Terminal Lance “Fly Hard”

November 17, 2017

Making national news today was a hero of a Navy pilot that decided to grace ground-dwellers with a beautifully simple erect penis against the deep blue sky.

Penis drawings are a mainstay of the military across all branches. Dicks find their way into every facet of military life, from the bathroom walls to the people that yell at you for breaking rules you didn’t know existed. By god, even the women draw raging dicks on everything. It is one of the most basic, instinctual habits since the dawn of mankind, and it’s hilarious 100% of the time.

Of course, these pilots are in some deep water because the military loves to pretend it isn’t generally an adult daycare center for people with lots of guns and anger problems. I was interviewed earlier today for the Washington Post regarding this story, as I’ve apparently become one of the nation’s leading experts on dick drawing.

Now I’m just waiting for some Marines to up the ante on this, because the Navy is putting us to shame right now.

Speaking of dicks, I’ll be at Camp Pendleton TOMORROW! (Saturday, 11/17)

Find me at the new mainside PX by the front gate from 1100-1300. We should have copies of The White Donkey available for purchase there if you’re missing one. Come say hi!



Terminal Lance #498 “The Awakening”

November 14, 2017

No one ever wants to wake up in the field.

Your dreams will often lull you into sweet fantasies of being back home, out on the town, in bed with beautiful women, or really just anywhere but where you actually are. Waking up is the last thing you want to do, because really anywhere is better than here.

You hear the dreadful siren call of Reveille from the mouth of some boot you put on firewatch and you try to convince yourself–even just for a second–that it’s not real.

…But it is.

The rain starts to fall and you become aware of with the smell of the wilderness, the lingering odor of gunpowder from the rifle barrel next to your face, and 45 unwashed Marines filling your nostrils. You’re cold and all of it is shit.

Rise and shine.

You’ve got 15 minutes to piss and brush your teeth.

On a sidenote, I’ll be dropping by Camp Pendleton this weekend for a meet and greet and book signing. Stand by for the details!



Terminal Lance “The Day My Marine Corps Came Alive”

November 10, 2017

The Corps is steeped in a rich history of drunken men fighting people all around the world.

Were it not for that first alcoholic that raised his hand and said, “Yes, I will ride around in a boat and fight people I’ve never met,” we wouldn’t be here today celebrating the 242nd birthday of the prestigious United States Marine Corps.

We always hear the tale of the Marine Corps’ humble beginnings in Tun Tavern back on November 10th, 1775; but we never really get the details. I like to imagine it went down something like this, though I know the (then) British Navy uniforms are illustrated here without any regard to historical accuracy, but that’s because Google Image Search failed me when I attempted to figure it out.

On a sidenote, I’d like to thank the Marines from MALS-13 for letting me crash their birthday ball as the guest of honor last night. My wife and I had an amazing time and it was great getting to see all you drunk assholes having a blast in that hanger. Swinging with the wing for a night is quite a bit of fun.

Happy 242nd Birthday, Marines.



Terminal Lance #497 “Senior Lance Corporal”

November 3, 2017

One of the most coveted ranks of the Marine Corps is that of the “Senior Lance Corporal.”

This is when a Marine holds seniority in a platoon, but is generally perpetually stuck at the rank of Lance Corporal for at least the foreseeable future. This happens for a variety of reasons, but it’s mostly an infantry phenomenon that happens due to a weird, archaic and stupid cutting score based promotion system designed to benefit POG’s.

This happened to myself and most of my entire infantry company. In fact, we were in such a poor state of affairs at one point that we had basically no NCO’s in our entire company. Everyone but the Platoon Sergeants were Lance Corporals, it seemed. This is a sadly realistic scenario, and where the necessity of the “Senior Lance Corporal” comes in.

Someone has to be in charge.

It’s going to be the guy that’s been in for 3 years with two deployments, rather than the fresh-faced SOI drops with the beady eyes.

In other news, I’ll be in Yuma next week for the MALS-13 Marine Corps Ball and a book signing beforehand. If you’re around come say what’s up! I’ll sign anything you put in front of me.



