Murphy's Laws of Combat



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A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America" for any amount "up to and including My life."


Air Force




Things only a military mind can appreciate

How the military has changed — 1945 to 2005

Military rules by service

Marine Corps rules

Navy SEAL's rules

Army Ranger's rules

Army rules

Air Force rules

Navy rules


Air Force


1. Cluster bombing from B-52s is very, very accurate. The bombs always hit the ground.

2. It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed.

3. Who cares if a laser-guided 500-pound bomb is accurate to within 9 feet?




1. If the enemy is in range, so are you.

2. Beer math — 2 beers times 44 men = 49 cases.

3. Body count math — Two guerillas plus one blood trail plus two pigs = 36 KIAs.

4. Incoming fire has the right-of-way.

5. Friendly fire isn't.

6. Radios will fail as soon as you need fire support.

7. Don't look conspicuous. It draws fire.

8. There is always a way.

9. The easy way is always mined.

10. Mines are equal opportunity weapons.

11. If it's stupid but works, it isn't stupid.

12. The simple things are always hard

13. The important things are always simple.

14. Things that must be together to work aren't shipped to the front together.

15. Try to look unimportant. They may be low on ammo.

16. Professionals are predictable. It's the amateurs who are dangerous.

17. The enemy invariably attacks on two occasions:

a. When you are ready for them.

b. When you're not ready for them.

18. Teamwork is essential. It gives them someone else to shoot at.

19. If you can't remember, the "claymore" is pointed at you.

20. The enemy diversion you have been ignoring will be the main attack.

21. A "sucking chest wound" is nature's way of telling you to slow down.

22. You are not superhuman.

23. Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid.

24. If your attack is going well, you've walked into an ambush.

25. Never draw fire. It irritates everyone around you.

26. Anything you do can get you shot, including nothing.

27. Tracers work both ways.

28. Make it tough enough for the enemy to get in, and you won't be able to get out.

29. Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than yourself.

30. If you are short of everything but the enemy, you are in a combat zone.

31. When you have secured an area, don't forget to tell the enemy.

32. Never forget — Your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.

33. When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend.

34. Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons.

35. When in doubt, empty the magazine.

36. Odd objects attract fire — never lurk behind one.

37. Five second fuses only last three seconds.

38. Don't ever be the first, don't ever be the last, and don't ever volunteer to do anything.

39. Push to test... Release to detonate.

40. No combat ready unit has ever passed inspection.

41. Never tell the platoon sergeant you have nothing to do.

42. The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.

43. Combat will occur on the ground between two adjoining maps.

44. The side with the simplest uniforms usually wins.

45. If you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn't plan your mission properly.




There is no situation in the human condition that cannot be solved through a properly sized, shaped, packed, placed, timed, and detonated charge of high explosive!

Military Engineering Axiom




1. If God had meant for us to be in the Navy, we would have been born with grey, baggy skin.

2. Any ship can be a minesweeper...once.


Things only a military mind can appreciate


Simple things may be corrected in the military provided the solution is complex. Simple solutions to complex problems are not tolerated.

W.E.B. Griffin's Brotherhood of War

A slipping gear could let your M203 grenade launcher fire when you least expect it. That would make you quite unpopular in what's left of your unit.

Army's magazine of preventive maintenance.

Aim towards Enemy

Instruction printed on US Rocket Launcher

Sometimes I think war is God's way of teaching us geography.

Paul Rodgriguez


How the military has changed — 1945 to 2005


Author unknown

1945 — NCO'S had a typewriter on their desks for doing daily reports.

2005 — Everyone has an Internet access computer, and they wonder why no work is getting done.


1945 — We painted pictures of girls on airplanes to remind us of home.

2005 — Do it now and see what happens.


1945 — If you got drunk off duty your buddies would take you back to the barracks to sleep it off.

2005 — If you get drunk they slap you in rehab and ruin your career.


1945 — You were taught to aim at your enemy and shoot him.

