Coast Guard Quotes From The Crew - Old and New

Purloined From Fred's Place


Ed. Note - This has been heavily edited and names and dates removed to protect the guilty. This site isn't the mess deck, it  is a family site and that is all I am going to say about it. Enjoy! - Jack

The following appeared under the title, "Sum up your Coast Guard experience with one quote"

"We trained hard....but every time we formed up teams we would be reorganized. I was to learn that we meet any new situation by reorganizing. And a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization." Petronius Arbiter, 210 bc

"Always flexible."

"If we get lost, we'll just pull in somewhere and ask for directions."

"We Must Eat Chicken! "

"Hurry up and wait!"

"Retirement - No more pork adobe."

"More with less ... or if you're honest, less with less."

"Don't Plan on it"

"Never have time to do it right, But have plenty of time to do it again"

B.O.H.I.C.A. - Bend over, here it comes again.

"Well, we didn't really expect the first part of the plan to work, so we have no further plan. Sometimes you can over plan these things." Kinda goes along with the "Hurry up and wait" and "We'll worry about that tomorrow".

"There are plenty of men of iron in the Coast Guard today. And not all of them have been in for 100 years!"

"I just work here"

"It Don't Get Any Better Than This!"

"Never have so few done so much with so little."

"Sometimes you have to look out the window"

"Have seabag....will travel."

"It's been real, it's been fun, but it hasn't been real fun."

The New Guard. - "We must conform to them, they not to us"

"Jack of all trades, master of none"

"Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you...

"The best laid plans never survive first contact."

"Needs of the Service"

"He who rings the bell in jest, buys the house a round of the best"


"The universe has it's own cure for stupidity. Unfortunately it doesn't always apply it." This applies to the guy who was out yesterday with his 13 year old son in a 17' skiff in 5 foot seas with blowing spray.

"A sane environment is one in which there is room to be crazy. A crazy environment is one in which there is no room to be sane." This one one applys to day to day operations.

"And some days you're the fire hydrant!"  

"It's all fun and games till someone loses an eye... then it's just fun!"

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times......"

"The gates are down, lights are flashing....but the train ain't coming..."

"I'd sum up my 22 year career with the following quote: "What the hell was that?"

"You have to go to lunch, but you don't have to come back." (MSO Creed)

"Welfare ain't got nothing on the Coast Guard."

"Just when I thought I had all the answers....they went and changed all the questions."

"Being able to do nothing with nothing."

"Revere those that have gone before and prepare for those on the horizon"

"What a long, strange trip it's been. . ."

"Anything'll fit if you apply enough force."

"Optimally manned cutters"

This quote was from my first skipper.
"Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die.

"Son its ok to make mistakes that's how we all learn. Just try not to learn so dam much in one day!"

"Most of the time, it's easier to get forgiveness than permission."

"If it don't work, get a hammer. If that don't work, get a bigger hammer. And if that don't work, PAINT IT!!"

From the words of an outstanding BM I know, "If thats the kind of watch you want to stand!!!"

USCGC Eastwind quotes:

"Tear-icin' around McMurdo Sound" - Christmas plan of the day

"There will be no more liberty until the morale of the crew improves" - normal plan of the day

"Mutiny ship to arrive in Valparaiso today. . . Captain in chains" - newspaper report based upon faulty comprehension of overheard radio transmissions

"For the information of all hands, the evaporators are inoperative. The water supply will be secured until further notice. Salt water showers are being rigged on the fantail. Scuttlebutts will be turned on for ten minutes every four hours beginning at 1600" - second day out of panama enroute New Zealand at 13.8 knots...... and after almost three years of it I shipped over for six hoping to stay on the Eastwind for my whole career. (I think Duke Bethea had been there about 8 years at the time).

"Now, set the Special Sea detail, make preparations to get underway."

"Sun Over Foreyard" - Nautical equivalent to "Time we had a drink"

"Everything is exception to change"

"If it aint broken' fix it until it is."

"Brute force and ignorance will get the job done."

"The CG has taught me what I DON'T want to do when I retire." .

"Some of the rules are meant for SOME of the people, SOME of the time."

"....and I can't just give you a ribbon for doing your job...."

"....and if you do three more funeral details, you'll get you third L.O.C"

"A ship was stranded off Cape Hatteras on the Diamond Shoals and one of the life saving crew reported the fact that this ship had run ashore on the dangerous shoals. The old skipper gave the command to man the lifeboat and one of the men shouted out that we might make it out to the wreck but we would never make it back. The old skipper looked around and said, 'The Blue Book says we've got to go out and it doesn't say a damn thing about having to come back."

