33 Staff Quotes from the Iraq Combat Zone

By | March 29, 2021

[March 29, 2021]  A little off topic, but I thought today might be a time for a bit of humor.  Late yesterday, while searching for photographs from my time in the Iraq War, I came upon a list of staff quotes.  Some are pretty funny (although the funny bar was mighty low at that time).  Combat in Iraq brought out the funny side of many.  Here are a few of those quotes:

  1. “Leaning forward” is really just the first phase of “falling on your face”.
  2. I am so far down the food chain that I’ve got plankton bites on my butt.
  3. None of us is as dumb as all of us.
  4. The chance of success is the same as the number of “R’s” in “fat chance…”
  5. His knowledge on that topic is only power point deep…
  6. Ya know, in this theater, if the world were supposed to end tomorrow, it would still happen behind schedule.
  7. Right now we’re pretty much the ham in a bad ham sandwich…
  8. If we wait until the last minute to do it, it’ll only take a minute.
  9. 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.
  10. I may be slow, but I do poor work…
    I finally figured out that when a Iraqi engineer tells you, “It’s no problem,” he means, for him.
  11. Never pet a burning dog.
  12. We are now past the good idea cutoff point…
  13. Nobody ever said you had to be smart to make 0-6.
  14. Accuracy and attention to detail take a certain amount of time.
  15. I seem to be rapidly approaching the apex of my mediocre career.
  16. Much work remains to be done before we can announce our total failure to make any progress.
  17. It’s not a lot of work unless you have to do it.
  18. That guy just won’t take ‘yes’ for an answer.
  19. Let’s just call Lessons Learned what they really are: institutionalized scab picking.
  20. I can describe what it feels like being a Staff Officer in two words: distilled pain.
  21. When all else fails, simply revel in the absurdity of it all.
  22. Never attribute to malice that which can be ascribed to sheer stupidity.
  23. If I’d had more time, I’da written a shorter brief…
  24. You only know as much as you don’t know.
  25. Why would an enemy want to bomb this place and end all the confusion?
  26. Other than the fact that there’s no beer, an early curfew, people wanting to kill you and women that wear face coverings for a very good reason, Baghdad is really a wonderful place to visit.
  27. I keep myself confused on purpose, just in case I am captured and fall into enemy hands!
  28. Does anybody around here remember if I did anything this year? [Officer preparing his Officer Evaluation Report support form]
  29. The only thing that sucks worse than being me is being you…
  30. I have to know what I don’t know… [said during a shift changeover briefing]
  31. I’ve heard of ‘buzzwords’ before but I have never experienced a ‘buzz sentence’ or a ‘buzz paragraph’ until today.
  32. Is that a Navy or a Marine admiral? And ….
  33. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, and a lot of bitching.
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

23 thoughts on “33 Staff Quotes from the Iraq Combat Zone

  1. Len Jakosky

    I’m just loving this list. I think I will steal it. He He He He …..

  2. Danny Burkholder

    Can we all just agree that our military have the strongest force in the world and they are also the funniest ever when you get them around others. Just thinking out loud, like Gen. Satterfield wants us to be.

  3. Wendy Holmes

    Just too funny. I love this list. More, please give us more. This is what I like about Gen. Satterfield’s website. A bit of humor, a bit of shock, and a big of education on important issues of the day. Well done!

  4. Georgie B.

    You gotta just love the non-PC quotes here like “Other than the fact that there’s no beer, an early curfew, people wanting to kill you and women that wear face coverings for a very good reason, Baghdad is really a wonderful place to visit.” I wonder what they look like under the face coverings?

  5. Pink Cloud

    Now, all — pay close attention. What is Gen. Satterfield trying to tell us? Is it that we should pay our attention to what is written and within the context of the military in a combat zone? Or is it the phrases themselves and what they say about us as humans? Hmmmm, I think the former and why I laughed my way thru them. I’ll be keeping them in my desk drawer at work to use them sparingly to spice up the day.

    1. Ronny Fisher

      When you are just nugging through the day, sometimes you just have to power through. A little humor along the way helps.

      1. Greg Heyman

        Yep, thanks Ronny but I do believe you got it right. Breaking up the monotony is necessary. 😊

      2. Anthony "Tony" Benson

        Good point, Ronny. And, I do believe the reason Gen. Satterfield gave them to us today. As I understand him, he is giving us some of those staff quotes that he found compelling. Of course, humor in a combat situation differs than ordinary humor.

  6. Nick Lighthouse

    Really good list here. I’ll send it to my boss to see what he thinks.

  7. Dead Pool Guy

    Excellent list, Gen. Satterfield. You made my Monday. Now that we are getting back to work these are the sort of readings that allow us to get thru the day with a smile on our face.

    1. Willie Shrumburger

      Ha Ha Ha…. yep!
      Going strong this year, getting out of the COVID doldrums.

  8. corralesdon

    “… plankton bites on my butt.” Now that is funny. You can be pretty far down the ‘food chain’ anywhere. The need is rise up and get the job done so you are not so low and so you can bring your ideas to the forefront.

  9. Tom Bushmaster

    I like this one because I’m a real bureaucrat anyway: #28. “Does anybody around here remember if I did anything this year?”

    1. Audrey

      Yeah, I liked it too. You left off that this staff officer was looking to update his annual evaluation remarks so that his superior officer could give him high marks. Too bad he couldn’t even remember what he had done. Keep notes on what you do and you will not forget.

      1. Yusaf from Texas

        We’ve all seen this kind of guy. Always busy, never putting his time in to get the job done and requires constant oversight and daily guidance. Typical bureaucrat (I mean that in a kind way). ha ha ha …. great list here Gen. Satterfield.

        1. JT Patterson

          You got that right, Yusaf. Too many of our employees get tied up in the details and never really ‘see’ the big picture. Now, go figure.


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