its classification?"
GS11 (EUCOM) in an email from the Foreign Disclosure office
"I finally figured out that when a Turkish officer tells you, "It's no problem," he means, for him."
“Sorry I’m late. I was busy dressing the Assistant Secretary.”
LTC (EUCOM) after providing clothes to a VIP whose own wardrobe was still in his lost luggage
“The only three things you want to hear from a good wingman are: ‘Two;’ ‘Lead, you’re on fire;’ and ‘I’ll take the fat one…’”
"Nothing is too good for you guys…and that’s exactly what you’re gonna get…”
LTC (EUCOM) describing the way Army policy is formulated
“Hell, no! I only get involved in social functions when there’s a keg of beer, loose women, and a trampoline. You know the party’s getting started when there are drunk women are on the trampoline.”
LTC (EUCOM) when asked whether he had attended an official VIP gathering in DC
"The only thing that sucks worse than being me is being you…”
"Why should I worry? Nobody here outranks me by that much.”
MAJ (SOCEUR) briefing a group of 0-6s
"All they do is chain smoke and scratch their asses…"
GO (EUCOM) on the productivity of the EU military staff
"I have to know what I don’t know..."
Col (CENTCOM) during a shift changeover briefing
"No. Now I’m simply confused at a higher level..."
Foreign GO/FO when asked if he had any questions following a transformation brief at JFCOM
"I’m planning on taking the weekend off…notionally..."
LT (EUCOM) midway through a huge, simulated command exercise
“‘Leaning forward’ is really just the first phase of ‘falling on your face.’"
"I've heard of ‘buzzwords’ before but I have never experienced a ‘buzz sentence’ or a ‘buzz paragraph’ until today."
Maj (EUCOM) after listening to a JFCOM trainer/mentor
"We've got to start collaborating between the collaboration systems."
"Our plan for the Olympics is to take all the ops and put it in the special room we have developed for ops."
"I’m not in the Navy. I just fly.”
“Did you here that they’re canning Bob Edwards on NPR?”
“Why? Did they catch him standing up for the National Anthem or something??”
COL to CDR (EUCOM)
"Not to be uncooperative, but we're just being uncooperative.”
CDR (EUCOM) in an email response to a request for information
"You gotta either dazzle them with brilliance or baffle them with bullshit.”
"If I come home early, my wife thinks I'm after something. If I get home late, she thinks I've already had it..."
"We're from the nuke shop, sir. We're the crazy aunt in the closet that nobody likes to talk about ..."
Lt Col to GO/FO (EUCOM) in briefings
"We should have arranged for a bunch of dummies to sit around the table in there and nod their heads in agreement. You know, now that I think about it, there were plenty of dummies sitting around the table anyway!"
"We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much for so long with so little, that we are now qualified to do anything with nothing."
Anonymous, but classic…
“This is a great place to perv out. I mean, I can perv out all I want and nobody seems to notice…”
GS-15 (OSD) during an enjoyable TDY
"The 'L' in CENTCOM stands for leadership..."
“At this Command, we have written in large, black letters: DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) on the back of our security badges.”
“I've been fucked more times in this job than I would have if I were locked up in a Turkish prison...hell yes I want the assignment!”
Lt Col (EUCOM) after being asked if he would like to rotate back to a stateside assignment
German salesgirl (in perfect English): May I help you, sir?
CPT: Yes you may. Do you speak English?
Salesgirl: Why yes I do. What part of “May I help you, sir?” did you not understand?
Exchange heard in Germany, but common throughout the world…
“He cloaked himself in an impenetrable veneer of terminology.”
Lt Col (JFCOM) describing the Jiffiecom alpha male
“Transformation has long been the buzzword for those that are dispossessed, dispirited and disillusioned…”
Chaplain (EUCOM), allegedly talking about the Disciples…
“Eating is a process, not an event…”
Col (JS) while putting on an eating clinic at an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet
"There are more disconnects on this issue than CENTCOM has staff officers."
“Everyone should have some misbehavior in their past. I mean, if you don’t know what sin is, how do you know what you’re giving up?”
