Talking Proud Archives --- Culture

The American warrior, manning a post of honor, with heart, strength, resolve

On this anniversary of the attack at Pearl Harbor, we think about the American fighting man, because it was he who defeated the Japanese. It is important for us to understand the American fighting man. He comes from our communities, from our families. He is from the heart of the American culture. He is a reflection of us. There is no divide between us. William T. "Bill" Coffey, Jr., a senior space operations analyst, has compiled a suite of quotes about the American war fighter and has matched those with photos to tell a story about the American fighting man. This is his presentation.

Introduction by Ed Marek, editor

December 7, 2007



It is the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, an attack which began four years of war that culminated in Japan's unconditional surrender to the United States and its allies. Many in the world think "Little Boy" and "Fat Man," the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan's Home Islands, ended the war begun at Pearl Harbor. I'm not so sure.

I am sure that the American fighting man and the nation that mobilized behind him defeated Japan.

The American fighting man. He is on the one hand the most dangerous weapon on Earth, and on the other, among the most compassionate and caring people on Earth.

It is important for us to understand the American fighting man. He comes from our communities, from our families. He is from the heart of the American culture. He is a reflection of us. There is no divide between us.

William T. "Bill" Coffey, Jr., a senior space operations analyst working as a contractor for the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command, has compiled a suite of quotes about the American war fighter and has matched those with photos to tell a story about the American fighting man. This is his presentation.

There are a few vulgarities in the content. In the context of the subject, I find them acceptable and appropriate. This is "direct-speak", the hallmark of the American fighting man.

If you say you support the troops, these are among the things you support. If you say you are an American, these are qualities your culture is lucky enough to have.


These are my credentials. It was September 14, 1944, western France, the Crozon Peninsula. German Lt. General Ramcke was to surrender to Brigadier General Canham, Assistant Division Commander, 8th Infantry "Golden Arrow-Pathfinder" Division. Upon meeting Canham, Ramcke said through his own interpreter, "I want to see your credentials." Canham pointed to the eager dogfaces crowding the entrance with their M-1s and responded, "These are my credentials." That ended that, Ramcke surrendered to the real power behind America's Army, the GI.


The soldier is the ultimate determinant in war. “The ultimate determinant in war is a man on the scene with a gun. This man is the final power in war. He is control, he determines who wins. There are those who would dispute this as an absolute, but it is my belief that while other means may critically influence war today, after whatever devastation and destruction may be inflicted on an enemy, if the strategist is forced to strive for final and ultimate control, he must establish, or must present as an inevitable prospect, a man on the scene with a gun. This is the Soldier.”

Rear Admiral J.C. Wylie, USN, among other things, commanded the USS Ault in the Pacific War as part of destroyer screens for fast-carrier task forces operating against the Japanese in the Philippines, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Kyushu and Honshu.


Put your soldiers in the mud. “You may fly over a land forever; you may bomb it, atomize it, and wipe it clean of life - but if you desire to defend it, protect it, and keep it for civilization, you must do this on the ground, the way the Roman Legions did - by putting your soldiers in the mud.”

T.R. Fehrenbach, in his book, This Kind of War, conveys the experiences of individual soldiers at the front and rear echelons during the Korean War.


Better studs than shitheads. "I'd rather go down the river with seven studs than with a hundred shitheads."

Colonel Charles "Chargin' Charlie" Beckwith is credited with creating the Delta Force special operations in Vietnam.


Fight for one another. “American soldiers in battle don’t fight for what some president says on T.V., they don’t fight for mom, apple pie, the American flag, they fight for one another.”

Lt. Colonel Harold G. "Hal" Moore commanded the 1-7 Cavalry in the fight for the Ia Drang Valley, Vietnam, and received the Distinguished Service Cross.


Go in and kill the enemy: “If you’re going to go to war against a major enemy, go; knock the hell out of him fast, and go in there to kill him and get it over with.”

Lt. Colonel Harold G. "Hal" Moore, mentioned previously, ultimately rose to the rank of lieutenant general and said it this way.


Destroy the enemy. "In this business, you find the enemy, then go after and destroy him. Everything else is rubbish!"

Eddie Rickenbacker was America's fighter ace in WWI, and a recipient of the Medal of Honor.


War vs. combat. "War is hell, but actual combat is a motherfucker."

