TL Comics

Terminal Lance #343 “Anatomy of a Veteran”


More specifically, this the anatomy of the “Post 9/11 Veteran.” You can also refer to this look as “The Operator.” Before a bunch of angry veterans with similar fashion choices start becoming upset, know that this is an observation made from my own experience. I am no different, as I also rocked the baseball cap, Oakleys, t-shirt and cargo pants. The only thing I was missing was a beard, but that was more a circumstance of unfortunate genetics than anything else.


Myself about 2 months after my EAS date.

I’ll try to explain this item by item.

  • Baseball cap
    • Marines are used to wearing hats. Well, covers, as they’re known to us. It’s embedded into you during bootcamp with the passion of a thousand angry baboons that you should not ever walk outside without a hat on. The concept of someone screaming at you angrily because your head isn’t covered is strange, I know, but all of us have been there. As a result, adapting to life without a hat takes time.
  • Oakley Sunglasses
    • Oakleys are a big deal in the military. A good pair of Oakleys are exponentially better than the shit ESS glasses you get issued at CIF, and you can wear them in civilian attire without looking like a complete tool. They last a long time and most veterans simply have a pair of Oakleys from their time in, why replace good sunglasses when you don’t have to?
  • Beard
    • After years of repression and Recon envy, most Marines stop shaving the moment the clock strikes midnight on their EAS date. I can probably count the number of times on one hand I’ve actually taken a razor to my face since I got out of the Marine Corps. Of course, I don’t grow a full beard (I blame my father), but I don’t clean shave either.
  • T-Shirt
    • Who doesn’t wear t-shirts? Specifically though, this is a neutral color to go with your hat and/or cargo pants, which are most likely khaki or brown. Odds are you have a ton of old skivvy shirts laying around, and they’re a shirt like any other, only they have the sentimental value of having been on your back during arduous times like deploying overseas or having to Chinese field day. The T-shirt may or may not have the words “America,” “fuck,” “infidel,” or all of the above on it.
  • Non-military Cargo pants
    • Adapting to life without cargo pants is as difficult as adapting to life without a hat. Where do you put all of that random shit you carry around? Where will you put your hat when you walk inside? Eventually you’ll get used to living with just a cell phone, keys and wallet like a normal person, but for the first few months you’ll insist you need the extra pockets because you never know.
  • Extra few pounds
    • Lets face it, you’re gonna get out of shape eventually. You thought that those light morning PT sessions weren’t doing anything, but they were actually keeping your fat ass in check while you binge drank and ate pizza every night in the barracks. I’m a skinny guy naturally, so I actually have the reverse problem where I start to lose mass if I don’t work out to retain it.

As for the lack of fucks, well, what do you expect when you put a guy whose had more life experience in four years than many people have in their entire lives into normal life. You get used to it eventually, and the fucks will start slowly coming back, but it takes time.


Infantry Marine turned Combat Artist turned animator turned bestselling author turned dad.

Terminal Lance “Like a Dog” (Marine Corps Times)

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