In a game (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare), when a soldier (Gaz) asks his commander (Captain Price) about the "rules of engagement," he is answered "crew expendable."

As they are fighting on a ship, I have two translations in mind:

  1. The ship crew (the enemy) are expendable; i.e. you can kill whomever you want.
  2. The team crew are expendable; i.e. the team should fulfill their objective, even at the cost of their lives.

Which translation is right?

  • The terminology has no set meaning, and is dependent on context and the established jargon of the setting.
    – Hot Licks
    May 27, 2017 at 11:14
  • Teams don't really have crews. Team, squad, crew are similar terms. Whereas a manned ship always has a crew, but not a team or squad, in the normal parlance. Also, I'm not sure if an order for a team or squad to take casualties would be worded as 'team/squad expendable'. May 27, 2017 at 17:33

1 Answer 1


If you read the wiki on Call of Duty, definitely the former: the ship crew can be engaged.

alt text

The trivia on that episode also include:

This mission contains many references to the Aliens series of films: These include the title, "Crew Expendable" (in reference to a line from the first film), and the lines "I like to keep this for close encounters", "Check those corners", "Stay Frosty" and "Soldier, we are leaving".

From imdb on Aliens

Ripley queries Mother for advice on destroying the alien, but in the process discovers that "the company" (unnamed in this film, but identified in the sequels as Weyland-Yutani) had recognized the signal as a warning and wanted one of the alien creatures brought back for study, considering the crew expendable.

  • 3
    Note the "Weapons free" in the picture: Weapons can fire at any target not positively identified as friendly. This is the least restrictive weapon control status.
    – VonC
    Nov 20, 2010 at 12:37
  • Thanks a lot. Very informative; I learnt much more than I expected! Nov 20, 2010 at 15:49
  • Expendable means the ship crew can be engaged and killed. May 27, 2017 at 17:25
  • Yes, but in the movie, the crew is not the enemy. So crew expendable doesn't really mean the same thing. May 27, 2017 at 17:29
  • @Clare I agree. In the movie, the latter meaning would apply. Although a crew member "infected" could be considered as enemy ;)
    – VonC
    May 27, 2017 at 18:02

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.