Battle Rattle

Time Lapse: Watch Terminal Lance’s Marine author draw a comic strip

Bookmark and Share

Terminal Lance, the edgy comic strip that lampoons enlisted life in the Marine Corps, has become a household name since it launched in 2010.

The strip’s author, Maximillian Uriarte, has gained a cult following by making fun of everything from reflective belt regulations to boots — new Marines who have recently entered the fleet. No topic is sacred or off-limits.

Here is a recent strip he drew for Marine Corps Times’ Oct. 27 issue called “Peer Promotion” about “when your friends get promoted before you and no one respected them,” he said.


Have you ever wondered how the magic happens? Well, Uriarte recently shared a time-lapse screen capture video of how he illustrated the strip.



Marine shot by Afghanistan sniper walks away unscathed

Bookmark and Share

A sensational video of a Marine shot square in the head in 2013 by an Afghan sniper set the blogosphere alight last week.

In the video, three Marines are standing in a corridor leading out of a mud compound when the second in the stack is rocked by an incoming sniper round. His head snaps back and an ear-splitting pop rings out.  After a panicked retreat back into the compound’s courtyard, the Marines begin checking themselves. The one who was struck was dazed, but shook it off saying, “My ears are ringing.”

As amazing as the incident is, the Marine is just the latest in a long line of troops who who have taken a round to the helmet during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but walked away with little more than a headache thanks to advances in modern body armor.

There is also Army Pvt. Justin Greer, seen shot in his helmet in a video by late journalist James Foley during an August 2010 embed in Afghanistan’s Kunar province. Greer, a member of the 101st Airborne, suffered only a minor concussion.

And Marine Sgt. Paul Boothroyd had a round pass through his helmet and enter his head in 2011. But, the helmet slowed and deflected the round enough that the he suffered no serious or lasting injury. In fact, just minutes after being shot he was smiling and enjoying a cigarette while awaiting medical evacuation.

Sgt. Paul Boothroyd waits for a medevac helicopter after sustaining a sniper round to the head March 4, 2011 in Helmand province, Afghanistan. (Courtesy of Sgt. Paul Boothroyd)

Sgt. Paul Boothroyd waits for a medevac helicopter after sustaining a sniper round to the head March 4, 2011 in Helmand province, Afghanistan. (Courtesy of Sgt. Paul Boothroyd)

While the debate about weight and how much protection is too much protection rages on, the Marine Corps has made leaps and bounds in its efforts to field stronger personal protective equipment.

Their helmet programs have suffered several setbacks after some helmets failed developmental testing, but the newest Enhanced Combat Helmet,  rated to stop high-velocity rifle rounds at point-blank range, finally began fielding in 2014.



Corps’ new CMC issues 239th birthday message to Marines

Bookmark and Share

Gen. Joe Dunford, the new commandant of the Marine Corps, is featured in a video message celebrating the service’s 239th birthday.

Dunford issued the message celebrating Marines’ Nov. 10 birthday the day after a passage of command ceremony during which he became the Corps’ 36th commandant.

This year’s message includes interviews with Marines from some of the Corps’ most brutal battles, from Pfc. John Lahm, who fought in the Battle of Peleliu during World War II, to Sgt. Maj. Bradley Kasal, who earned a Navy Cross for his role in the Battle of Fallujah in Iraq. The Corps’ newest Medal of Honor recipient, Kyle Carpenter, is also featured.

In the video, Dunford speaks about the various missions Marines have been called on to fulfill around the world over the past year, from combat in Afghanistan to typhoon relief in the Asia-Pacific region and embassy evacuations in Africa.

“As we celebrate the 239th birthday of our Corps, Marines are in combat in Helmand province,” he said. “And since we last gathered to celebrate, Marines have responded to crises in the Philippines, South Sudan, Libya and Iraq. Some things change — this year found us in different climes and places than our predecessors. Our organization, our equipment and our training have certainly changed since World War II.”

Other things never change, he added, citing the ways by which today’s generation tackle challenges with the same courage, commitment, loyalty and sacrifice of Marines from past eras.

This year’s message also includes interviews with poolees who plan to ship off to boot camp and earn the title of Marine.

“Honor, courage and commitment means to me that I’ll be able to wear the title of United States Marine on my shoulders for the rest of my life,” said Charles Peterson, a poolee with Recruiting Substation Stafford, Virginia.

