Bad news for those of you trying to get out of work this week to play The Phantom Pain… BAS possesses the ultimate cheat code: they can write themselves an SIQ chit.

If you’ve been with me this long, you probably already know that I’m a huge Metal Gear Solid fan. I mean, there’s video games, and then there’s Metal Gear fucking Solid. Today is the release of the 5th official entry in the series, The Phantom Pain. Perhaps what pains me the most at the moment is that I don’t think I’ll have time to actually play it right now.

Last week I announced the release date of The White Donkey, and there’s still a whole lot of work to do if that’s going to happen. So much so, I’m definitely not going to have the time I want to pour into Kojima’s newest masterpiece. It sucks, but hey, it’ll still be there in a few months. I was hoping to do a comprehensive review of the game for Terminal Lance, but I might just have to sideline it for the time being.

But simply put, Metal Gear Solid has been a huge part of my life since the first game came out back in 1998 on PlayStation. Not only has the series’ art director Yoji Shinkawa been my biggest artistic influence throughout my life, but Kojima’s writing and directing have impacted my own work just as well. If you’re familiar with the series, you’ll probably notice nuances of Metal Gear Solid throughout even something like The White Donkey–from the vague but curiously blunt title to the surrealist elements throughout–it’s no secret that I’m a huge Metal Gear Solid fan.

I want to remind folks that I read all of your messages and emails, even if I don’t respond. As for the book specifically, to answer the most common question: Yes, it will be available to purchase online if you did not back the Kickstarter. For backers reading this, please just hang tight for a bit and I will update you guys specifically on what happens next.

If I’ve been quiet lately, it’s simply because I’ve been doubling my workload trying to meet my goal for release. I’m still alive and well. I’ve stayed quiet about the book because, honestly, it stresses me out to talk about it. It’s the kind of thing that has taken so long, gone so much longer than I wanted, and drained me physically and emotionally that I am going to be admittedly happy to be done with it. I have a lot of plans, and this book wasn’t supposed to take this long.

If you picked up The Phantom Pain today, please don’t send me any spoilers, or I will phantom pain you in the balls with my foot.

If you’re reading this and you don’t play video games and you’re going to post some stupid comment like “man TL totally going downhill no one cares about Metal Gear TL sucks now omg,” I implore you to go fuck yourself. I think the first time I ever read a “TL used to be good, going downhill, etc” comment was back in 2010. Yeah, good call, random internet douche.

Here’s a badass trailer.

 

If the military is known for anything, it’s the plethora of uniforms you’ll find yourself stumbling into upon joining and being totally badass.

We’ve all seen the ubiquitous Dress Blue uniform or the standard issue cammies, Service A, B, and C uniforms. However, stay in long enough and you’ll encounter a whole other world of weird and somewhat fantastical, even flamboyant outfits.

Staff and Officers are allowed the “Evening Dress” uniform, which is only to be worn during formal events such as the Marine Corps Birthday Ball, etc.

USMC_Evening_Dress_(Officers)

The average Lance Corporal will never come anywhere near either owning or wanting to own any of this stuff, but it exists.

Perhaps one of the more strange items, in my opinion, is the Range Coach hat. Silly hats are nothing new to the military, but this particular one was always odd to me. Like some vestigial remnant of a time long past, when safari’s were apparently an every day activity.

081021-M-2708O-0033jpg COACH.002 MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif., – Cpl. Josh Farrell, a combat marksmanship coach with the Carlos Hathcock Range Complex at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, observes shooters to make sure they are using the fundamentals of combat marksmanship and following the proper safety procedures at the range, October 21. Marine coaches help Marines qualify with both the M-16-A2 rifle and M-9 pistol.   (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher O'Quin) (Released)

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher O’Quin)

Of course, there’s a rich history behind all of these strange things, but most people will never learn it. If you ever do stumble upon the Department of Unusual and Obscure Uniform Items, be sure to pick up some swim instructor shorts, or perhaps that weird bomber jacket that only recruiters wear.

Starting now and lasting at least the next two months, my updates might be a bit spotty. To explain why, I will leave you with this…

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More details in the near future, but I will say that it’s going to be a busy couple of months.

 

He must be fighting Ebrietas, Daughter of the Cosmos (took me like 40 tries).

I feel like war movies and stories always talk about “the war.” There’s always some grand battle or conflict that most of the screen time is devoted to, but realistically Marines are only at war for about 1/4 of an enlistment (if at all). I spent 4 years in the Marine Corps as an infantryman, and only 1 year of that was spent in Iraq.

The rest? Well when we weren’t in the field, we were in the barracks, and crazy shit was happening pretty much all of the time.

In boot camp, you spend the first few nights trying to sleep through Drill Instructors screaming at recruits for hours into the morning. They say this is to prepare you for war, but really it’s to prepare you to be able to ignore drunk Marines pounding on your door at 1:30am for no apparent reason. You learn to phase it out and ignore it, able to carry on your relatively normal night without blinking an eye at the insanity going on on the catwalk behind you.

