Terminal Lance “Warranted II”

April 18, 2021

There is perhaps no other military rank shrouded in as much mystery as that of the elusive Chief Warrant Officers. Their colorful collars are adorned with flamboyant and powerful rank that give them unprecedented powers throughout the Marine Corps. No one has ever seen a Marine get promoted to the Warrant Officer ranks, it is thought that their ceremony is one of darkness and ritual.


In reality, the Warrant Officer ranks are in a weird spot because nobody actually knows who outranks them. They exist in a weird medium between enlisted and commissioned that grants them strange privilege. Enlisted can’t tell them what to do, but commissioned officers can’t find them because they aren’t as fluent in the skating arts as the enlisted. They are caught between worlds, in the nether realm of the Marine Corps.

You can learn about CWO’s and more in the Terminal Lance Bestiary of the Marine Corps eBook on Kindle. Check it out!

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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 #555 “Promote Above Peers”

August 9, 2019

The Marine that reaches Corporal before his friends is quite like the kid that hits puberty first. He used to be cool, but now all he talks about are girls and his three facial hairs. New Corporals are like this, except they only talk about “NCO Creeds” and their three peacetime ribbons. While they’re largely the same as the people who used to be their friends, they feel different.

The new Corporal feels the weight of leadership thrust upon him. He’s not just a Marine, he’s now an NCO of Marines. The rank of Corporal is a test of character that the Marine Corps wants you to fail.

Will you still be a cool ass dude? Or will you succumb to the desires of the Green Weenie and delve further into the dark side of the Corps? The Green Weenie is relentless, constantly trying to lure good Marines to being a dick.

Lucky for you, adventurer, The Terminal Lance Bestiary of the Marine Corps is here to act as your guide against the green forces of evil! The Terminal Lance Bestiary of the Marine Corps is a brand new eBook on Amazon and Apple Books, featuring character classes, ranks and all manner of creatures and ghouls you’ll encounter throughout the Corps. May it guide you in your darkest hours across the Corps.

Click the sad Corporal to find out more.



Terminal Lance #542 “All These Presents”

April 9, 2019

One of the most traumatic things I ever experienced through an enlistment–with two deployments to Iraq–was having to listen to any Staff NCO read an old English promotion warrant at a typical 4th grade reading level. It’s one of those things that makes you simultaneously cringe and feel unsafe every time you hear, listening to someone in 2019 say the words “know ye that, reposing” and “see these presents” (pronounced PRE-zents).

To make matters worse, not only do you have to listen to this nonsense probably once a month in an infantry company (when everyone gets their promotions), but you have to stand at the position of attention the entire time. There’s nothing more scarring than having to watch three or four Marines awkward try to do drill in front of the Company Commander and First Sergeant while they barely remember to right or left-face correctly and render a salute.

God forbid you end up being one of the Marines getting promoted. Not only do you (also) have to listen to this rambling, weird Medieval English, but you get the pleasure of knowing that everyone in the company currently hates you while you go through this meandering process that everyone hates. Like many things in the Corps, it’s one of those things that we all do but literally no one wants to be there (including the SNCO reading those odd-ass paragraphs).

In other news, I’ll be at USC this weekend at the Los Angeles Festival of Books! Join us at 10:30am on Saturday for a panel on graphic novels followed by a book signing.

I will read your promotion warrant if you bring one.

Details here.



Terminal Lance #535 “Unresolved Resolutions”

December 28, 2018

Nobody goes into the Marine Corps planning on being a Terminal Lance. It is a matter of circumstance, more often than not, and especially if you are of the 03 designated group of MOS’s. While my old MOS doesn’t actually exist anymore, I wasn’t a Terminal Lance through any kind of a lack of effort, but of a broken cutting score system–a relic of the institution designed with logical intentions and illogical results typical of government bureaucracy.

A typical insult that lifers like to throw at me when they realize I’m not fellating their beloved institution on the daily is “no wonder you’re a Terminal Lance! You couldn’t make it as a corporal!” It’s a typically under-thought insult meant to make me seem like I’m not already more accomplished than they ever were, and it falls flat because I have no shame in being a Terminal Lance. I own it with pride, and why shouldn’t I? I was a squad leader, team leader, gunner, went on two deployments to Iraq, etc. It was the broken cutting score system that failed myself and many others in my platoon, leading to nearly an entire weapons platoon of Lance Corporals without a single NCO in a squad.

Like Abe, it’s not that I never wanted to get the next thing. The next thing just never came.

I mean why wouldn’t you? Lance Corporal pay isn’t anything to write home about.

This will most likely be the last comic of 2018! Enjoy what’s left of this clusterfuck of a year, and pour a drink to 2019 being better than the last.



Terminal Lance #534 “Standard Issue”

December 18, 2018

The Marine Corps issues its members a variety of gear and clothing associated with the position of killing for Uncle Sam. One of those that is rather understated is the luxurious, soft and shitty underbody of the Staff NCO. Upon reaching Staff NCO status—usually in your mid-to-late twenties and after popping out a few kids with your shotgun marriage wife from your Lance Corporal days—your body goes through some… changes.

This is most regularly expressed in the form of the dad-bod. The dad-bod is a specialized shape of male fitness provided by years of neglect and beer. All Staff NCO’s are typically given a dad-bod upon reaching the higher enlisted ranks.

…Or if they’re not, you’d certainly think they are.

I haven’t posted in a bit, but I’m sure if you follow Terminal Lance on other avenues you probably noticed the continuing drama between myself and the abstract social media policies at large of the Marine Corps. Simply put, I think the Marine Corps has (in typical Marine fashion) misunderstood the intent of the social media guidelines created in the wake of the Marines United scandal a couple of years ago.

What began in earnest as a way to protect women and other Marines against online harassment has spiraled into a dogmatic witch-hunt against any Marines appearing on social media for anything ever. Unit commanders get nervous, fearing that a video of a Marine doing something funny will get them in trouble. After all, everyone answers to someone. So, as a response, they do silly shit like demand that a video get taken down from a private, civilian-owned company under threat of revoking an entire battalion’s liberty on Thanksgiving.

For the record, I find this to be an outright act of cowardice and a disgrace to the Corps values that these people pretend to embody. That’s really all I can say about it, other than the fact that Terminal Lance’s social media policy is not the Marine Corps’ social media policy. Last week, a representative from the Marine Corps’ media relations offered to have a conversation with me about it, but when I called he never picked up or called me back.

Oh well.