Thank You For Your Service

November 1, 2017

In 2013, David Finkel released a nonfiction book about soldiers returning home from Iraq and the struggles they faced with PTSD, depression and adjusting back to civilian life. That bestselling book is now a movie, sharing the namesake, and adapted to film by writer/director Jason Hall. Jason previously wrote the screenplay for the Oscar-winning Clint Eastwood film American Sniper, about the “Legend” Chris Kyle. American Sniper was lauded by critics for its portrayal of Chris Kyle’s home life and his own struggles with PTSD after his Iraq deployments. Thank You For Your Service, then, is a fitting follow-up from the same screenwriter.

Films like this are tricky for veterans, as many will decry the portrayal of PTSD and the “damaged veteran” as a tired and dangerous trope, while simultaneously reminding you that 22 veterans  day commit suicide and to be more mindful of mental health issues surrounding the military experience. Thank You For Your Service does a great job of navigating this dichotomy by reminding us that this is the true story of its subjects. Adam Schumann, Tausolo Aeiti and Michael Emory were even involved personally with the production of the film and even attended the premiere.

“I reached out to all of them while writing the script and got varying levels of engagement from each. Adam was the most connected and Solo was the most challenging to communicate with. Upon principle I brought Adam down to be part of the Boot Camp.  He joined the SEALs who were training the guys and showed them the Army way. He also collaborated with all the department heads and made sure costumes, scenic design, and sets were all correct and looked in order.”

At the premiere’s Q&A segment, Tausolo Aeiti and Adam Schumann expressed greatly that the actors portraying them (Beulah Kaole and Miles Teller, respectively) in the film were closely involved with them during production in order to portray them authentically. This authenticity permeates every facet of the film, from set design to the smallest of things, like the markings on their sea bags when they return home from deployment. Every piece of this film feels real, refusing to indulge in the usual theatrics of war films and immersing you in its smallest moments.

“I did extensive amounts of research about these guys and what they were going through to get the emotional authenticity correct. That is the place where all of this builds from, the character and their emotional truth. You can have all the details right, but if you miss that— there is no story. But once I felt I understood that I moved on to finding an authentic visual way to present the story— this is a real account of these guys lives so I wanted to present a visual template that felt personal; an intimacy that made you forget you’re watching a movie. By the way we shot this film we are made to feel that we are living with these characters in their homes and in their heads and to capture the truth of that, I used pictures of their homes to duplicate what was on the walls and how things were laid out. And often times I was able to get the very same objects for set decoration. We used Adam’s uniform, his headboard, and other authentic pieces of set decor to bring a level of truth to what we were doing. We went as far as we could to make it all authentic on every set we could. For Iraq, set pieces we used photos Adam had, photos David Finkel had, and the resources of Magnum photographers Peter Van Agtmael and Moises Saman who captured hundreds of thousands of photos in Iraq. We duplicated the color of trash, graffiti and street signage and vignettes from photos (the graffiti on the wall at the beginning is actual graffiti from a wall of a urinal photographed by Peter van Agtmael and used with his express permission). Another good example of this is the pictures of real fallen heroes on the wall of the VA. It was noted early on that we wouldn’t be able to see the faces of these men in the shot so ‘why go to all the trouble of getting clearance to use real photos of the fallen’— but I pushed ahead and demanded it. On the day of shooting we filled that room with 200 veterans as extras, playing veterans waiting to get seen at the VA; and it turned out that several of them recognized faces of their fallen brothers on the wall.  The memories of those men resonated through them as our camera captured their faces. It brought an additional level of emotion and authenticity to the scene, and added depth of that moment in the film. That’s why you chase down the truth— it adds dimension and weight to the work.”

One of the most effective scenes that illustrate the veteran experience is when the two soldiers find themselves at the VA, applying for service connected disability. They are miserable, embarrassed, and forced to wait in a typical waiting room filled with disabled veterans. Real veterans.

“We used real soldiers to sit there and they know what it’s like. And their faces tell the stories. We had them sitting there all day. The only difference between us and the VA is that we paid everyone and fed them! The unintended benefit from that day was that the guys all became friends and exchanged numbers, and now they go fishing.”