Then there’s always that one douchebag that listens to his music super loud and leaves his barracks door open, because apparently everyone needs to hear his shitty taste in music.

No one cares, drunk music guy. Close your fucking door.

Basically any uniform that isn’t your cammies is a pain in the ass to wear or put on. Even more so, it can quite literally be a pain in your ass to try and take a shit wearing shirt stays and corframs.

There’s a ritualistic process that must be observed when trying to make dookie on duty. You can’t just pull the pants down around your ankles like you normally would, because that might wrinkle them. If it’s anything like you were taught in boot camp, this probably leads you to standing on the toilet seat while awkardly dancing your shoed feet through your olive drab service uniform trousers.

Then, you carefully remove your swass-laden undergarments through your shirt stays (unless you unclip them, which you won’t do, because you’re lazy and they’re a pain in the ass). And so you sit there, with pants completely removed, shoes still on with socks and shirt stays fastened tight. This is of course assuming you haven’t already shit yourself in the time it took you to carefully remove your pants so that you can even sit on the toilet (or head).

It’s not easy, but it must be done. However, you’re most likely better off just waiting until your relief gets there, unless you have to immediately report to the armory to attend a 3 day field op, which is always a possibility. Fuck my life.

For your weekend liberty brief, I’m going to hand it over to your Platoon Sergeant, good to go?

On a random note, I want to give a shout out to the *Airman, National Guardsman and civilian that stopped an armed gunman on a high speed train to Paris. You guys are the real MVP this week.

*Correction

Before I get an influx of angry emails from butthurt reservists, you should know that literally every Active Duty Marine hates you by default.

The Reserves is like the Marine Corps Lite. Of course, they deploy and have done great things in combat and abroad, no one is arguing that. But at the end of the day, they get to go home. Not just home, but like… home. They check in once a month and do a two week thing once a year unless otherwise needed. They don’t live in the barracks every day, they don’t get woken up at 4am to police call the parking lot.

I recall the School of Infantry. Marines that I had known since boot camp were in my class, but at the end of our MOS training (0351), they got to go home. All I can remember thinking to myself was…

What the fuck? I didn’t even know that was an option.

While they went home to go fuck their girlfriends (and probably ours), the rest of our sorry asses got sent to our Active Duty units to be hazed and treated like the lowest form of sentient entity on the planet (boots).

It’s the Marine Corps Lite because, in my humble opinion, it’s not the full experience. It’s one thing to step in bullshit, it’s another to build your entire house out of it and live there for 4 years.

On a separate note, I want to thank everyone that came out to listen to me ramble yesterday in Concord! I had a lot of fun meeting everyone and even writing this comic strip! (I ended up changing the first panel, I had to redraw the entire thing anyway)

This isn’t the first time the Ghost of Chesty Puller has been up to his shenanigans, he likes to pop up here and there and remind Marines the true meaning of the Marine Corps. He’s like a Christmas spirit, but with more swearing and womanizing.

I’m sure most of you saw from either my post yesterday or from We Are The Mighty’s story directly about how you can purchase the home of the legendary Marine General. I can only imagine the strange sounds and creaks in the night you would hear with a home potentially haunted by the Ghost of Chesty Puller. You might find that strange things start to happen. Hats flying off your head, ectoplasm on the shower curtains, gear going missing (he’s just trying to get his shit back, really); there’s no end to the oddities that occur in this residence.

On an admin note, I’ve already received numerous GoFundMe’s for people trying to raise money to buy the house for various purposes. I have a blanket policy against sharing GoFundMe’s and the like on Terminal Lance simply because I get so many of them. However, I applaud your efforts and I look forward to seeing what happens with it.

On another admin note, keep letting me know and sending me details about mobile redirects. It helps us track down the problem so that we can put a stop to it! It doesn’t seem to be affecting the majority of readers, so it’s hard to pinpoint the issue.

On yet ANOTHER admin note, I will be making an appearance at VetCon in Concord, CA this Monday! If you’re in the bay area stop by and listen to me talk for an hour! Click here for info.

Lastly, I want to just wish the family of Cpl. Alexis Aaron Alcaraz my condolences.

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Rest in peace, Marine.

You have 1,460 days from the day you step on those yellow footprints until you get to return to your normal life. Well, legally and presuming you don’t fuck yourself somewhere along the way.

It seemed like since the day I entered the Corps I was playing an arduous game of numbers. Everything was a countdown to something.

You arrive at MCRD San Diego (or Paris Island if you have a vagina), you have 12 weeks (84 days) until you get to go home on boot leave. You keep a makeshift, hand-drawn calendar in your notebook and you mark every single day.

You graduate recruit training and go home, you have 9 days of boot leave before you have to return for SOI (School of Infantry). You count the days because you like to eat real food and have sex. You get to SOI and you think you’re about to start counting the 2 months of MOS training, but instead you get thrown into Guard platoon for 2 weeks. These 2 weeks seem like they take forever, but it might just be because you’re counting them by the hour.

When you finally finish your 60 days at SOI, you get to the fleet. You’re told you’re going on a combat deployment in 6 months.