Colonel David Hackworth is a highly decorated veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam, and often an outspoken critic of the military and political systems in this country.


Where is the enemy. “The Spartans do not enquire how many the enemy are, but where they are.”

Before Christ, Agis II ruled Sparta.


Fight to win. "This is the law: The purpose of fighting is to win. There is no possible victory in defense. The sword is more important than the shield and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental."

John Steinbeck was one of the most widely read American authors of the 20th century.


No mercy for my enemies: "May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't.”


Immediate and violent: “An imperfect plan implemented immediately and violently will always succeed better than a perfect plan.”

General George Smith "Old Blood and Guts" Patton commanded the 3rd US Army that raced across Germany in WWII. Many said Patton was not politically correct. But he was almost always correct.


Troopers follow the values their parents taught them. “The Soldiers of TF 2-7 Infantry rose to the occasion. All of the values their mothers and fathers and grandparents taught them, they learned. They stepped up to the plate. They did not just follow their leaders, they accompanied their leaders. Sometimes, they led the way! They said, 'Sir, the enemy’s over there, don’t worry, we’ll get you there!'”

Lt. Colonel Scott Rutter, USA (Ret.), commanded the 2-7 Infantry during the Iraq War. He liked to get so close to the enemy, going into battle with the lead company, that his troopers worried about his safety.


We're in the ass-kicking business. "I like Marines, because being a Marine is serious business. We're not a social club or a fraternal organization and we don't pretend to be one. We're a brotherhood of 'warriors,' nothing more, nothing less, pure and simple. We are in the ass-kicking business, and unfortunately, these days business is good ... As Marines, our message to our foes has always been essentially the same. 'We own this side of the street! Threaten my country or our allies and we will come over to your side of the street, burn your hut down, and whisper in your ear 'can you hear me now?' And then secure your heartbeat."

Colonel James M. "Mike" Lowe, in 2004, commanded Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. We believe he has since retired.


Win or lose, that's it. "We win here or lose everywhere; if we win here, we improve the chances of winning everywhere."

General Douglas MacArthur, commanding general, UN Command Korea, former military governor of Japan, and WWII Pacific commander.


Shoot him dead. “Your job is to point that rifle into the other guy’s face and shoot him dead.”

General Matthew "Old Iron Tits" Ridgeway, commanding general, 8th US Army, Korean War and later, commanding general, UN Command Korea.


Someone somewhere is training to kill you. "Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimum food or water, in austere conditions, day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon. He doesn't worry about what workout to do --- his rucksack weighs what it weighs, and he runs until the enemy stops chasing him. The True Believer doesn't care 'how hard  it is'; he knows he either wins or he dies. He doesn't go home at 1700; he is home. He knows only the 'Cause.'  Now, who wants to quit?"

This was written for the ProfessionalSoldiers.com website, by one of the staff, a retired Special Forces medic. ProfessionalSoldiers.com was begun in 2004 and is now the largest public gathering of Special Forces soldiers on the internet.


Tough guys lead survivors. “I don't mind being called tough, because in this racket it's the tough guys who lead the survivors.”

General Curtis "Bombs Away with Curt" Lemay destroyed the Japanese Home Islands as commander, 20th AF, rose to become the commander, Strategic Air Command, and then the Chief of Staff, USAF.


The bond among soldiers. “We have funny things that happen. I can remember standing in a land fill in southern Iraq where we began one of our attacks, and watching my guys so tired from lack of sleep....literally fall on the ground, with their gear on, on top of each other. I then watched 'my boys' swat flies for each other, guard each other, share water with each other, offer food for those that did not have any chow, express their disdain for the trash heap that was our home, all the while ready to do battle and if necessary die for each other. I saw with my own eyes the actual creation of the closeness and bond that historians write about in times of war amongst fighting men.”

John G. Gibson, 1st Lt., USA, 1-325 Airborne Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division, from Baghdad.


Sleep well. “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

George Orwell, real name, Eric Arthur Blair, widely admired English-language essayist of the 20th century.


Only deeds count. “In the final measure, nothing speaks like deeds.”

General John Adams Wickham, USA, has been through the mill, a Harvard graduate, wounded seriously in Vietnam, commander of the 101 Airborne Division, commander-in-chief UN Command Korea, senior assistant to the secretary of defense, and Chief of Staff, US Army.