It is Jason Hall’s insistence and refusal to glamorize the war experience that makes Thank You For Your Service such an effective film, not concerning itself so much with what happened in Iraq as much as how it affected the lives of those involved. The spouses and families of these soldiers are as much a part of this story as they are to service members in real life, giving us a more intimate and subtle glimpse into the effects of war on the homefront.

“I hope this movie brings greater understanding to the challenges some veterans face returning home from active duty and creates a dialogue that allows us to find a better way to welcome you all home.”

Thank You For Your Service is in theaters everywhere right now. You can listen to an extended interview with Jason Hall as a guest on After Action, talking with Terminal Lance creator Maximilian Uriarte and Duffelblog creator Paul Szoldra here.



Terminal Lance “Halloween 2017”

October 31, 2017

Too spooky for me.

Is it weird that as I get older I become more and more sympathetic to the plight of the Staff Sergeant? Of course, Terminal Lance will always center around the beautiful species known as the Lance Corporal of Marines, but the few guys I know from my unit that stayed in are now Staff NCO’s themselves. I see them from a distance, aging unnaturally and silently cursing the events that have led them to these moments.

Okay, not really, but still.

Anyway, Happy Halloween! Eat candy or something.

If you couldn’t tell, I’m still hung up on the new Mario game. I thought about starting an official Terminal Lance Mario Kart tournament, but well…




October 30, 2017

Test ground


Single line blockquote:

You mean Metal Gear…



Terminal Lance “Super Marine Odyssey”

October 27, 2017

I think Mario might have bitten off more than he could chew here.

Instead of an underwater level, he’s gotta do the Helo dunker in the base swimming pool. Instead of saving Princess Peach from Bowser, he’s gonna be saving her from a room full of thirsty Marines in the barracks. Instead of collecting moons and coins, he’ll be collecting cigarette butts off of my fucking deck.

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a huge nerd and I love video games. I’m honestly way too excited about the new Super Mario Odyssey coming out today for Nintendo Switch, since I’ve been playing Mario avidly since I was old enough to hold an NES controller. I’ve got some other very big news coming soon, but in the meantime, I’m just gonna leave you with this…



Terminal Lance #496 “The Little End”

October 24, 2017

As a Marine that’s over 6 feet tall, I just want to give a special shout out to the little end:

Fuck you and I hate you all.

For whatever reason, short people are terrible at marching in formation. How do I know this? Well, I gathered this expert opinion during my 3 months aboard MCRD San Diego, where I was repeatedly yelled at by sweaty, angry men because the people behind me were fucking everything up.

Formation in boot camp is organized by height, and as a tall guy, this meant I was at the front of the formation for most of the time. As such, I was never able to physically see what was going on in the rear of the formation, but I could see other platoons. The little end is always shit, their small legs trying desperately to keep up with the marching pace of those in front of them. They diddy-bop and do basically whatever the fuck they want because they secretly despise taller people for their blessed height.

So to the little end, if you’re reading this… You suck.

On an unrelated note, Thank You For Your Service comes out this Friday in theaters everywhere. Writer and director Jason Hall (also screenwriter for American Sniper) sat down with myself and Paul Szoldra of Duffel Blog in our latest podcast episode of After Action. Click here to check it out!



Terminal Lance #496 “The Warrior’s Club”

October 20, 2017

Welcome, weary traveler!

In need of a pint of fine ale? Or perhaps just a cool seat in the blistering heat? Welcome then to the Camp Wilson Warrior Club!

Enjoy our splendorous offerings of the finest burgers, curly fries, chicken strips, fish sticks and more! Take refuge from the hot desert sands with an ice cold Coca-Cola product in our finest of facilities!

Not hungry? Fear not! Assorted activities of the finest entertainment await you for mere quarters!

Aye, there is nary a thing the Warrior Club cannot provide to the battle-tired denizens of Camp Wilson. Join us for a drink, or simply to gather with your friends and watch network news on our selection of digital televisions!

Refuge awaits you at the Warrior Club, warrior. Come by today! (Subject to command approval)