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Semper Gumby The real Latin phrase meaning "always flexible" is Semper Flexibilis is an unofficial motto for all U.S. military services Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) detachments and later on for Navy Seabees. They have been using it since at least 1985. It is a play on the official Marine Corps motto Semper Fidelis, usually abbreviated Semper Fi, which means "always faithful" and that of the United States Coast Guard, Semper Paratus, meaning Always Ready, Navy fast attack submariners, and USCG personnel, "Semper Gumby", refers to the cartoon character Gumby, means "always flexible."

While the first use of Semper Gumby is often assigned to Captain Jay Farmer of HMM-264 in 1984 who actually flew with a Gumby character toy mounted on the standby Compass on the instrument panel of his CH-46E nicknamed "Airwolf", the term was in use in 1977/78 in 1st Battalion, 5th Marines at Camp Pendleton.

While popular belief has it that the term was first referenced by the 1st Sgt TOW Co. 3rd Tank Battalion 7th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Task Force Ripper) prior to deployment of Operation Desert Shield from MCAGCC 29 Palms, Ca. on August 15, 1990. "Marines, My platoon commander in Nam used to tell us 'Semper Gumby, Always Flexible'." The 3rd Battalion, 11th Marines has "always flexible" as part of their official motto.

The phrase was also said by Corporal Gabriel 'Gabe' Garza played by Rey Valentin on the HBO series Generation Kill.

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Semper Gumby is also a common phrase used in the field of Emergency Management.