It always boggles my mind to take a moment and think about the fact that easily the most uncomfortable uniform in existence used to be an actual combat uniform at some point in history. Well, not the exact same uniform, but kind of the same anyway. We all know how awful it is to do something as simple as buckle the collar of the Dress Blues (not to mention how badly it chokes you for doing so successfully). Can you even fathom not only having to live in this outfit every day, but actually fight (brutally) at war. I commend the Marines of old simply because I can’t go five minutes wearing a minimal amount of PPE without complaining about some thing or another–whether it’s my thighs chafing or simply the weight on my shoulders, it’s still not as bad as wearing a woolen blue surcoat on a 50 mile hump.

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Stolen from Reddit

I’m not a particularly huge history buff, so don’t ask me to go into details on anything here, but I do wonder what the future holds for uniforms of the Marine Corps. At some point this shit has to come full circle and Marines will eventually be wearing digital camouflage as a dress outfit at their next Marine Corps Ball at the Fhloston Paradise Hotel with Ruby Rhod as their musical guest. They’ll wear it with annoyance and wonder why is it “digital” and what is the point of so many pockets we can’t use? (Because you know in 100 years you still won’t be able to put anything in the pockets of your dress uniform).

Most importantly though… how would it protect against the Moon Spiders?

You could probably make an entire comic series out of morning PT alone. The daily ritual is so fraught with simultaneously monotonous and unique experiences, it’s a wonder I haven’t done more on the subject. As most of you are aware, I’m sure, you generally have to run morning PT in a formation of some kind so your squad, section or platoon doesn’t look like a total bag of dicks sweating across the base. As such, one of the dangers is inevitably being exposed to the noxious fumes emitted by your fellow war fighters. There’s really no way around it, you’re forced to endure not only a grueling run, but simultaneously inhaling particles of alcohol and Nitro-Tech™ accented shit from the rectum of whoever happens to be in front of you.

There are other, more obvious dangers of always running in a formation. For instance, if you’re not the last person in a formation and you trip, you’d better move out of the way like a fucking cat on bath salts unless you want to take down the three Marines behind you as well as get your nuts stomped into the pavement. Immediate dangers such as running in the dark is always fun, literally not even able to see the ground and trusting that the Marine in front of you isn’t stepping into a pothole or small curb for you to so exquisitely roll your ankle on.

In other news, there’s some pretty big, awesome things coming in the very near future along with The White Donkey. I can’t tell you what the next big thing is yet, but I’m just going to leave this HESCO barrier here…

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Yesterday I happened across the BBC story regarding “Cujo,” the robotic mule being tested with Marines in Hawaii. The project reportedly cost about $2 million to develop the mule that can carry up to 400 lbs. I mean, it’s actually really fucking rad, as it’s own thing, because it’s a robot and robots are rad as fuck. But I mean… sure, a real donkey probably can’t carry 400 lbs, but it could probably carry about 200. You buy two donkeys at like $100 each or whatever donkeys go for, and you use them to carry your shit.

I mean, sure, I might be biased because the donkey happens to be my spirit animal or something, but I’m just trying to figure this out.

The only logical conclusion I can come to is that the robot donkey is part of a larger cyborg alien invasion taking place. A race of advanced sentient super computers are slowly trying to assimilate us into their systems and turn us into living batteries for fuel ala The Matrix. It’s the only logical explanation, other than someone just saying they wanted to build a cybernetic donkey because it’s rad (it’s really rad). Since the military certainly wouldn’t invest a large amount of time or money into something just because it’s rad as shit, you can rest assured that this is our future:

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I, for one, welcome our new AI overlords. I just have one question…

Does it come in white?

Here’s a video:

Is there anything more ubiquitously military than baby wipes? A Marine Corps PX is probably the only place in the world you’ll see legions of 18-24 year old males buying aisles of baby wipes with literally no intention of using them on a baby. Baby wipes serve many practical applications for Marines. They make a great alternative to bathing while you’re stuck in the field; they do a wonderful job of cleaning the carbon out of your rifle’s chamber; and you can use them to comfortably wipe your ass (not a baby’s) in a port-a-shitter.