"'Tis not the badges that you're earnin',
Its the knowledge that you're learnin',
That will comfort Ye and save Ye,
When Old Neptune starts 'a churnin'."

"Now stand by for heavy rolls as the ship comes about"

"I'm just proud to be a small part of the big picture"

For those working in the small boat community having to deal with the general boating public - "Stupidity Equals Job Security"

"We do it that way, because that's the way we've always done it."

"Never Underestimate The Power Of Stupidity"

"A hundred and ninety five years of tradition, unhampered by progress".

From the SS "How was lunch Chief?" - Chief's reply "It'll make a turd...."

My old chief used to say,  "Semper Gumby", be flexible.

"Tomorrow we work only a half day.......12 hrs!......"

"Favorite working mode..........Crisis Management...."

"I did 28 years and the worst day I ever had was absolutely wonderful!"

"Turn to" with obligatory hand holding up two fingers and rotating back and forth

"I don't know much, but I know a fifty pound bag of flour makes an awfully big biscuit."

"We, the unwilling,
led by the unknowing,
are doing the impossible
for the ungrateful."

"We have done so much,
for so long,
with so little,
we are now qualified to do anything
with nothing.

The "M" Myth - "Go to lunch and don't come back."

"Its been a lovely cruise" or "What a chickensh$t yacht club!"

"How do you spell out that familiar sound of the turbines revving up at 3 am?"

Now for the information of all hands -"The beatings will continue until morale improves."

"I have called this meeting and will continue to call these meetings until I can determine why no work is ever getting done."

"Turn two and expect nothing later"

"The plan is, there is no plan."

"Don't mistake my kindness for weakness."

"Fix it until its Broke."

"Never underestimate the predictability of stupidity"

"Just another day in Paradise." (Only applies if you live in Alaska)

"Not So Fast - The new paradise is Iraq - Ask anybody who has been there"

Same sh*t diferent day...its all the same........

"I came, I saw, I got diarrhea."

When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!

Anyone who's ever worked for an Ensign or two will know..."The difference between the Boy Scouts and the Coast Guard is that the Boy Scouts have adult leadership".

"If I Tell You A Rooster Can Pull A Train You Better Find A Harness That Fits That Sucker!"

"I've Seen More Meat On A Cheese Sandwich!

"The formation of a bureaucracy is like a septic tank. The really big ones always rise to the top."

Always love answering this one..... "The Coast Guard, is that like the real military??"

"Come on, the GV needs gas......", "Welcome to McDonalds, may I take your order?"

For all the boots: "No, you don't have to take your hat off in the club!"

"This is gonna be a big sh*t sandwich, and we're all gonna take a bite."

"Liberty, Liberty, Liberty."

I couldn't wait to retire.

USCG - "Uncle Sam's Confused Group."

But in all honesty, the one that would sum up my career is: "Great people Good times
> only 5 months left"="Comic Sans MS" size="4">

Monkey $H!T Fight.

"What are they going to do? Send me to sea?" Worse yet, Headquarters!

TAD= Travel Around Drunk

"The Coast Guard is like a fan

Stand behind it, it sucks
Stand in front of it, it blows
Stand beside it, it doesn't do a dam thing for you.

After a rather busy midwatch: "We do more before daylight than most people do all day."

From JAWS: "I think we're going to need a bigger boat."

Same quote above but for 110' WPB sailors: "I think we're going to need a thicker hull!"

"He's wound tighter than a 10 day clock."

"Longer than a month of Sundays."

"Its not rocket science."

"Up behind!" ..and do it with a smile!

"Once you go black, you never (wanna) go back!"

"Never let them see you sweat"

"Never let them know how much you really know"

"Be smarter than what your working with"

"The U.S. Coast Guard - Jack of all trades, master of none."

"It's been quite a party, Woodrow"

As a old MKC told me when I was a young MK3, "Yep it looks like a small leak, Put several more coats of paint on it, then wait for it to dry before we run it again, that should fix it."

"Organized chaos"

"Standing By to Stand By!"

"Above my pay grade."

"200 years is enough."

"Ensigns and warrants call each other sir and the ensigns really mean it."

"Semper Paratus is a laugh, I joined to beat the draft.

What's the worst that can happen Senior Chief? "We get underway and get caught in a storm, ice up, flip over, and we all die!"

" Great ship, great crew, Merry Christmas - TURN TOO"

"Underway is the only way"

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