“I think we should replace the fluoride in our drinking water with Prozac and Viagra. Trust me, I trained as a pharmacist; everyone would be happier…”
“I like to think of it as a US-Belarusian bi-lat.”
MAJ (CENTCOM) after visiting an adult, “folk-dancing” venue
“Is that a Navy or a Marine admiral?”
“I thought she was a hottie until she raised her arm. It looked like somebody had put Buckwheat in a headlock down there…”
GS-15 (OSD) on an experience with European women
“Please don’t laugh. This is my job.”
Maj (EUCOM) from Protocol, explaining in great detail the approved procedures for dropping off VIPs
“That guy’s about as effective as a tail gunner on the space shuttle.”
"I guess this is the wrong power cord for the computer, huh?"
LtCol (EUCOM) after the smoke cleared from plugging his 110V computer into a 220V outlet
"OK, this is too stupid for words."
Dopeler effect: the tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you fast
Sarchasm: the gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it
Inoculatte: to take coffee intravenously when necessary
Ignoranus: a person who is both stupid and a jackass
LTC (TRADOC), excerpted from a collection of definitions
“We are condemned men who are chained and will row in place until we rot.”
LtCol (CENTCOM) on life at his Command
“The only reason that guy’s lips are moving is because somebody has their hand so far up his ass…”
“I’ll be right back. I have to go pound my nuts flat…”
Lt Col (EUCOM) after being assigned a difficult tasker
“Right now we’re pretty much the ham in a bad ham sandwich…”
“Let’s face it: Africa sucks…”
DOS representative (Bureau of African Affairs) at a conference on Africa
"So, what do you wanna do?"…"I dunno, what do YOU wanna do?"…"I dunno, what do YOU wanna do?,” etc.
COL (DIA) describing the way OUSD(S) develops and implements their strategies
“You know what they say about great minds, right? Well, I know what they say. Well, actually I don't. Actually, I don't know that anybody has ever said anything about a great mind around me. So, what do they say about great minds? Or is that great mimes? Huh? Is it time for my medication yet...?”
Maj (EUCOM) in an email
"He stood there like a pig looking at a wristwatch."
MAJ (USAREUR) on another staffer’s response to being assigned a tasker
"This is the Watch Officer at NMCC. Can you go secure?"
"Roger sir, initiating…OK, I have you Top Secret."
"Roger, have you same. OK, can you tell me if Bahrain is Zulu+2 or Zulu+3?"
COL (NMCC) and LCDR (NAVCENT) during the invasion of Afghanistan
“All we’re doing over there is serving up self-licking ice cream cones.”
BTCS (USN SOF) discussing Iraqi operations
"Well, at least the ODC Chief is smarter than the BAO."
"Yeah, but that’s like saying that Boo Boo is smarter than Yogi…”
Lt Col to LtCol (EUCOM)
The Two Rules of Success:
1. Don’t tell everything you know
"Blocking punches with your face does not constitute boxing."
Lt Col (EUCOM)
"These Navy guys have an affinity for being on top of each other…you know, hot racking?...oops, I didn't know you were still there!”
Maj (USAFE) talking to friend while forgetting to hang up the phone with a Navy rep
“Remember, this is Germany. Failure to recycle properly is a Federal Offense…or at least a word with a whole bunch of letters.”
"It's amazing that I don't have to open my mouth and the information still comes out."
"It's part of being on a staff. . .happens all the time with GOs."
Maj to Maj (USAFE) after somebody else answered a question meant for him without being asked
"I'd go with the Navy guy. They know the ins and outs of showers."
Maj (EUCOM) after overhearing two USAF AOs and a Navy AO discussing the qualities of various shower stalls
"Sometimes I feel like the whole world is out to get me…and then I realize that some of the smaller countries are probably neutral.”
"Life's a bitch that keeps on having puppies..."
"When it comes to getting ahead in today's Air Force, it's not ass-kissing that makes the difference…it’s the tongue action that really separates the men from the boys."
