Military Mottos: Have Pride in Your Unit

Army soldiers shoulder unit patch with special forces ranger and airborne tabs

The U.S. military is often described as a team of teams. Within it are organizations, units, and sub-units that all carry their part of the objective—to fight and win the nation’s wars—leading to the ultimate success of our Armed Forces.

While the service branches might have slogans or military mottos, like the Marine Corps’ “Semper Fi,” military mottos have trickled down to the unit level. Not all units have them, but they are a source of personal and unit pride which helps members of a unit develop stronger bonds and esprit de corps.

For example, being a part of the U.S. Army with more than a million members might not make a soldier feel as if he or she belongs, but being a Sky Soldier of the 173rd Airborne Brigade might make that large Army smaller, more familiar when they say “To Our Utmost.”

The veteran employees of USAMM have compiled a short list of our top three favorites. Here they are, in no particular order.

“These Things We Do, That Others May Live”
U.S. Air Force pararescue, also known as PJs, by far have the most selfless missions in all of the U.S. military (not counting the Coast Guard). Therefore, it makes sense that their military mottos match that mission.

Often, the PJs military mottos are truncated, so you might see “That Others May Live” or even the hashtag #TOML used in spaces like social media. Whether you use the long version or short version of the PJ’s military mottos, one thing is for sure, they are bad ass angels of mercy who can pluck a downed pilot from behind enemy lines, or rescue boaters on a sinking vessel in stormy high seas.

“De Oppresso Liber”
Latin for “To Liberate the Oppressed,” this is the military mottos of the U.S. Army’s Special Forces, more popularly known as the Green Berets. Although the mission of SF types is to train local military forces, their military mottos are a tip of the hat to their World War II heritage where special forces helped indigenous people fight against fascism.

De Oppresso Liber is sometimes confused with the nickname special forces personnel have been anointed with, “the quiet professionals.” SF personnel pride themselves on the fact that they can be inserted, perform a mission, and then leave quietly.

“Swift, Silent, Deadly”
Remember that the military is a team of teams. That said, the larger Marine Corps has Semper Fi as their military mottos. However, Marine Force Recon uses “Swift, Silent, Deadly” as their military mottos.  

Like the other military mottos we’ve mentioned, the Marine Force Recon’s mission is succinctly and accurately represented in their military mottos. They must enter an area of operations quickly and without detection and they must neutralize their threats.

Remember, not all units have military mottos, but those that do tend to have the most polished and professionally capable personnel in the U.S. military.

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