Really, the only thing Marines don’t use them for is cleaning babies.

If you’re ever sending a care package to Marines overseas, a safe bet to always include in the package is baby wipes. There’s a million ways and reasons to use them, it can never go wrong (as long as the package also has cookies, porn, and a Nintendo 3DS with Mario Kart).

In honor of this being strip #333, I want to give a shout out to my old battalion, 3rd Battalion 3rd Marines. “America’s Battalion” is where I grew up and where I owe all of my crazy experiences in garrison and both of my Iraq deployments. Hawaii was one of the best places I’ve ever had the luxury of living, and I really miss it daily. Who knows, maybe when my balls hang to my knees I’ll find myself retiring in a beach house in Lanikai.

Aloha, Hawaii Marines, soak it up while you’re there because it really doesn’t get any better than that.

If there’s one offense that is universally unforgivable amongst Staff NCO’s across the globe, it’s hands in pockets. I’m not sure why this is, but my own theory is that during the Staff selection process, they put small scorpions in the pockets of every promising Staff Sergeant to-be. They’re vehemently trained not to ever place their hands in their pockets, for if they do they face the wrath of the small, venomous arachnid. It is this grueling training process that leads them to lashing out at young Lance Corporals for the offending act at any mere sight of it. I often wonder if they’re worried more about breaking some vague and obscure Marine Corps Order, or simply genuinely worried for your safety at the hands of the scorpion menace.

“No, don’t do it! There could be a scorpion in there!” is often the intent behind “EY MOTHERFUCKER GET UR FUCKIN’ HANDS OUTTA UR POCKET YA UNDERSTAND ME RAH WARFIGHTER.”

Okay I really don’t know where I’m going with this, but you haven’t been in the Marine Corps until you’ve been belligerently screamed at for something as simple as keeping your hands warm or even reaching for your cell phone. In some ways, I can actually appreciate the continued efforts of professionalism in the garrison environment and in front of the crowd. Of course Marines need to look their best, but when you’re in the infantry and you’re spending 4 days out of the week sleeping in a bivvy sack under the rain, where you place your hands becomes a non-issue in the practicality of the moment.

I actually went a couple of different ways with this comic, I originally had an entire conversation of Haiku poems, but it was a little weird and kind of starting to lose the point.

Anyway, I hope all of you had a good long weekend full of fireworks and alcohol. This is the greatest country in the world and I decided to take the day off on Friday in celebration of such a fact. Also, sometimes I just need a day or two. Also, if you haven’t checked out the new Terminal Lance store you should definitely do so. There’s some new swag to buy that we could never do with the old store, so to hell with Personal Financial Management MCI’s and spend that hard-earned dough on a new Terminal Lance T-shirt or something.

An admin note: with the recent story about The White Donkey I’ve been getting a lot of questions and emails, even concerns, especially from Kickstarter backers. If you were a backer and you haven’t received your stuff yet, please don’t message the Facebook page, messages get buried really quick. Please send an email to kickstarter@terminallance.com and we’ll get you squared away. Also be advised that The White Donkey is not finished yet, but you’ll be the first to know when it is.

This is a dick measuring contest.

I debated on whether or not to make this a POG/Infantry joke or turn it into a Marine Corps/Other Branches joke. I actually almost went the other way with it, but then I realized I wouldn’t have the opportunity to put the 1171 Waterdog on blast again if I did.

I want to be completely clear though: this strip is absolutely true. Joining the Marine Corps infantry will add 3 inches (minimum) to your penis. I mean it’s even been in the recruiting posters for quite a long time now. Don’t believe me? Ask any woman that lives within a three mile radius of an infantry Marine’s home town. They will confirm.

Want to know an easier way to add three inches to your penis without special creams or dangerous enlistments? Check out the new Terminal Lance Store! The store is officially back, selling not only new civvies to quench your thirst for the Lance Corporal in all of us, but we now carry OD Green SOFFE skivvy shirts! It’s the real stuff this time, so feel comfortable buying Terminal Lance gear on the shirts you know and love, just like you were issued.

