boots on the ground
Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
- (idiomatic, military) The ground forces actually fighting in a war or conflict at the time of speaking, rather than troops not engaged or being transported to the fighting.
- The Pentagon may say we have enough, but that's not what I'm hearing from the boots on the ground.
- Journalist Karl Zinsmeister titled his book Boots on the Ground: A month with the 82nd Airborne in the Battle for Iraq.