Click on a Theme below to go to a summary of the four posts about that Theme.

Soldiers, Additional Subthemes

Subthemes: Military Bases, Service Lines, Elite Units, Expressions

The preceding four sections have considered a poem regretting a doomed cavalry charge, a song of a young soldier lost, a movie with Private Forrest Gump, and a painting of soldiers executing traitors. Here are a few other subthemes of Soldiers.

Military Bases: Soldiers must train somewhere, standing armies must be station their forces when they are not deployed, and supplies must be stored. To do so, countries used to build forts but now build military bases. the United States maintains nearly 800 of them in more than 70 countries and territories—from giant “Little Americas” to small radar facilities. [Politico] (https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/06/us-military-bases-around-the-world-119321/) reported these numbers in 2015 and added that the proliferation of military bases costs more than $200 billion a year. An enlistee or draftee’s first impression of the military is probably a base, and their final impression (alive and mustering out or in a casket) is likely to be a military base. On a personal note, I was born at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, and attended school for five years on bases in Mannheim, Germany and Seoul, Korea.

Service Lines: The military forces of nations have often created separate service lines for their land, sea and air soldiers. The United States has organized six branches: the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard as well as the new Space Force. Four of them have an academy for officers, all of them cherish their strong traditions, and several of them brandish rock-ribbed rivalries. The Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) is a college program offered at more than 1,700 colleges and universities across the United States that prepares young adults to become officers in the U.S. Military. In exchange for a paid college education, ROTC cadets commit to serve in the military after graduation. All the branches roll out recruitment efforts that vary by what they have to offer and the kinds of enlistees they seek.

Elite Units: Each branch boasts of its studs, whether they be the SEALS, US Army Special Forces (the Green Berets) , The Blue Angels, or several others. Here is a list of the top ten honored units. Servicemen compete strenuously to be invited to join an elite unit, as only the toughest and most capable endure the winnowing out rigors. Once in a group, they keep up their training and are ready to take on the most difficult and dangerous missions.

Expressions: The 102 idiomatic sayings presented alphabetically below refer to soldiers in a figurative sense. I exclude direct uses of the theme word and proverbs. The idiomatic expressions come from my own knowledge of English and various online sources:

7esl, ABCEnglish, Basic English Speaking, befluentnyc, Cambridge, Career Ride, English Eagtutor, English with a Twist, EngVid, ESLexpat, Free Dictionary, Ginseng English, GoEnglish, Grammar, High Level Listening, Idioms Online, Idioms4U, Know Your Phrase, Learn English Today, Lemon Grad, Literacy at Work, MacMillan Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, MMMEnglish, My English Pages, Online Teachers, Owlcation, PerformDigi, Phrases, Phrase-Thesaurus, PowerThesaurus, Reverse Dictionary, Twining English Centres, Using English, and Your Dictionary.

“a fighting chance” (a possibility of achievement after struggle)
“a minefield” (a situation with hidden dangers)
“about face" (reverse direction)
“absent without leave/AWOL” (unauthorised absence)
“all present and correct” (everyone’s accounted for)
“an arm and a leg” (extremely expensive)
“avant garde" (in the lead)
“awkward squad” (group of individuals resisting or obstructing any change)
“baptism by fire” (learning something the hard way)
“basket case” (an extremely nervous person)
“beat a hasty retreat” (to quickly run away from a dangerous situation)
“beat swords into ploughshares” (devote resources to peace rather than warlike ends)
“be your own worst enemy” (be the cause of your own problems) “bite the bullet” (force oneself to endure painful experience)
“bitter end” (the last extremity)
“blackguard” (a contemptible person)
“blast to smithereens” (to explode)
“booby-trap" (hidden explosive or other dangerous situation)
“boots on the ground” (the combat troops in a particular area)
“browned-off” (angry)
“buckle for one’s dust” (fight furiously)
“bury the hatchet” (make peace)
“caught off guard” (taken by surprise)
“chewing the fat” (converse casually/gossiping)
“close ranks” (unite in order to defence common interests)
“cover for someone” (do work on behalf of someone)
“cross swords” (disagree or argue)
“cup of Joe” (coffee)
“dead on one’s feet” (extremely tired)
“devil to pay” (serious trouble on the way)
“dig in” (make arrangements to protect oneself)
“dip-stick” (a stupid person)
“drop a bombshell” (surprise everyone)
“drummed out of the army” (to be expelled)
“egg in one’s beer” (free, something for nothing)
“embrace the suck” (consciously accept unpleasant things)
“fall in line” (submit to the rules)
“feeling blue” (feel sad or depressed)
“fight a losing battle” (a failing effort or activity)
“fight an uphill battle” (struggle against unfavourable circumstances)
“fight fire with fire” (retaliate with similar form of attack)
“firing line” (likely to be criticized)
“French leave” (hasty departure)
“frontline” (direct or close involvement in a situation)
“full screw” (nick name for a corporal)
“gain ground” (make progress)
“give no quarter” (show no mercy)
“here today, gone tomorrow” (short-lived)
“hoist with one’s own petard” (harmed by one’s own action meant to harm another)
“hold fire” (delay)
“hold the fort” (take responsibility in the absence of someone)
“hot shot” (exceptionally talented person)
“in the line of duty” (while doing one’s job)
“in the thick of battle” (intense part of something)
“iron rations” (emergency ration)
“keep your powder dry” (be prepared)
“last-ditch” (a desperate final attempt to avoid failure)
“lay low” (to hide)
“lock and load” (prepare for an imminent event)
“loose cannon” (one who behaves recklessly)
“loose lips sink ships” (beware of unguarded talk)
“lose ground” (become less strong)
“mad minute” (short period of intense fire)
“make a killing” (making large profits easily)
“marching orders” (a dismissal)
“meet the waterloo” (to be defeated)
“million dollar wound” (an injury worth going home)
“mitt flopping” (taking both sides, flipping sides frequently)
“moaning Minnie” (someone who complains a lot)
“no man’s land” (disputed area)
“no names, no pack drill” (warning to keep quiet to avoid repercussions)
“on the warpath” (taking the path of conflicts)
“once more unto the breach” (try again)
“over the top” (too extreme and not suitable)
“quick on the draw” (fast to act or react)
“rank and file” (ordinary members of an organization)
“red alert” (the most urgent form of alert)
“run amok” (behave uncontrollably)
“running battle” (an argument continuing for a long time)
“search/seek and destroy” (search a target and eliminate it)
“secret squirrels” (people working in covert operations)
“set one’s sights on” (target something/achieve something)
“shellshock” (psychological disturbance caused by war)
“sneaky beaky” (special operations)
“soldier on” (continue to achieve something)
“spin a dit” (tell a story)
“spit and polish” (exaggerated cleaning and polishing)
“stand down” (withdraw or resign from a position)
“steal a march” (gain advantage over someone)
“stick to your guns” (hold fast to an opinion)
“stuck/caught in the middle” (caught between two undesirable situations)
“take flak” (receive criticism)
“take no prisoners” (aggressive, harsh)
“take up arms” (get ready to fight)
“tell it to the marines” (a scornful response to an unbelievable story)
“the whole nine yards” (everything possible and available)
“throw down the gauntlet” (to show that one’s ready to fight)

“under fire” (held responsible)
“war/battle of nerves” (two groups trying to weaken each other psychologically)
“with flying colors” (exceptionally well)
“work one’s ticket” (scheme a way to achieve release from any obligation)
“worth one’s salt” (good at one’s job)

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