Retired Gunnery Sgt. Charles Setzer, who fought in the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II, said Marines he talks to today are as eager to wear the uniform now as he was then.

“That makes me feel good,” he said.

Happy birthday, Marines! And tell us what motivates you about this year’s birthday message in the comments section below.

Pendleton Marines to host Battle of Fallujah reunion

Bookmark and Share

Update: This event is open to all Marines, not just ones who fought in the Battle of Fallujah.

A decade after the Battle of Fallujah, California-based Marines are holding a reunion and ceremony to honor those who were a part of one of the most significant fights in Iraq and some of the heaviest urban warfare in the Corps’ history.

Marines with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, patrol Fallujah, Iraq, searching terrorists involved with attacks against coalition forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Ten years after the battle, 1st Marine Division is hosting a ceremony to honor Marines who were killed and the units that served in Fallujah. // Photo by  Lance Cpl. Kenneth E. Madden III

Members of 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, patrol Fallujah, Iraq, search for terrorists involved with attacks against coalition. Ten years after the battle, 1st Marine Division is hosting a ceremony to honor Marines who were killed and the units that served in Fallujah. (Lance Cpl. Kenneth E. Madden III/Marine Corps)

Members of  1st Marine Division is will host the Nov. 7 event for veterans ranging from privates to general officers at Camp Pendleton, California. Now-retired Lt. Gen. Richard Natonski, the commander of 1st MARDIV during the battle, is attending.

By 2004, Fallujah had become a hotbed and stronghold of Iraqis loyal to Saddam Hussein and religious fundamentalists. It would become the bloodiest battle of the war, and was the first time that coalition forces would fight against non-government insurgents. Dozens of Marines were killed over the course of two separate campaigns in the city.

The reunion at Pendleton will include a luncheon, and Marine Corps officials are trying to get as many veterans of the battle to attend as possible. It will be held at 1st Marine Division Headquarters, Building 1133, across from the 11 Area Parade Field at Camp Pendleton, California. It starts at 10 a.m. on Nov. 7.

To attend, RSVP by Oct. 28 to to Margaret Williams at either 760-763-2808 or

‘American Sniper’ trailer drops ahead of Christmas release

Bookmark and Share

If you’re looking for some cinematic firefights after Christmas Day presents and brunch, you’re in luck.

The film version of former Navy SEAL Chief Special Operator Chris Kyle’s best-selling American Sniper memoir is coming to theaters Christmas Day, the tale of his path toward 160 confirmed kills, the most of any shooter in American history.

Actor Bradley Cooper was able to meet with Kyle once before the SEAL was murdered in 2013.

“Thank God I got to talk to him once on the phone. It was a very quick conversation. But I did tell him how serious I was about making this movie,” Cooper told USA Today. “And he should just know that whatever fears he had about Hollywood, to just put them aside and trust me. That I was going to do everything I could to tell this story.”

Kyle published the book in 2012 and became an icon in American military lore and marksmanship culture.

Unfortunately, he was killed in 2013 by a fellow veteran, whom he’d taken shooting to help relieve the man’s post-traumatic stress.


Bonnie and Gen. Jim Amos pack up at Marine Corps’ Home of the Commandants

Bookmark and Share


Bonnie Amos and her husband, Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Jim Amos, are busy packing up for what she says is their 30th move in not quite 44 years. It will be the last move of her husband’s military career, however, as the Marine Corps’ “first couple” readies for retirement and begins vacating the Home of the Commandants at 8th & I, in Washington, D.C.

The passage of command, when Gen. Joseph Dunford will officially take charge as the 36th commandant of the Marine Corps, is set to take place Oct. 17.

The Amoses won’t be taking everything though. Tradition stipulates that each departing commandant leaves something in the house for his successor. For now, Bonnie isn’t saying what it will be.

“Can’t tell you yet…it is a surprise and will hopefully be in place the day of the Passage of Command. you’ll just have to come visit,” she replied to one follower of her official Facebook page.



Targets that actually deduct from overall rifle score are in the works for big marksmanship changes

Bookmark and Share

coverWe just finished our cover story on changes coming to Marine Corps marksmanship qualifications.

