Flight Line Humor

Army Announces New Award

The United States Army has announced its newest individual award, the PITA (Pain In The Ass):

Know anyone who should be recommended for this award?

Murphy’s Laws of Combat Operations

  1. Friendly fire – isn’t.
  2. Recoilless rifles – aren’t.
  3. Suppressive fires – won’t.
  4. You are not Superman; Marines and fighter pilots take note.
  5. A sucking chest wound is Nature’s way of telling you to slow down.
  6. If it’s stupid but it works, it isn’t stupid.
  7. Try to look unimportant; the enemy may be low on ammo and not want to waste a bullet on you.
  8. If at first you don’t succeed, call in an airstrike.
  9. If you are forward of your position, your artillery will fall short.
  10. Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than yourself.
  11. Never go to bed with anyone crazier than yourself.
  12. Never forget that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.
  13. If your attack is going really well, it’s an ambush.
  14. The enemy diversion you’re ignoring is their main attack.
  15. The enemy invariably attacks on two occasions:
    • When they’re ready.
    • When you’re not.
  16. No OPLAN ever survives initial contact.
  17. There is no such thing as a perfect plan.
  18. Five second fuses always burn three seconds.
  19. There is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole.
  20. A retreating enemy is probably just falling back and regrouping.
  21. The important things are always simple; the simple are always hard.
  22. The easy way is always mined.
  23. Teamwork is essential; it gives the enemy other people to shoot at.
  24. Don’t look conspicuous; it draws fire.
  25. Never draw fire; it irritates everyone around you.
  26. If you are short of everything but the enemy, you are in the combat zone.
  27. When you have secured the area, make sure the enemy knows it too.
  28. Incoming fire has the right of way.
  29. No combat ready unit has ever passed inspection.
  30. No inspection ready unit has ever passed combat.
  31. If the enemy is within range, so are you.
  32. The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire.
  33. Things which must be shipped together as a set, aren’t.
  34. Things that must work together, can’t be carried to the field that way.
  35. Radios will fail as soon as you need fire support.
  36. Anything you do can get you killed, including nothing.
  37. Make it too tough for the enemy to get in, and you won’t be able to get out.
  38. Tracers work both ways.
  39. If you take more than your fair share of objectives, you will get more than your fair share of objectives to take.
  40. When both sides are convinced they’re about to lose, they’re both right.
  41. Professional soldiers are predictable; the world is full of dangerous amateurs.
  42. Military Intelligence is a oxymoron.
  43. Fortify your front; you’ll get your rear shot up.
  44. Weather ain’t neutral.
  45. If you can’t remember, the Claymore is pointed towards you.
  46. Air defense motto: shoot ’em down; sort ’em out on the ground.
  47. ‘Flies high, it dies; low and slow, it’ll go.
  48. The Cavalry doesn’t always come to the rescue.
  49. Napalm is an area support weapon.
  50. Mines are equal opportunity weapons.
  51. B-52s are the ultimate close support weapon.
  52. Sniper’s motto: reach out and touch someone.
  53. Killing for peace is like screwing for virginity.
  54. The one item you need is always in short supply.
  55. Interchangeable parts aren’t.
  56. It’s not the one with your name on it; it’s the one addressed “to whom it may concern” you’ve got to think about.
  57. When in doubt, empty your magazine.
  58. The side with the simplest uniforms wins.
  59. Combat will occur on the ground between two adjoining maps.
  60. If the Platoon Sergeant can see you, so can the enemy.
  61. Never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down, never stay awake when you can sleep.
  62. The most dangerous thing in the world is a Second Lieutenant with a map and a compass.
  63. Exceptions prove the rule, and destroy the battle plan.
  64. Everything always works in your HQ, everything always fails in the Colonel’s HQ.
  65. The enemy never watches until you make a mistake.
  66. One enemy soldier is never enough, but two is entirely too many.