2005 — You spray 500 bullets into the brush, don't hit anything, and retreat because you're out of ammo.


1945 — Canteens were made of steel, and you could heat coffee or hot chocolate in them.

2005 — Canteens are made of plastic, you can't heat anything in them, and they always taste like plastic.


1945 — They collected enemy intelligence and analyzed it.

2005 — They collect your pee and analyze it.


1945 — If you didn't act right, the First Sergeant put you in the brig until you straightened up.

2005 — If you don't act right, they start a paper trail that follows you forever.


1945 — Medals were awarded to heroes who saved lives at the risk of their own.

2005 — Medals are awarded to people who work at headquarters.


1945 — You slept in barracks like a soldier.

2005 — You sleep in a dormitory like a college kid.


1945 — You ate in a mess hall, which was free, and you could have all the food you wanted.

2005 — You eat in a dining facility, every slice of bread or pad of butter costs, and you better not take too much.


1945 — We defeated powerful countries like Germany and Japan.

2005 — We fight ideological wars with no specific enemies like the war on drugs and the war on terrorism, with no victory in sight.


1945 — If you wanted beer and conversation you went to the NCO or Officer's Club.

2005 — The beer will cost you $3.50, membership is forced, and someone is watching how much you drink.


1945 — The Exchange had bargains for soldiers who didn't make much money.

2005 — You can get better and cheaper merchandise at Wal-Mart and K-Mart.


1945 — We called the enemy names like "Krauts" and "Japs" because we didn't like them.

2005 — We call the enemy the "opposing force" or "aggressor" because we don't want to offend them.


1945 — A commander would put his butt on the line to protect his people.

2005 — A commander will put his people on the line to protect his butt.


1945 — Wars were planned and run by generals with lots of important victories.

2005 — Wars are planned by politicians with lots of equivocating.


1945 — All you could think about was getting out and becoming a civilian, again.

2005 — All you can think about is getting out and becoming a civilian, again.


Military rules by service

Marine Corps rules:


1. Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one.

2. Decide to be aggressive enough, quickly enough.

3. Have a plan.

4. Have a back-up plan, because the first one probably won't work.

5. Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet.

6. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun whose caliber does not start with a "4."

7. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap. Life is expensive.

8. Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. (Lateral & diagonal preferred.)

9. Use cover or concealment as much as possible.

10. Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours.

11. Always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.

12. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived.

13. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating your intention to shoot.

Navy SEAL's rules:


1. Look very cool in sunglasses.

2. Kill every living thing within view.

3. Adjust speed.

4. Check hair in mirror.

Army Ranger's rules:


1. Walk in 50 miles wearing 75 pound rucksack while starving.

2. Locate individuals requiring killing.

3. Request permission via radio from "Higher" to perform killing.

4. Curse bitterly when mission is aborted.

5. Walk out 50 miles wearing a 75 pound rucksack while starving.

Army rules:


1. Curse bitterly when receiving operational order.

2. Make sure there is extra ammo and extra coffee.

3. Curse bitterly.

4. Curse bitterly.

5. Do not listen to 2nd LT's; it can get you killed.

6. Curse bitterly.

Air Force rules:


1. Have a cocktail.

2. Adjust temperature on air-conditioner.

3. See what's on HBO.

4. Ask "what is a gunfight?"

5. Request more funding from Congress with a "killer" Power Point presentation.

6. Wine & dine "key" Congressmen, invite DoD & defense industry executives.

7. Receive funding, set up new command and assemble assets.

8. Declare the assets "strategic" and never deploy them operationally.

9. Hurry to make 13:45 tee-time.

10. Make sure the base is as far as possible from the conflict but close enough to have tax exemption.

Navy rules:


1. Go to sea.

2. Drink coffee.

3. Deploy Marines



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| Chapter — Curmudgeon's Corner |

| Next — Quotes from Robert Heinlein |

| Back — Rumsfeld's Rules |


Last modified 3/17/16