In war, men must be led to their deaths. “When in war, men must die, they can’t be managed to their deaths, they must be led.”

Colonel Dandridge "Mike" Malone, "Ranger" (Ret.), a Vietnam veteran, and author of Small Unit Leadership: A Commonsense Approach, an acclaimed book on leadership, military and civilian.


Fighting for one's life, killing is a profession. “But to the fighting soldier that phase of the war is behind. It was left behind after his first battle. His blood is up. He is fighting for his life, and killing now for him is as much a profession as writing is for me.”

Ernest Taylor "Ernie" Pyle was a war correspondent in WWII who wrote from the perspective of the common soldier, and died from machine gun fire on Ie Shima, an island offshore Okinawa.


Marines are ferocious fighters. "You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth, and the amusing thing about it is that they are."

Father Kevin Keaney was a Navy chaplain assigned to the 1st Marine Division during the famous Chosin Reservoir Campaign of the Korean War.


Our real stars are in battle dress. "Every morning, I get up, get out of bed, and get on my knees and thank God for waking up in America ... (She is) the light of the world ... A nation of heroes ... The real stars are wearing body armor on top of their battle dress uniforms in 130 degree heat and they do not have stunt doubles to come in for them when the going gets rough and the bullets and the shrapnel start flying. They are the real stars, fighting terrorism and trying to free a nation.”

Ben Stein, scholar, lawyer, author, humorist and baseball fanatic.
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Editor's note:
No photo for this one, but legend says these words were spoken by a senior general officer to his troops. Hope so!

"When you men get home and face an anti-war protester, look him in the eyes and shake his hand. Then, wink at his girlfriend, because she knows she's dating a pussy."

This is a terrific idea. We should do it. It would be fun.

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No way 71 virgins waiting in heaven. "There could not possibly be 71 virgins awaiting them in heaven, because as our hymn says, 'The streets are guarded by United States Marines.'"

One more with no firm attribution, but you simply know a Marine said it.


Heroes? "What is a hero? My heroes are the young men who faced the issues of war and possible death, and then weighed those concerns against obligations to their country. Citizen-soldiers, who interrupted their personal and professional lives at their most formative stage, in the timeless phrase of the Confederate Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery, 'not for fame of reward, not for place of for rank, but in simple obedience to duty, as they understood it.'”

James Webb is now a senator for Virginia, but was also a secretary of the Navy, an Annapolis grad, a Marine infantry officer, and a decorated Vietnam vet.


The soldier is at the core. “The soldier is the centerpiece of all our units. Most effective, flexible and adaptable asset we possess. Rapidly retasked from combat to stability operations to homeland defense. Best sensor: receives and processes information better than any technology. Face of the United States overseas. Everything we do is designed to support the soldier."

General Richard Cody, Vice Chief of Staff, Army, Desert Storm veteran, and an air assault pilot with over 5,000 hours flying.


Enemy has no response for the American sergeant. “We’re here today to pay tribute to two great soldiers; to two great Americans. I am 100 percent convinced we will win this war because we have soldiers like Sgt. Shields and Spc. Velez, and the enemy does not. The enemy has no response for sergeants that risk everything to rescue their injured comrades only to immediately return to the fight. The enemy has no answer to soldiers standing over their injured buddies, even when it means their own lives, so that others will live. Because of that, we will win."

Lt. Col. James Rainey, standing left in the photo, was commander of 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, when Shields and Velez were killed in the Battle of Fallujah, Iraq, November 27, 2004.


We serve free men. “There are only two types of warriors in this world. Those that serve tyrants and those that serve free men.”

Sergeant Stefan Mazak, US Army 10th Special Forces Group, a "Lodge Bill" soldier, which was a soldier from an eastern European country or stateless volunteers who served in the US Army. Mazak was a Czech and a veteran of the French Foreign Legion. Mazak participated in the evacuation of the Congo and was killed in action during a classified operation with the special forces in Vietnam.


The patriot volunteer, reliability. “The patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on earth.”

General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, among the most revered, successful and gifted of all Confederate commanders


A volunteer's strong heart. “Nothing is as strong as the heart of a volunteer.”

