Thank baby Jesus, maybe this will finally put a stop to those wild fires.
This week is Fleet Week in San Francisco, which I note because I currently live in the bay area. Around this time of year is when I hear from all of my female friends that they’ve been seeing so many Marines and Sailors walking around town in their “cute uniforms.”
Hearts are broken, unwanted babies are conceived, and the city is left in shambles as ice cream sales skyrocket after they leave. It’s usually a pretty good time.
The best part about fleet week (aside from the gratuitous sex) is definitely the air shows. After all, who doesn’t love seeing jets fly around doing a bunch of cool shit? Even those staunchly opposed to gratuitous military spending can’t conceal their erection when an $80 million F/A-18 flies by with Highway to the Dangerzone playing in the background.
I have been blessed with good fortune this weekend, as I get to see the show up close and personally. Look to the official Terminal Lance Facebook page for those photos this weekend! You can also follow me on Twitter for the inside scoop and even my brand new official Terminal Lance instagram! (My personal Instagram is still here)
Family Fun Day is always such a sausage fest in an infantry unit.
That might soon change, as all the buzz lately has been on the prospect of females in the infantry. I’ve already more or less stated my views on it in the past, but I will say that all of the data shows that the average female will probably not be a good fit for the infantry environment.
With it being forced upon the Corps from higher, they have instead decided to simply introduce a set of gender-neutral standards that all combat-arms MOS’s (even those outside of the 03 field) will have to pass before being allowed in. Simply put, the average female will probably not be be able to join the infantry. With that said, there’s always the opportunity for the extremely non-average female to excel.
Male Marines may soon face an uncomfortable confrontation with their own masculinity.
In other news, I’m sure some of you are like why is Max posting comics from the Marine Times? Why is Max not entertaining me with new, new comics? Has he run out of ideas? Is he dead?
No, you silly fuck, I’m working on my book. Give me a couple more weeks of this and things will go back to normal, I promise. I know some of you Kickstarter backers are getting ancy about updating your addresses and stuff. I’ll be posting a video update when I send this thing off to print that will detail everything you need to know!
Camouflage is obviously a staple of the whole military thing.
I’m sure, at this moment, DARPA or some such is hard at work on the next pattern for Marines to field into the future. To the Corps’ credit, at least we don’t have a new cammie pattern every few years like the Armysome other branches. The current pattern, MARPAT, has been in good service since 2004, which was before I ever enlisted. Old salts will tell you the terror of black boots and starching their tricolor woodlands, but that’s beyond my scope of care or comprehension.
All I know is that the digital desert and woodland pattern was all I ever wore. It is as if fighting a war in a video game or some such, which is equal parts totally rad and kind of weird. With the exception of the Army’s newest new pattern, the entire United States military has been infatuated with the digital look for the last 10 years or so. Honestly–and I may be biased–the Marine Corps’ own MARPAT is the only one that actually still looks good and is relatively functional.
Still, this new SKATEPAT I think will take the cake–being not only stylish, but functionally Lance Corporal tested and approved.
Sergeants in the fleet are a rare and elusive animal. It’s interesting because during your upbringing in the Marine Corps, Sergeants are the one rank you see the most. This is because the B-billets of recruiting, Drill Instructor and School of Infantry instructor are stocked with E-5’s by nature.
Once you get to the fleet, however, you’d be hard pressed to find a single one. My company had more Staff Sergeant’s than actual fleet Sergeants. Of course, this isn’t how it’s supposed to be, but in practice that’s generally how it is. In a perfect world, you’d have 3 Sergeants per platoon in a traditional line company, filling the Squad Leader positions. This never actually happens, and instead you have maybe one or two Corporals, no Sergeants, and a few hard charging Lance Corporal Squad Leaders.
It was so rare to actually have a Sergeant in a line company that often it wasn’t even sure what to do with them. Make them Squad Leaders? Well if Lance Corporals can do that job, it’s kind of beneath them, so they have this awkward platoon guide position as a relay between the Platoon Sergeant and the rest of the Marines.
This is really unfortunate, because as a general thing, all of the Sergeant’s I worked with in the fleet were really awesome guys. They’re still relatively down to earth, but high enough to not take shit from anyone.
If you’re reading this and you’re in the Army, I’m referring specifically to the rank of E-5 Sergeant. For some reason you hooahs call all of your E-5’s and above “Sarn’t,” instead of designating the individual ranks (Staff Sergeant, Gunnery Sergeant, etc).
So here’s to you, Sergeants of the Marine Corps. There’s just not enough of you to go around.
In other news, The White Donkey is still on track for a December 5th release date. I have a deadline and it’s going well, I’m working around the clock day and night to meet it. And before you ask… Yes, there will be motherfucking pancakes.
