Easily the biggest fear of any aspiring Marine (also called a Recruit) is getting dropped to MRP during boot camp. Medical Recovery Platoon is where you go when you’re just too ill to train, but are expected to recover at some point so you can finish the trials at hand.

Speaking purely as an observer, I can’t imagine a more miserable place. Tales of attempted suicide and misery permeate the Depot from the deepest bowels of MRP. Boot camp is already miserable enough as a regular, healthy recruit. The constant berating, screaming, games and physical arduousness are something I would never want to do again, but I was fortunate enough to only have to do that for three months. I stress the term fortunate here, because I was actually almost dropped to MRP myself during my stay at MCRD.

I, like most recruits, came down with the “crud” as they call it. I had a pretty bad case of pneumonia right before we were supposed to go up north to Camp Pendleton. The Navy doctor told me I would have to be dropped to MRP, as I was simply too ill to go up north. Horror struck over me at this realization, I’d have to be here for another two weeks?! (2 weeks is how long it would take until I could pick up with Alpha company) Two weeks might not sound like a lot on the outset, but two weeks in boot camp is like 3 years in civilian time dragging your genitals through Frank’s Red Hot I put that shit on everything. Luckily, like the hand of God himself, my company commander called medical moments after gave me the news. He spoke with the doctor and convinced him to let me go up north with my platoon. I was ecstatic. Well, I mean, as ecstatic as one can be with a fever 0f 103 and lungs full of shit.

I was told that my company had already lost too many recruits and could not afford to lose any more, under any circumstances, so they hopped me up on Motrin and penicillin and sent me off. I was fine after a few days of course, but it was a close call and I would rather tough it out with a high grade fever for a few days than spend another minute longer on the Depot than I had to. I might be the exception here, but I remember on graduation day, many of the recruits stayed behind to take photos with the drill instructors and show their parents around. I sought no such thing.

The moment we were dismissed I found my mother in the crowd and the first words out of my mouth were, “Did you bring my clothes? Good, let me go change so we can get the fuck out of here.”

Why has no one done this yet? It would certainly be a welcome addition amongst the thousand barber shops and military surplus stores along the Oceanside strip. Then again, basically anything would be a welcome addition to Oceanside that isn’t a stripper looking for a Marine to marry for money or a boot wearing mom jeans and a digital camo backpack.

I tend to bias toward Oceanside and San Diego when I do these kinds of strips because I have never been to Camp Lejeune. From what I understand, Jacksonville is the equivalent to San Clemente and Oceanside, but without a nice California beach and with more pregnant meth addicts (more being the keyword here). These small towns outside of the large bases form naturally as a result of people kind of just… ending up there due to their enlistment. As most of you know, I was stationed in Hawaii with 3/3, and it pleases me to mention that MCBH doesn’t really have this phenomenon. Unless they’re already from the island, most people generally don’t stay in Hawaii once their commitment is over. I’m not sure why, I actually really miss it sometimes; but I can say with confidence that Kailua (the town immediately outside of MCBH Kaneohe Bay) is nothing like what you find around Camp Pendleton or Camp Lejeune.

My experience with Camp Pendleton is mostly from my days at SOI. I recall with little fondness taking the Sea Breeze boot bus out to Oceanside to spend the day getting a haircut and browsing surplus stores. It’s not hard to find a place that gives haircuts, or a place that gives tattoos, or a place that sells Oakleys… But if you combined them all into one, you would be king.

Please don’t get me wrong, as usual, this is much more of an observation than a call to arms. Abe (and myself) is simply too apathetic to really, genuinely want to get involved in something if we don’t have to.

It is a weird feeling though, every time I turn the news on there’s some war breaking out on the other side of the planet. I mean, I suppose it’s nothing new, the Middle East is always full of fuck and Russia has simply run out of fucks to give. With the war in Afghanistan winding down and with the US showing no genuine interest to get involved anywhere at the moment, things just feel… quiet. Tensions are rising on the opposite end of the earth, but for Marines in their daily lives (infantry at least), it’s time to stand by in the barracks.

Being a grunt in peacetime or in between deployments means a life either in the field, at the armory cleaning your weapon, or in the barracks catching up on your favorite shows or video games. I spent more time on “stand by” in the barracks than I care to admit.

What are we standing by for?

The word, of course.

Anyway, late update today, SgtMaj Kent and Paul Szoldra kept me out too late in San Francisco last night with their shenanigans. I was definitely the lowest ranking person there. If you’re in San Francisco, and a Marine, definitely check out the Marine’s Memorial Club & Hotel downtown, the top floor restaurant/bar is awesome and the “Leatherneck” beer actually isn’t too bad.

David Brooks, SgtMaj Kent, SgtMaj Grizzle, Paul Szoldra, myself

David Brooks, SgtMaj Kent, SgtMaj Grizzle, Paul Szoldra, myself

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?

sixta

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.