I went through US Navy aviation training and never heard the phrase. Spent many years in the fleet and never came across it either. It was just the pilots I met on the way through, and the conversations we had, just never came up. It still surprises me to this day. It is possible I missed it in some training manual too. But it is the kinda phrase that you hear, and without any experience, understand implicitly the wisdom behind it. In my opinion, St Exupery's Wind, Sand, and Stars is the heart and soul of this phrase. Maybe I never heard it because I had found it before I ever began to fly.
I am thankful to the pilot who shared it with me. I was a cadet at the US Merchant Marine Academy in my junior year when I sat down in the NROTC class I was required to take. I was an engineer and the class didn't have much appeal for me. But that day was different. We got to sit through a movie about carrier aviation, and I remember watching the jets landing on the ship thinking, "I am going to do that."
I went to my NROTC Department Head and told him about my decision. I remember him telling me, "You just aren't the type." To his credit, when I told him that I didn't care, he did all he could do to get me into carrier aviation.
I was working in one of the academic buildings after hours one day a year later when I started up a conversation with a man I met in the hallway. Not sure how it all took place, he wasn't an instructor there, but I do remember telling him about my plans after graduation. He mentioned that he was a production check pilot for fighter jets coming of the manufacturing line on Long Island. We talked a while, and then before he left I asked him, "If you had one piece of advice to give me before I start to fly what would that be?"
He said, "Aviate, Navigate, and Communicate!"
It was the best advice I ever got, except for "If you find your dive angle over 15 degrees in a pop-up delivery pull out immediately." It was my mantra and I am thankful that he passed it on to me.