Some people seem to be having trouble finding the Store, so I’ve created this handy guide. You can either click on the link above, or, check out the tabs at the top of the page (on a computer).

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If you’re on a phone or using a smaller browser window, you’ll see a little collapsable menu button like this:

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Tap it with those grotesque meat skewers you call thumbs and find the “STORE” tab:

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Click on the tab to be taken to the fucking awesome new store!

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For the first time, you’ll also be able to find Terminal Lance books on the store. I’m sure many of you saw the story about The White Donkey that the Marine Times put up this weekend, but unfortunately it is not available for purchase or preorder at this time. Now that we have this brand-spankin’ new store system in place, however, it’ll make everything a lot easier to manage. While you can’t purchase The White Donkey yet, you can purchase the KNIFE-HANDS compilation book as well as HEAD CALL for Kindle. No more Cafepress, which means we’ve got the freedom to do basically anything we want. I’m really excited and can’t wait to put all kinds of new stuff up here for you guys to grab.

Check it out!

I can only imagine the horrors that lay in the dark recesses of a Staff NCO’s subconscious. Marines dilly-daddling with their hands in their pockets, walking and talking on their cell phones, yoo-hoos wearing sunglasses without matte-black frames, devil dogs sporting sideburns and not tucking their shirts in on the weekend, nasties with white socks on a combat patrol…

…And perhaps even…

Un-policed moostache hairs?

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These are the things that keep these people up at night.

Make fun of it as I will (and I will), sometimes I feel like it’s all part of the natural order of things. Without Staff NCO’s inevitably policing the smallest of stupid bullshit, Lance Corporals would have nothing to bitch about. Without anything to bitch about, there’s no common enemy, and without a common enemy, camaraderie falls apart. Unit cohesion vanishes and the Marine Corps ceases to exist. What is the Marine Corps without bullshit? What is bullshit without a Staff NCO to yell at you for no reason or for breaking a rule you didn’t even know existed?

This is the law of the land, as the Lord hath intended it.

Much like the lion and the gazelle, we all must take our place in the Circle of Life.

I actually did two versions of this strip. I spent time drawing both of them, so I may as well put both of them up. You can view the alternate version here.

I feel like I don’t really talk enough about the creative process involved in making Terminal Lance. As an artist, most people assume that the comic strip is all about drawing it. It is and it isn’t. I would recommend being a decent artist before doing any kind of visual art endeavor; however, drawing the strip is about 10% of what I do here. Well, I mean, it eats up more time than that, but the other 90% is really all about thinking and writing. The drawing itself is really just the visual expression of the idea, the idea is the more important part really.

With that said, I have literally spent hundreds (if not thousands) of hours throughout my life just drawing. I’ve been doing it my whole life. When I was in elementary school, I was always the “kid that could draw.” In high school, I was the awkward artist kid that sat in the cafeteria hunkered over a sketchbook with headphones on. I’ve filled more books and pages than I care to admit of nude drawings of men and women, all in an effort to improve my understanding of form and gesture.

Then again, maybe I just like drawing dicks.

Some busy times here at Terminal Lance between The White Donkey and other projects in the works (super top-secret for the time being). As such, I didn’t really have anything ready for today so I’m running a comic previously published in the Marine Corps Times print edition. For those of you not aware, Terminal Lance runs original strips every week in the Marine Corps Times paper (different from the ones published on the site).

Cutting scores are a dubious invention that I’ve never agreed with. If you didn’t know that, you must have been reading some other webcomic called “Terminal Lance” over the last few years. The thesis of my conflict is that you have a universal rank system throughout the Marine Corps, but completely un-universal requirements to attain the rank. This would be okay if the requirements weren’t so arbitrary and unrelated to anything you actually do. There’s no technical reason the cutting scores for 0351 are different than 0331, but it doesn’t stop an average weapons platoon from having Corporals in every section except Assault.

That’s not an exaggeration. There was a period of time when my entire section was Lance Corporals. We had a Lance Corporal section leader, Lance Corporal squad leaders, and Lance Corporal gunners and A-gunners. My experience is limited to the infantry, but I can tell you firsthand that it doesn’t work. I was a solid Lance Corporal myself… for over 3 years. Good Conduct Medal, First Class PFT and Expert rifle scores, but locked out by an unforgiving cutting score specific to 0351′s.

