Geared Up

July 18, 2021

The Marine Corps Exchange (colloquially known as the PX) is especially skilled at separating young Marines from their hard-earned paychecks. Among the top categories for junior enlisted to blow their cash on is the tactical section of every store, where the hottest coyote-brown gear from your favorite manufacturers is ready for the purchasing. How can one resist the allure of Oakley M-Frames with interchangeable lenses? You will surely be the most hardcore operator in your platoon when you show up in non-issued gear on your next field op.

There’s a social angle here too, as those that have the most privately purchased gear in place of their issued items is considered saltier and more experienced. Taking a whole custom chest rig out to the field looks so much cooler than having to wear the standard-issue (if your command allows it).

The Corps issues every Marine two disgusting, plastic, green canteens, but god forbid you actually use them.

Real Marines use Nalgene bottles hanging from a carabiner.

On a sidenote, I was turned off the green canteens personally because the very first ones I was issued in bootcamp had mold (and god knows what else) in them. I went to take a drink on day one and got a mouthful of nasties.

I suppose this should have been an indication of the kind of adventure I was in for…

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May 7, 2021

S E M P E R  F I G H T!!!

The Duel of the Century is upon us! The svelt tan-belt versus the voluptuous dad-bod defender for the crown of most motivated Marine! Who will walk away the victor? I’d say this is a pretty even toss-up.

Motivation in the Marine Corps is defined as how much you love… Well… The Marine Corps. How much do you love Marine Corps shit? Stuff like PT, haircuts, camouflage paint, putting EGA’s on everything you own. That is motivation.

Boots are naturally motivated by default. Extremely proud of their most recent (and only) accomplishment of being ordained the title of Marine through the fires of boot camp, they own their title with an unnatural and shameless pride that is annoying to basically every normal person. Then comes the fleet.

Upon arrival to the fleet, the new Marine will either succumb to the temptations of shit-baggery and attain their DD-214 no second too-soon; or they will keep that glimmer of motivation and keep reenlisting. With each reenlistment, their motivation levels increase, sometimes even doubling. By the time they reach the higher ranks of the Staff NCO, their motivation levels may be too high to function in normal society.

This battle is truly one for the ages.

In personal news, I’ve been away for a couple of weeks because my wife and I just had our first baby. It’s been a whirlwind of sleepless nights and poopy diapers, but please welcome Theodore Uriarte to the mix.

As time has gone on with Terminal Lance, I find that I talk about myself less and try more to keep the focus on the Marines and the Marine Corps. Rest assured, I’m alive and well and working on some exciting new endeavors for TL and beyond. Stay tuned, hopefully we’ll have some great news in the near future!



Terminal Lance Easter 2021

April 4, 2021

What could be a more valuable reward than the virtues of Marine Corps leadership? If you’re lucky, you may even find the grand prize egg containing an NJP. JJ tied a buckle for your sins, and today is the day that we celebrate his knot skills.

Grab your basket and start searching for hidden prizes.

By searching, I mean police calling the barracks. By basket, I mean trash bag.



Terminal Lance “The Transformation”

March 5, 2021

Enlisting into the Marine Corps can be quite the transformative experience. For some, moreso than others. While many are able to resist the temptations of becoming a total toolbag upon graduation from boot camp, there are just as many who succumb to the irreversible identity changes boot camp instills in young Marines.

What was once a chill, regular dude you went to high school will return home with a fresh high-and-tight haircut and a moto shirt he bought at the MCRD PX on graduation day. Instead of speaking like a regular person in your town, he speaks in strange idioms and manners he picked up from his Drill Instructors. He asks you, repeatedly, if you “undastand” him, or if you’re “tracking.”

Be patient. Do not blame him, for he knows not what he has become.

Give him a couple of years in the fleet to wash off all the moto, and slowly return to the person he once was. These things come in cycles, but be assured he does still exist in there somewhere.



Terminal Lance “Libo Squad”

August 25, 2020

Boots… Boots never change. Someone said to me that this comic could take place in 2020 or 1970 and it would change nothing. You may be asking yourself, what is it about boots that makes them so ubiquitously geeky? So ridiculously, over-the-top lame? Is it the fashion? The backpacks? The complete doe-eyed innocence in their nerdy swagger?

It’s a bit of all of the above. Boots can’t help themselves from being exceptionally awful because they don’t know any better. The Marine Corps is an honest cross-sampling of America, which is kind of what makes it such a wonderful place of immense diversity, but also a place of unpredictable bootness. Most of these kids joining the Corps have never left home, and never had anyone beyond their mom buy them clothes.

Equipped in their seabags with little more than their finest mom-jeans and their virginity, boots descend upon the small military towns of America ready to light up the town with their blissful ignorance. Tour any military town in America and find barely legal boots in packs and with backpacks ready to take on the world, innocent and free of shame.



Terminal Lance #571 “The Promotion Ceremony”

January 31, 2020

There’s never more pressure than being the center of attention in a promotion ceremony. Your entire company is gathered, all Marines present and accounted for. They stand menacingly at the position of attention, their faces locked forward, but their eyes locked on you. Your senior Lance Corporals told you repeatedly not to fuck it up. They told you four times to salute, give the greeting of the day, and accept the red folder. Right-face, forward-march, be on your way.