  67. A clean (and dry) uniform is a magnet for mud and rain.
  68. The worse the weather, the more you are required to be out in it.
  69. Whenever you have plenty of ammo, you never miss. Whenever you are low on ammo, you can’t hit the broad side of a barn.
  70. The more a weapon costs, the farther you will have to send it away to be repaired.
  71. The complexity of a weapon is inversely proportional to the IQ of the weapon’s operator.
  72. Field experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.
  73. No matter which way you have to march, its always uphill.
  74. If enough data is collected, a board of inquiry can prove anything.
  75. For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism. (in bootcamp)
  76. Airstrikes always overshoot the target, artillery always falls short.
  77. When reviewing the radio frequencies that you just wrote down, the most important ones are always illegible.
  78. Those who hesitate under fire usually do not end up KIA or WIA.
  79. The tough part about being an officer is that the troops don’t know what they want, but they know for certain what they don’t want.
  80. To steal information from a person is called plagiarism. To steal information from the enemy is called gathering intelligence.
  81. The weapon that usually jams when you need it the most is the M60.
  82. The perfect officer for the job will transfer in the day after that billet is filled by someone else.
  83. When you have sufficient supplies ammo, the enemy takes 2 weeks to attack. When you are low on supplies ammo the enemy decides to attack that night.
  84. The newest and least experienced soldier will usually win the Medal of Honor.
  85. A Purple Heart just proves that were you smart enough to think of a plan, stupid enough to try it, and lucky enough to survive.
  86. Murphy was a grunt.
  87. Beer Math — 2 beers times 37 men equals 49 cases.
  88. Body count Math — 3 guerrillas plus 1 probable plus 2 pigs equals 37 enemies killed in action.
  89. The bursting radius of a hand grenade is always one foot greater than your jumping range.
  90. All-weather close air support doesn’t work in bad weather.
  91. The combat worth of a unit is inversely proportional to the smartness of its outfit and appearance.
  92. The crucial round is a dud.
  93. Every command which can be misunderstood, will be.
  94. There is no such place as a convenient foxhole.
  95. Don’t ever be the first, don’t ever be the last and don’t ever volunteer to do anything.
  96. If your positions are firmly set and you are prepared to take the enemy assault on, he will bypass you.
  97. If your ambush is properly set, the enemy won’t walk into it.
  98. If your flank march is going well, the enemy expects you to outflank him.
  99. Density of fire increases proportionally to the curiousness of the target.
  100. Odd objects attract fire – never lurk behind one.
  101. The more stupid the leader is, the more important missions he is ordered to carry out.
  102. The self-importance of a superior is inversely proportional to his position in the hierarchy (as is his deviousness and mischievousness).
  103. There is always a way, and it usually doesn’t work.
  104. Success occurs when no one is looking, failure occurs when the General is watching.
  105. The enemy never monitors your radio frequency until you broadcast on an unsecured channel.
  106. Whenever you drop your equipment in a fire-fight, your ammo and grenades always fall the farthest away, and your canteen always lands at your feet.
  107. As soon as you are served hot chow in the field, it rains.
  108. Never tell the Platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do.
  109. The seriousness of a wound (in a fire-fight) is inversely proportional to the distance to any form of cover.
  110. Walking point = sniper bait.
  111. Your bivouac for the night is the spot where you got tired of marching that day.
  112. If only one solution can be found for a field problem, then it is usually a stupid solution.
  113. It is a physical impossibility to carry too much ammo.
  114. Flying is better than walking. Walking is better than running. Running is better than crawling. All of these, however, are better than extraction by a Med-Evac even if it is, technically, a form of flying.
  115. All or any of the above combined.


