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War is a serious endeavor undertaken by serious people who say serious things in the heat of battle. Here are the 13 most badass things ever said by America’s finest:

1. Colonel William Prescott, the Battle of Bunker Hill

“Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!”

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Col. William Prescott (Source: U.S. Library of Congress)

2. Admiral William F. Halsey on Dec. 7, 1941

“When this war is over, the Japanese language will be spoken only in hell!”


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William F. Halsey Jr. (Source: Naval Historical Center)

3. General William T. Sherman

“War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.”

General William Tecumseh Sherman, 1865.
General William Tecumseh Sherman, 1865 (Source: Department of Defense Archives)

4. Creighton W. Abrams, the Battle of the Bulge

“They’ve got us surrounded again, the poor bastards.”

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Creighton W. Abrams (Source: U.S. Military archives)

5. Captain John Parker

“Don’t fire unless fired upon; but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”

Statue of Captain John Parker. Henry Zbyszynski / Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/hankzby/459994570
Captain John Parker (Source: Henry Zbyszynski / Flickr)

6. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry

“We have met the enemy, and they are ours!”

English: , COMMODORE, U.S.N. ENGRAVED PORTRAIT
Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry (Source: U.S. Library of Congress)

7. Captain John Paul Jones

“I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm’s way.”

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Captain John Paul Jones (Source: National Park Service)

8. Admiral David Glasgow Farragut

“Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”

David Glasgow Farragut, admiral
Admiral David Glasgow Farragut (Source: U.S. Library of Congress)

9. Major General John Stark, Battle of Bennington

“Yonder are the Hessians. They were bought for seven pounds and tenpence a man. Are you worth more? Prove it. Tonight the American flag floats from yonder hill or Molly Stark sleeps a widow!”

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Major General John Stark (Source: Raela 9 / Flickr

10. Sergeant Major Daniel Daly, World War I

“Come on, you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?”

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Sergeant Major Daniel Joseph Daly (Source: U.S. Marine Corps Archives / Flickr)

11. Lieutenant General Lewis “Chesty” Puller

“Don’t you forget that you’re First Marines! Not all the communists in Hell can overrun you!”

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General Lewis “Chesty” Puller (Source: U.S. Marine Corps Archives / Flickr)

12. General Curtis LeMay

“If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting.”

U.S. Air Force General Curtis E. LeMay.
U.S. Air Force General Curtis E. LeMay (Source: National Museum of the U.S. Air Force)

13. General George Patton

“No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.”

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General George Patton (Source: Military Personnel Records Center)

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