To all who shall see these presents, greetings awkwardly comes out of your First Sergeant’s mouth… It’s happening.

You salute, greet your company commander, accept the promotion warrant, get pinned, and you’ve nearly finished… And then it happens. The simplest move in all of the Marine Corps drill manual… A right-face.

…You go left.

Do you about-face? Do you just roll with it? Walk the opposite direction? Are you going to get hazed by your senior Lance Corporals for embarrassing them in front of the entire company? yes

It’s a high-stakes, high-pressure situation, to be sure.

Luckily, if you’re anything like me, you’ll only have to do it once.



Terminal Lance #562 “Going Internal”

November 22, 2019

The Marine Corps experience will try and test you in ways you can’t possibly imagine. Of course, the recruiting commercials make this entirely about… Like… Boot camp, or something. However, the real challenge is hardly the physicality of being yelled at by sweaty drill instructors, or climbing the Reaper during the crucible. The real challenge is within, dealing with the every day dramas and tribulations of young adulthood and coming of age while being owned and operated by the United States Government.

The four year enlistment will generally span the average age of 18-22 years old. This is when you’re just coming into yourself, figuring out relationships new and old, and learning how to be an adult. This isn’t easy for anyone, but doing it with an alcoholic Staff Sergeant with a 4th grade reading level yelling at you for breaking a rule you didn’t know existed certainly doesn’t help.

While of course it’s fun to point and laugh when it’s not us, every single one of us will end up “going internal” at some point or another. Sometimes life is actually overwhelming. For what it’s worth, at the very least, you’re likely to be surrounded by Marine Lance Corporals just like you… And as we all know from the Terminal Lance Instagram page… Lance Corporals can cheer up just about anyone.

If you see one of your Marines dealing with some shit, don’t let him do it alone.

(Obligatory shout out to Terminal Boots for their classic PFT video of a similar subject)



Terminal Lance #560 “Sunday at the Base Barber”

September 27, 2019

Haircuts and Marines… Name a more iconic duo. I hope you’ve cleared your weekend of any plans, because you’re about to spend at least 4 hours of your Sunday at the PX waiting for your weekly $7 head-scraping. Dare to show up Monday morning without a fresh ‘do and see how far you get before Staff Sergeant loses his damn mind.

I dare you.

Haircuts are as much a part of Marine culture as camouflage and dependents, but for whatever reason it seems to be one of those understated parts of the enlistment that you don’t really think about when you sign up. It’s also something that Marine bases are oddly underprepared for.

Literally the entire Marine Corps knows that 93% of the population needs to get a fresh haircut for Monday, yet each base stocks maybe 4 civilian barbers on any given Sunday to rake in those $2 tips.

In all seriousness, since it’s such a huge part of the culture, it should really just be an MOS. There’s already a dedicated Mexican in every barracks that can do a fade, just send him to beauty school already and put him in a squad bay with 40 other barbers each Sunday to glow-up the whole base.

It would take like 45 minutes tops.



Terminal Lance #558 “Tik and Tok”

September 6, 2019

More than ever before, boots have a plethora of resources available to them to avoid the pitfalls of everyday boot existence. No longer do you have to wear horrible Moto shirts tucked into your mom jeans and web belt, because places like Terminal Lance and countless others have spent years highlighting what a fucking boot looks like.

However, some fall through the cracks. This is due to a number of reasons, most likely a failure of senior Lance Corporal leadership to teach them right from boot. If one of your Marines has posted a cringy Tik Tok video, there are a number of MCCS resources available. Check with your local Single Marine Program office for ways that your boot can stop being such a fucking boot.

Senior Lance Corporals, its up to you to set the example to your boot Marines.

Don’t let your Marines get high and tights, wear backpacks out in town, wear exposed dog tags, mom jeans or boots in civilian attire.

Lastly, and importantly… Don’t let your boots make Tik Tok videos.



Terminal Lance #551 “Firewatch”

June 25, 2019

It’s that time of year again! The time when nearly every week there’s a new, major fire breaking out at Camp Pendleton. There’s something about the combination of dry, California brush with Marines firing machineguns and explosives that seems to really light up Camp Pendleton. Perhaps there’s some science behind it–who really knows?

Last week, Camp Pendleton was ablaze with its first major fire of the season. Of course, this isn’t anything that the base isn’t already used to, but it never stops Marines from hoping that maybe work will get canceled. Camp Pendleton fires are like the snow days of the Marine Corps for those stationed aboard the SoCal stronghold, with Lance Corporals secretly wishing the mountainous wilderness will burn down just enough (with no injuries, of course) that it cancels next week’s five day field-op that absolutely no one was looking forward to.

Of course, with the luck of the average Lance Corporal against him, it’s been an unusually cold and wet start to summer here on the west coast. Maybe if we send a platoon of grunts to sleep in the fire, we can cheat nature into putting the fire out with the inevitable rain cloud that follows them… It’s worth a shot, at least.