The Country Boy’s Letter Home

Dear Ma and Pa:

Am well. Hope you are.

Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Army beats working for Old Man Minch a mile. Tell them to join up quick before maybe all the places are filled.

I was restless at first because you got to stay in bed till early 6 a.m. ( ! ) but am getting so I like to sleep late.

Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot and shine some things –no hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay. Practically nothing. You got to Shave, but it is not bad in warm water.

Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc., but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, beef, am steak, fried eggplant, pie and regular food. But tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit between two city boys that live on coffee. Their food plus yours holds you till noon, when you get fed.

It’s no wonder these city boys can’t walk much. We go on “route marches,” which, the Sgt. says, are long walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it is not my place to tell him different. A “route march” is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys all get sore feet and we ride back in trucks. The country is nice, but awful flat.

The Sgt. is like a schoolteacher. He nags some. The Capt. is like the school board. Cols. and Gens. just ride around and frown. They don’t bother you none.

This next one will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep getting medals for shooting. I don’t know why. The bull’s-eye near as big as a chipmonk and don’t move, and it ain’t shooting at you, like the Higsett boys at home. All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit it. You don’t even load your own cartridges. They come in boxes.

Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before other fellows get onto this setup and come stampeding in.

Your loving son, Zeb

P.S. Speaking of shooting, enclosed is $200 for barn roof and ma’s teeth. The city boys shoot craps, but not very good. – Z.


Early Outs

The armed forces found they had too many officers and decided to offer an early retirement bonus. They promised any officer who volunteered for retirement a bonus of $1000 for every inch measured in a straight line between any two points in his body. The officer got to choose what those two points would be.

The first officer who accepted, asked that he be measured from the top of his head to the tip of his toes. He was measured at six feet and walked out with a bonus of $72,000.

The second officer who accepted was a little smarter and asked to be measured from the tip of his outstretched hands to his toes. He walked out with $96,000.

The third one was a grizzly old Colonel, Ex-Firebird Pilot who, when asked where he would like to be measured replied “from the tip of my penis, to my testicles.”

It was suggested by the pension man that he may want to reconsider, explaining about the nice checks the previous two officers had received. But the old Colonel insisted and they decided to go along with him providing the measurement was taken by a medical officer.

The medical officer arrived and instructed the Colonel to “drop ’em”. Which he did. The medical officer placed the tape measure on the tip of the Colonel’s penis and began to work back.

“My God!” he suddenly exclaimed, “Where are your testicles?”

The Colonel calmly replied “in Vietnam.”


Air Force Maintenance Issues

Here are some (supposedly) actual maintenance complaints submitted by US Air Force pilots and the replies from the maintenance crews.

“Squawks” are problem listings that pilots generally leave for maintenance crews to fix before next flight.


(P) Left inside main tire almost needs replacement
(S) Almost replaced left inside main tire 
(P) Test flight OK, except autoland very rough
(S) Autoland not installed on this aircraft 
(P) #2 Propeller seeping prop fluid
(S) #2 Propeller seepage normal
(P) #1 #3 and #4 propellers lack normal seepage 
(P) Something loose in cockpit
(S) Something tightened in cockpit 
(P) Evidence of leak on right main landing gear
(S) Evidence removed 
(P) DME volume unbelievably loud
(S) Volume set to more believable level 
(P) Dead bugs on windshield
(S) Live bugs on order 
(P) Autopilot in altitude hold mode produces a 200 fpm descent
(S) Cannot reproduce problem on ground 
(P) IFF inoperative
(S) IFF always inoperative in OFF mode 
(P) Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick
(S) That’s what they’re there for 
(P) Number three engine missing
(S) Engine found on right wing after brief search 
(P) Aircraft handles funny
(S) Aircraft warned to straighten up, “fly right”, and be serious 
(P) Target Radar hums
(S) Reprogrammed Target Radar with the words

Our Unit Cartoon

Cartoon drawn by Danny (Woody) Woodard, an F-Trooper from 67-68. Choose a size to view a larger image:

Why Helicopter Pilots are Different

The thing is, helicopters are different from planes. An airplane by it’s nature wants to fly, and if not interfered with too strongly by unusual events or by a deliberately incompetent pilot, it will fly. A helicopter does not want to fly. It is maintained in the air by a variety of forces and controls working in opposition to each other, and if there is any disturbance in this delicate balance the helicopter stops flying; immediately and disastrously. There is no such thing as a gliding helicopter. This is why being a helicopter pilot is so different from being an airplane pilot, and why in generality, airplane pilots are open, clear-eyed, buoyant extroverts and helicopter pilots are brooding introspective anticipators of trouble. They know if something bad has not happened it is about to. Harry Reasoner, February 16, 1971