You start counting those days.

The day comes, you’ve arrived in Iraq (or wherever) and the clock resets: 7 months this time.

You manage to come home without losing any pieces (gratefully) and you’re told the battalion will be making a return in 6 months to a year. You start counting again.

You’re back in Iraq, the clock is reset again to 7 months.

You come home, you have 6 months left until your EAS date.

…You start counting.

The entire experience is a game of counting down and a game of numbers. Waiting for the next thing to happen, but the one beacon of hope at the end of the tunnel remains the same… That day you drive out the front gate with your DD-214 in hand, ready to resume the life you left 1,460 days ago.

On an admin note, I know we’re still dealing with redirects. Unfortunately this is an issue outside of my control unless I simply take all of the ads down. We’re trying to track it down and stomp it out, it’s the fault of malicious advertisers trying to sneak code into otherwise good sites. I apologize for the inconvenience.

It’s hard to BS at BAS.

Corpsmen are awesome. They’re the only people in the Navy that Marines love unconditionally. If Staff Sergeant is the platoon’s abusive alcoholic father, the Corpsman is like the sheltered mother. She’s also abused, but she looks after you during the quiet times and makes sure you eat your Motrin. I realize this is an awful metaphor.

Snagging an SIQ (Sick in Quarters) chit, however, is like mining for blood diamonds in Africa. As well, I don’t recommend putting dollar bills in your mouth, you never know where they’ve been or whose hands have been on them much like the women of Jacksonville. This technique is the same as slipping a dollar bill in your chamber when turning your weapon into the armory early. More Marines would probably do it, if they had any money left from episodes of gratuitous drinking over the weekend.

Anyway, show Doc some love. He puts up with your dumb ass and gives you drugs, what more do you want from someone?

This comic was previously published in the Marine Corps Times newspaper, so if you’ve seen it before, you’re not having a hallucinogenic experience from all the ibuprofen that Doc gave you. Long week.

For your weekend liberty brief, I’m going to give you some medical advice:

If you picked her up in Jacksonville or Oceanside, double wrap it just to be safe.

Honestly, I don’t know why anyone ever comes to me for advice.

As many people exit the Marine Corps, the memories that weren’t so great get replaced with feelings of nostalgia and overall fondness for the experience. This happened to me for a while, as I would look back on my time in the Corps and reminisce about the fun me and my 18-22 year old friends had on our adventures in Hawaii and Iraq.

Let’s be realistic though, this comic is called Terminal Lance. I got out of the Marine Corps for a reason, and generally it was because it just wasn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate it (obviously), but I think I made the right choice.

I often get emails from people all over the country (and world), and sometimes they are from bright-eyed poolees looking to enlist. They want to know everything they can from me before they embark on their journey. Realistically though, I’m a bad person to ask. I was a bitter and disgruntled infantryman for the most part. I have since come to value my experiences at home and abroad, but believe me, I immediately regretted it the moment a short, sweaty man wearing a funny hat started screaming at me for no apparent reason.

A more interesting message sent to me, I would argue, was a recently separated Marine not quite feeling the glory of the First Civ Div. He was regretting his EAS, he missed his Marine friends and found that the civilian world wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. A lot of my friends experienced the same thing (myself too, to an extent). I tried, as best I could, to remind him that he got out for a reason. Go with your gut. If you got out of the Corps because you didn’t like it, and find yourself intensely missing it, you might just need to remember that you actually didn’t like it.

You just miss what it was in your head: a crazy adventure with some of the best friends you’ll ever have.

In other news, Gina over at Pin-Ups for Vets recently invited me out to be featured in her 2016 calendar. I reluctantly accepted, as I’m pretty sure she would have slit my throat in my sleep otherwise. Here’s a sneak peak, and head over to her site to preorder it for an eyeful of beautiful women and some shlub she let sit next to her for a bit.

APRIL

The field day finger isn’t usually the middle finger, but it sure feels like a fuck you.

Anyone who’s ever had to field day knows what this is (e.g.: literally every Marine, ever). This finger is the difference between packing it up and changing into civvies for the night’s shenanigans, or busting out the Windex again to wipe down every surface in existence. Staff NCO’s have a rather sorcerous ability to find dirt and grime in places you didn’t even know existed in your tiny room. You’d think cleaning a 10×10 room with three people would be a fairly quick event, but Field Day is a momentous weekly occasion that brings dread and sorrow to all those involved.

Of course, Field Day in the Marine Corps doesn’t mean the same thing it does in the civilian world. Like many otherwise normal and already-named things, it has its own silly Marine Corps idiomatic assignment. It simply means to clean the shit out of your room. Generally, Field Day is every Thursday, so that everyone can leave on Friday with minimal fuck-fucking. Of course, that rarely happens, you’ll probably still be on standby for no apparent reason until 1900 on Friday.

For your weekend liberty brief, I’m going to turn it over to your First Sergeant. First Sergeants reading this, please text everyone in your company a simple “I love you.” Screenshot it and send it my way for the lulz. You might even win a prize.