Probably the worst solution to my problem that I’ve heard repeatedly is you should have just gotten meritoriously promoted. That’s not really the point, or a solution, as it doesn’t fix the shitty system ultimately at fault here. Of course, I’m not suggesting that my friends in Mortars and Machineguns didn’t deserve the coveted NCO rank, I’m suggesting that some of us in Assault did too.

The other failed argument I hear is “you don’t deserve to be an NCO just because you want to be.” Shut up. Stop pretending like NCO is a rank given to anyone based on anything more than just a cutting score. Fucknut O’Hoolihan in admin picks up with an 1100, his rank will still apply to the entire Marine Corps.

He is a Corporal of Marineswhether he deserves to be or not.

The age old battle between POG’s and grunts continues on Terminal Lance!

Okay, honestly this strip isn’t really about that, it’s more about just owning up to what you are. After being out for a while and meeting a lot more Marines in different fields, the one thing I can say with absolute certainty is that no one really cares what your MOS is or was. More importantly, whatever it is, you should just own it like it’s the coolest shit in the world.

“Oh you’re a cook?”

Fuck yeah I’m a cook, and it’s fucking awesome. I’ll cook you the best, shittiest military food you’ll ever have.”

This came up in a conversation I had with a Marine yesterday, another infantry Marine. Although the rivalry and shit talking is fun, at the end of the day it really makes no difference what stupid job you had in the Corps, as long as you’re honest about it. Didn’t deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan? Okay, it’s a little weird since we’ve been at war for like 11 years now, but own the fuck out of that. Don’t bullshit me about how you were going to go infantry but couldn’t, or whatever stupid thing you try to say to feel less guilty. If you were really going to go infantry, you would have. I didn’t even know what an ASVAB was, scored a 92, and proceeded to go open contract 0300 infantry (where I later became an 0351 at SOI). The idea that grunts were too stupid to become POG’s is lost on me, because it implies that any of them wanted it any other way to begin with. For me personally, I wouldn’t have enlisted at all if I couldn’t do infantry.

Different strokes for different folks is completely true, and that’s perfectly okay, but spare the bullshit story about how you were going to go Special Forces Recon Infantry Scout Sniper MARSOC Badass but were so smart the Marine Corps forced you to go office admin.

On a lighter note, I want to extend a warm congratulations to Kyle Carpenter for being officially awarded the Medal of Honor yesterday. Truly a remarkable story from a remarkable man, and ten times the badass I will ever be.

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Okay but let’s be realistic here, if each hooker even weighs only 100 lbs that’s actually going to hurt like hell.

Have you ever noticed that superheroes and heroic military movie characters are always higher ranking? Captain America, for example, displays his pride for the American cause prominently and is constantly brimming with the kind of motivation typically only found in poolees and fresh boots (and I’m not referring to Danners). The lead character of the new Godzilla film is a Lieutenant (a super disappointing film, but a fact that has nothing to do with his rank).

You really couldn’t have a Lance Corporal in the good Captain’s shoes, it just wouldn’t be the same. Lance Corporal America would spend half the movie avoiding working parties, drawing dicks on the bathroom wall, and debating about whether or not Captain America could kick Wolverine’s ass with other Lance Corporals (Captain America would win); while the other half of the film would mostly just be him complaining about having to do whatever it is he has to do.

I pride myself on my Lance Corporal status–some would even say Terminally–but let’s be realistic here: this comic wouldn’t exist if I didn’t love to bitch about things. I know I picked up Corporal in the IRR, I refuse to accept it until I get pinned.

Anyway, I’m surprised it took me this long to put Captain America in a strip, he’s been my favorite superhero for as long as I can remember. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the most recent cinematic offering, The Winter Soldier. To be honest, I sometimes feel like the only person that didn’t love the first Captain America movie a few years back. It was okay, but a WWII movie without a single swastika? And laser weapons? Come on. It was already on thin ice being directed by the same guy that did Jurassic Park III, those notes and a montage scene didn’t help its case for me.