Famous Naval Quotes Updated For 2019

Some famous quotes updated for 2019 and sent to me by a friend at the Naval War College.

Oliver Hazard Perry

“We have met the enemy and they are ours…” is now “We have met the enemy and we are letting them building islands all over the South China Sea”

William L. Marcy

“To the victor goes the spoils and glory” is now “To the victor goes the bills and global hatred”

Teddy Roosevelt

“Speak softly and carry a big stick” is now “Tweet at everyone and carry pea shooters”

“The US merchant marine is indispensable. We should have ships of our own and seamen of our own to convey our goods to neutral markets and reinforce our battle line.” Is now “Hire Chinese ships to take our war supplies overseas. Let them crack open our containers and steal our technology”

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood…” is now “Best not to do doing anything that might not please the critics in DC”.

John Paul Jones

“My desire for Fame is Infinite ” is now “don’t talk to the Press!”

“I have not yet begun to fight!” Is now “I’ve been fighting for almost two decades.”

“A captain of the Navy ought to be a man of strong sense, with a tolerable good education, a gentleman, as well as a seaman both in theory and practice.” Is now, “A Captain of the Navy must be a man with a spotless record who knows how to maneuver politically. Aviation skills preferred, seamanship skills not required.”

“It is the function of the Navy to carry the war to the enemy so that it is not fought on U.S. soil.” Is now “Who cares that we have no merchant ships left to carry supplies overseas”.

“It seems to be a law of nature, inflexible and inexorable, that those who will not risk cannot win.” Is now “if you take any risk you might fail and if you fail just once you will be run out of the Navy”

“I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way. “ is now “I wish to have no connection with any ship whatsoever. Airplanes and submarines are where it’s at Boyz!”

Admiral David Farragut

“Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” is now “Let’s follow a merchant ship into danger”

George William Curtis

“It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage.” is now “It is not the ship nor skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage, it’s how much you pay defense contractors to program computers to solve problems for you.”


“ The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” is now “Why fear anything? Let the public just keep ignoring the threat of China”

“In the Merchant Marine’s hands, our vital supply lines are expanding. Their skill and determination will keep open the highway to victory and unconditional surrender.” Is now “what’s the Merchant Marine?”


“we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” Is now “we shall let China take the beaches, we shall let them build new islands, we shall let them imprison Filipino fishermen, we shall let them compromise our computer networks, we shall surrender what they take.”

“We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.” is now “The Admirals sleep safely at night knowing that the men, women, and LGBTQ sailors all have completed their gender awareness modules”


“Loose lips, sink ships.” Is now “file an FOI and post it on the internet.”

Howard Coble

“The Coast Guard has long been known as the armed service that gets more done for less.” is now “No drone program, no working icebreakers, no political clout… the USCG is now know as the armed service that gets more done with nothing.”

Ulysses S Grant

“The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on.” Is now “The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemies is. Don’t build the ships needed to move the equipment of war to him.”

Colonel John Boyd

“ people, ideas, and technology. In that order.” Is now “ Technology, ideas, and people. In that order.”

John Adams

“No group of individuals did more for establishing our country than the American Merchant Seamen and Privateers. Their record speaks eloquently of their devotion and sacrifices.” Is now “Civilians can’t be trusted”

Samuel Johnson

“Being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned.” Is now “we need to provide a safe and comfortable for our sailors.”

John F Kennedy

“All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea we are going back from whence we came.” is now “It’s better for a Navy to avoid the sea. Whenever possible we try to fly over it or sink under it but if that’s not possible then we should stick to the littoral regions.”

Admiral Nimitz

“A ship is always referred to as “she” because it costs so much to keep her in paint and powder.” Is now “Let’s find a gender-neutral pronoun or maybe a New acronym.”

Admiral Halsey

“The Marine Corps has just been called by the New York Times, ‘The elite of this country.’ I think it is the elite of the world.” is now “The Navy SEALS are now the elite of the country, give them the big budget and make our marines fight for the scraps.”

Robin Lee Graham

“At sea, I learned how little a person needs, not how much.” is now “At sea, I learned we need more buttons and bigger computer screens.”

Douglas MacArthur

“I came through and I shall return” is now “Let’s just forget our historical obligation to the Philippines.”

Benjamin Franklin

“Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.” is now “At drydock give each defense contractor a drill and let them go hog wild.”

“Anybody can pilot the ship when the sea is calm” is now “Anybody can pilot the ship when the sea is calm and there are no merchant ships within a 100 nautical miles”

John Quincy Adams

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” is now “if your actions, or lack of, get you promoted then nothing else matters”

Field Marshall Erwin Rommel

“In the absence of orders, go find something and kill it.” is now “In the absence of orders, don’t shoot anything.”

Omar Bradley

“We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.” is now “Let’s just forget celestial navigation entirely, set our course based on the fast jets passing overhead”.

James Mattis

‘The most important 6 inches on the battlefield is between your ears’ is now “Always maintain zero inches between your lips when talking with the press or President.”

Unknown Sailor

“M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E.” is now “M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E.”


I’ll observe in passing that I’m pretty sure that JFK had tasted seawater, so it must be that he’d never sucked on a bloody finger. Or perhaps he meant to say the same as extremely ancient seawater.

-Me when I accidentally black out the boat while trying to be helpful to the engineers.


Why don’t we go straight this way?!

Cmdr. Martin Arriola, USS Porter 8/12/12