One bit of realism that corny '80s action movies brought to cinema is the one-liner: as we have mentioned before, soldiers have a surprising way with words when it comes to those badass boasts we all wish we could think of with when faced with a threatening situation. Not only do they have ample ability to come up with zingers, they often manage to chuck them out with deadly accuracy while staring death right in the eye until its bony balls shrivel and it skulks away grumbling.
With that, here's the latest installment in our series "Holy shit, people actually talk like action heroes in real life?"
5 "Well, buddy, just pull your tank in behind me. I'm the 82nd Airborne, and this is as far as the bastards are going!"
The 325th Glider Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division had an insane job, even by WWII standards. Their task was to haul supplies to paratroopers, using gliders that were made out of freaking plywood. This is a material not known for its bullet-deflecting capabilities, and the gliders had a habit of suddenly plummeting to the Earth due to the heavy weight of the cargo. They were basically designed for crashing, with the pilot hanging on with little-to-no control and hoping like hell that the landing would be gentle enough to not break his spine.
"Oh, yeah, we need a 'pilot' for this thing, ummmmm ... you."
Despite this, the Glider Infantry Regiment saw a lot of action in WWII. They glided into Italy, they glided into the Normandy Invasion on D-Day, and they glided into battle at Nijmegen in the Netherlands. That's a lot of times to voluntarily crash an aircraft into a live battlefield.
In November 1944, the 325th embarked on a reprieve when they and the rest of the 82nd Airborne Division were sent to France for some well-deserved R&R. This lasted barely a month. In December, the Germans launched a surprise offensive, catching the Allies completely off guard in what would be known as the Battle of the Bulge. Despite lacking ammunition and being generally unprepared for the harsh winter, the 82nd were sent to the Ardennes Forest in Belgium to reinforce the line. It was here that tanks from the 3rd Armored Division were retreating from the overwhelming German advance. They came upon a private first class from the 325th, in the process of digging a foxhole. As the tank rolled by him, the PFC inquired: "Are you looking for a safe place?"
"These tanks are fragile!"
"Yeah," said the tank commander. The man answered:
"Well, buddy, just pull your tank in behind me. I'm the 82nd Airborne, and this is as far as the bastards are going!"
This comment from a professional plywood-crash-flying dude burrowing into ground with a shovel to a man sitting in a goddamn tank was so badass, no one bothered to write down the tank commander's reply. As such, we're forced to assume that the tank commander gratefully parked his vehicle where the PFC told him to, and the tank itself spent the rest of the war following the guy around like a loyal dog.
What we do know is that the troops the 82nd joined managed to hold their position despite overwhelming odds and decimated two German divisions. They wound up an occupying force in Berlin, and are known today as America's Guard of Honor.
It was easier to fit on to a patch than "Archduke Emeritus of Ass-Upon-Kickington."
4 "Goddamn it! You'll never get a Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole. Follow me!"
On Jan. 10, 1942, the soldiers and marines fighting in Guadalcanal were given the straightforward mission to attack and destroy the Japanese forces remaining in the area.
"And if you wouldn't mind mopping up some of these other areas ..."
As most "simple" wartime orders tend to go, this was far easier said than done. The Japanese army was not exactly a group of boy scouts: they were dug in, giving ground slowly and only after much bloodshed. Members of the 3rd Battalion 8th Marines found this out the hard way, when they were halted by an extensive enemy emplacement, including no less than seven machine-gun nests. Things looked grim, until Captain Henry P. Crowe gathered half a dozen Marines who were taking cover from enemy fire and bellowed:
"Goddamn it! You'll never get a Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole. Follow me!"
US Marine Corps
"Yeah, but we also won't get a bullet."
The Purple Heart, as you probably know, is awarded only for the specific act of being wounded in battle -- it's not the sort of thing even a hero aspires to. Which means this wonderful rallying cry basically translated to "Come on guys, let's go get shot!"
Crowe knew his audience: these were motherfucking Marines he was giving a pep talk to. The men shrugged; said, "Good point"; and rushed right the hell forth with Crowe. They destroyed the enemy emplacement, paving the way for the rest of the Marines to continue their mission. Two guesses as to whether they ultimately succeeded.
US Marine Corps
He died in '91, his mustache in '99.