Lt Col (EUCOM)
"Frag O’s...killing the planet, one tree at a time…"
Maj (11 MEU)
"I agree that aviators earn every cent of their flight pay. It’s their base pay that I have a problem with…"
"That guy’s been putting a lotta weight since he checked in here. I heard he’s taking a Human Girth Hormone supplement…"
1. I can see your point, but I still think you're full of shit.
2. I don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce.
3. How about never? Is never good for you?
4. I see you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public.
5. I'm really easy to get along with once you people learn to see it my way.
6. I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter.
7. I'm out of my mind, but please feel free to leave a message.
8. I don't work here. I'm a consultant.
9. It sounds like English, but I can't understand a damn word you're saying.
10. Ahhh... I see the screw-up fairy has visited us again.
11. I like you. You remind me of myself when I was young and stupid.
12. You are validating my inherent mistrust of strangers.
13. I have plenty of talent and vision; I just don't give a damn.
14. I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.
15. I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.
16. Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.
17. The fact that no one understands you doesn't mean you're an artist.
18. Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental.
19. What am I? Flypaper for freaks?!?
20. I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant.
21. It's a thankless job, but I've got a lot of karma to burn off.
22. Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.
23. And your crybaby, whiny-assed opinion would be?
24. Do I look like a people person?
25. This isn't an office. It's hell with fluorescent lighting.
26. I started out with nothing and still have most of it left.
27. Sarcasm is just one more service we offer.
28. If I throw a stick, will you leave?
29. Errors have been made. Others will be blamed.
30. I'm trying to imagine you with a personality.
31. A cubicle is just a padded cell without a door.
32. Too many freaks…not enough circuses.
33. Chaos, panic, and disorder...my work here is done.
34. I thought I wanted a career; turns out I just wanted a salary.
35. Oh I get it... like humor... but different.
Provided by LTC (EUCOM)
"Okay guys, there is WAY too much discussion about punctuation here today…PERIOD."
COL to Lt Col (EUCOM)
“I don’t know how much clearer I can be…(click)”
GS-15 (NATO) to Lt Col (EUCOM) in answer to a question about a tasker
“My brain is so fried that I’m operating on stem alone...”
Lt Col (EUCOM)
"There's no value added in these comments."
"We're staff officers. We don't add value. We add text."
LCDR response to Lt Col (EUCOM) after review of a draft message
“From the Russian point of view, the US being in Georgia is like the teenage boy who shows up to take your daughter out on a date. No matter what he says, you know what he’s got on his mind…”
“This is the only place where they order you to clear all the classified papers out of your work trailer and then have security guards standing by outside to check for a courier card…”
LTC (CENTCOM) discussing CENTCOM’s hurricane-preparedness measures
“Wisdom is the comb that life gives you after all your hair has fallen out…”
Lt Col (EUCOM)
“Indecision is the key to flexibility.”
“Please don’t go all J5 on me and talk about 'maybe, sort of, and perhaps…’”
CAPT to LTC (EUCOM) on how to write an OPORD
“Here’s a Happy Snap to burn into your brain.”
Lt Col to COL (EUCOM) on how to present info at a shift changeover brief
“This is one of the worst cables that I have ever read. It is beyond confusing. I mean, if I have no idea what we are talking about, how do we expect foreigners to understand it? But thanks for sending it to me.”
“Yeah, I think that’s the answer I’m looking for.”
Lt Col (TRANSCOM) proving that he’s truly a staff officer
“The more senior I get, the more junior I feel.”
CDR (EUCOM) at his promotion
“If you will try to be more specific, I will try to be more helpful…”
“The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it never tried to contact us.”
CDR (EUCOM) quoting Calvin and Hobbes
“Your briefing should be like a skirt: long enough to cover the important parts; short enough to be interesting…”
“Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.”
“SHAPE: Superb Holiday At Public Expense.”
“Military intelligence is to intelligence what military music is to music.”
CAPT (Polish Navy)
“The Pentagon is the headquarters for all the military services supplemented by liaisons from the Air Force and the Coast Guard.”