Lt. Colonel James Harold "Jimmy" Doolittle, US Army Air Corps. Led a B-25 bomber attack against Japan's Home Islands from the deck of an aircraft carrier on April 18, 1942, less than four months after Pearl Harbor. Received the Medal of Honor, ultimately promoted to lieutenant general, USAF.


Confront evil with arms. "Weapons are the tools of power ... In the hands of the free and decent citizen, they should be the tools of liberty ... An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it."

Colonel John Dean "Jeff" Cooper, USMC, fought with clandestine services in Korea, advocate of the .45 pistol, developed the Bren Ten semiautomatic pistol, devoted his life to pistol craft.


"Hate war, but love the American warrior."

Lt. General Harold Gregory "Hal" Moore, USA, West Point, Harvard, received the Distinguished Service Cross for valor in Vietnam, first in his West Point class to become a general and rise to three stars.


Soldiers pray for peace. “The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

General Douglas MacArthur


Victories are not free. “Victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay its price.”

Sun Tzu, before Christ, wrote The Art of War, one of the most influential books on the subject in human history.



Sacrifice. “We gave each of our fallen comrades a fitting memorial and mourned their loss. Each time, I knew these heroes left wives, husbands, children and other loved ones behind. They were all volunteers and each had their reasons for joining the Army and defending their country. They all had great plans for the future, but none of them had planned on dying in combat. These soldiers will never see their children graduate from high school, will never attend their weddings, will never coach their little league baseball teams.”

Colonel Ted R. "Teddy" Spain, 18th Military Police Brigade Commander, essentially the chief of police, Baghdad in the early days of the post invasion. The 18th MP Bde controlled Baghdad from February 21, 2003 through January 31, 2004, during which time the brigade lost 13 killed in action.


Heart. “Heart is what makes the American Soldier”

Sergeant First Class Barbara Ray, USA, 1993.


The world has witnessed the soldier's heart. “The world is witnessing first hand, live on television, the hearts of American warriors -- and the spirit and pride only displayed by magnificent young men and women who are volunteers in the fight for the cause of freedom. It's all about heart.”

Colonel Alfred J. "AJ" Stewart, commander, 71st Flying Training Wing, 2004. Colonel Stewart has since been promoted to brigadier general commanding the 21st Expeditionary Mobility Task Force. He is a command pilot with more than 2,900 flying hours in the KC-135A, KC-135R, T-1, and C-17 aircraft.


Post of honor. “Where there is one brave man, in the thickest of the fight, there is the post of honor.”

Henry David Thoreau, American author of the 19th century, famous for his essay, Civil Disobedience, and his book, Walden.


Our warriors come from our communities. “Where do we get guys like this the reporter asked? The answer is as simple as it is profound. You give them to us. You parents, you families, you brothers and sisters, grandparents, uncles and aunts, friends, you loan us these wonderful young people. They are the fruit of our country, raised by caring parents or a single parent, nurtured in love, and taught that Americans are supposed to have concern for the rights, freedoms and needs of not only our own citizens, but the citizens of the world ... The credit for their goodness, and their greatness, rests with all of you back home. The mothers, the fathers, husbands, wives, all of the family members, all the friends, the teachers, the preachers, scout leaders, football coaches, volunteer youth workers of all sorts, each person who had a positive impact on the lives of these young people deserves a piece of the credit."

Colonel Ron Smith, US Army, From, "The war in Iraq, what the media doesn't tell you,” The Meridien Star, March 9, 2005.


Do good. “Be ashamed to die until you have done something good for mankind.”

American pastor Dr. Vernon Johnson during the Revolutionary War


Boots on the ground. “I remind you again we had those elections [in Afghanistan and Iraq] because we had boots on the ground and we had people that could help people, and we had people on the ground that could get into somebody’s face when they had to, and do whatever was required.”

General Peter J. Schoomaker, April 11, 2005, former Chief of Staff, US Army, called out of retirement to take the job. Considerable experience in special operations.


Pray, always. "Urge all of your men to pray, not alone in church, but everywhere. Pray when driving. Pray when fighting. Pray alone. Pray with others. Pray by night and pray by day. Pray for the cessation of immoderate rains, for good weather for Battle. Pray for the defeat of our wicked enemy whose banner is injustice and whose god is oppression. Pray for victory. Pray for our Army, and Pray for Peace. We must march together, all out for God.”

General George Patton