If you’re not 15 minutes prior to the 15 minutes prior, you’re wrong.
Time in the Marine Corps doesn’t exist as it does in the regular world. Einstein and Stephen Hawking would be dumbfounded at the mental gymnastics required to extrapolate the chronological mind-fucking that takes place every day across the Corps. The fabric of time is less “fabric” and more like a few fucked up strings that kind of don’t weave in any particular order or reason.
Infamously, being Gunny-Timed is when you’re told to be somewhere, but it doesn’t actually mean what you think it means. If Gunny tells you to be there at 0800, you will be unforgivingly late if you show up anywhere in the vicinity of 0800. 15 minutes early isn’t just a courtesy, it’s a requirement. The common equation for figuring out when you have to be somewhere generally goes something like this:
T = (t-15)f
T = Time you actually have to be there.
t = Time you were told to be there.
f = Amount of fucking assholes the word gets passed through before it gets to you.
Have to be at the Armory at 0700? Well, it depends on who it came from, but there’s a good chance you’ll get a page 11 if you’re not there sitting on your pack by 0545. Why? I don’t know, I just know the equation.
You’d better have your weapons cards ready.
In other news, I apologize for the spotty updates lately, things will resume to normal in about a month. Until then, just bear with me and stay tuned! Don’t forget, brand new comic strips are published every week exclusively in the Marine Corps Times newspaper!
I apologize if I seem a little self-indulgent here, but today marks the 400th comic in the official Terminal Lance canon of strips!
Of course, on every100thstrip, I always get somewhat self-referential, and today is no different. It’s been a long journey, and it is worth looking back on and celebrating. Coincidentally, this strip is coming shortly after reaching over 400,000 fans on the official Facebook fan page.
For whatever Terminal Lance has or hasn’t accomplished over the years, I am always grateful for all of the fans that eagerly await my biweekly ramblings and doodles. What started off as a small, underground inside joke has organically grown to one of the single most-read military blogs in the world. I like to think that Terminal Lance has affected the culture in a positive way, giving a space for Marines to gather and laugh in common ground. At the end of the day, for whatever lasting messages I try to imbue my work with, Terminal Lance is and always has been about making people laugh. Even if you don’t agree with an overarching message, the joke itself should at least give you a giggle.
I’d like to just say thank you to everyone that has made this possible, from the Marines to the Marine Corps itself, as well as all of the civilian readers out there laughing along.
People always ask me, “how do you keep the strip going? Don’t you run out of jokes?”
The honest answer is that I have no fucking idea.
Realistically though, I’m not going to do Terminal Lance forever. However, right now? I’m not going anywhere. With this massive undertaking of a graphic novel wrapping up, I’ll finally be able to devote more of my time and attention to the webcomic itself. I’m actually looking forward to it, because I have a lot of things I still want to do.
Looking back, there’s a lot to be proud of. While this may be strip “400,” if you combine the unnumbered strips with the strips I do every week in the Marine Corps Times newspaper, there’s well over 700 total.
That’s a lot of drawing.
Anyway, keep reading, and I’ll keep making jokes. Keep sending me funny stuff via email or the Facebook fan page. You can also follow me and hit me up on Twitter! I read everything I get, even if I don’t respond.
Nearly every First Sergeant in every corner of the Corps will tell you the same thing during your weekend liberty brief.
“I have an open door policy, you can come talk to me about anything.”
Of course, no Lance Corporal in their right mind is going to just waltz into the First Sergeant’s office and start laying upon him the troubles of his mind. If at any point in your junior enlisted career you find yourself in your First Sergeant’s office, it probably means you’re on your hands and knees cleaning the floor or you’re being punished in some way. It’s usually never a good thing.
That’s not to say that First Sergeant is a bad guy, it’s just that Lance Corporals are wary of such invitations. The military has strict policies against fraternization for a reason, and First Sergeant is not your friend. Sure, he may be a nice guy, but when your primary mode of communication with someone is them chewing you out for something you didn’t even know was a rule, it makes you feel less likely to want to open up to them.
I apologize for the lack of comic strip on Friday, but I meant it when I said I was going to be working around the clock getting this book out the door. I don’t expect to have a day off for the next 2 months, and I’m fine with that, but I need you guys to be patient with me. Kickstarter backers, expect a video update within the next 2 weeks from yours truly.
Since I’m going to be indisposed, I would like to invite guest writers to email me. If you have some writing you’d like to be featured on Terminal Lance, let me read it and, if it’s good, you might get that chance! I’d prefer active duty Marines, but I’m open to anything good.
I think when this whole book thing is said and done I might do some restructuring of Terminal Lance. I have some big ideas and some things already in the works that I think you all will enjoy…
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.
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.
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.
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…
More details in the near future, but I will say that it’s going to be a busy couple of months.
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.