Naturally, we know that any changes to marksmanship are a huge deal (I can remember when ACOG rifle sights were incorporated, I thought my fellow Marines were going to lose their minds). Now, I’m not going to give you all the details, because I want you to buy the paper, but there is one little tidbit I’ve decided to share.

The idea of shoot/no-shoot scenarios are almost certainly some changes coming to Table 2. More importantly, shooting a no-shoot target will result in penalty, and an assessment of negative points.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 (Marine Gunner) Vincent Pope, Director, Marksmanship Doctrine and Programs Management Section, Weapons Training Battalion, explained to us via email:

“While shoot/no-shoot scenarios are currently being tested, definitive score value or deduction has yet to be worked out. The four sites currently conducting these tests will present their results at the FY-15 Combat Marksmanship Symposium (CMS) for further discussion and refinement. Conceptually, no-shoot targets that are engaged would result in an equal point value reduction from their overall score.”

This may be the first time in history an actual penalty has been introduced to Marine Corps basic marksmanship, and it reflects a growing trend of more sophisticated operations, against a more sophisticated enemy. In a world where enemy uniforms are rare, and civilians have become commonplace camouflage, target identification is king.

Especially when one false move has proven time and again to result in global, viral outcry.

There’s more on shoot vs. no-shoot targets, and there are other big changes coming, but … you’ll have to wait until the paper hits newsstands Monday to read about them.


Marines returned Obama’s latte salute on social media, and the results are hilarious

Bookmark and Share

Obama’s controversial latte salute has entered the world of self-parody — and it’s hilarious.

Maximilian Uriarte, the grunt-turned satirist who created the “Terminal Lance” comic strip, posted a slew of pictures on Facebook of people doing their own salute with a beverage in hand. We can’t guarantee they are all Marines, but the vast majority of Uriarte’s audience is comprised of active and discharged Marines. Some substituted the latte for a beer, a glass of scotch, a giant bottle of vodka or put on a horse mask and saluted with a half-filled bottle soy sauce (that contributor wrote “Of course I was drinking soy sauce. Horses love soy sauce. How do I type with these hooves?”)

Some were cross-eyed, others were left-handed, they all looked pretty derpy and hilarious.

Here’s some of what Uriarte posted:

Salute1 salute2 salute3 salute5 salute6 salute7

Earlier this week the White House posted a short clip on Instagram of the president leaving Marine One, and rendering a salute with a coffee in his right hand. In uniform this type of salute is a big no-no, and it sparked a debate about whether Obama was disrespectful or, as the commander in chief and  civilian, he can salute (or not salute) however he pleases. Of course, debates like this fell into partisan camps faster than you can chug a shot of espresso.

Uriarte, like he always does when debates like this emerge, said he stayed out of the fray and just looked for the laughs.

Obama salutes Marines with coffee cup, outrage ensues

Bookmark and Share

President Barack Obama salutes Marines with a coffee cup in his hand.

President Barack Obama salutes a Marine with a coffee cup in his hand.

On his way to participate in a United Nations talk on Climate Change, and coming from his national address on airstrikes in Syria, President Barack Obama stepped off Marine One and proceeded to salute Marines with a coffee cup in his hand.

White House aides later posted that video to Instagram, and that’s when things went downhill. The White House press department didn’t immediately respond to queries about the salute.

ABC published a story dubbing it the “Latte Salute.” Washington Times ran a headline that incorporated the words “Semper Latte.” Finally, a Daily Caller story cited the manual for Marine officer candidates stating the salute is “the most important of all military courtesies.”

Of course the comment sections in each of these posts featured more than a few disgruntled folks. Twitter also hosted a horde of trolls.

Obama isn’t the only president who’s had a salute snafu (or two). Then-President George W. Bush was somewhat infamously captured awkwardly saluting while holding his dog.

The presidential salute, while not required, has become somewhat of a protocol since the Reagan years.

Carey Winfrey, the retired editor of Smithsonian Magazine and a former Marine, wrote an outstanding article for the New York Times about the presidential salute. In it, he asserts, “when it comes to salutes (and one or two other matters), presidents deserved to be cut some slack.”

NOW CHECK OUT: Did the 15th MEU and 13th MEU engage in a bit of a Twitter war? >


Girl at shopping mall kicks JROTC’s member’s butt in pushup contest

Bookmark and Share

Update: This post originally identified the male as a Marine. Upon further inspection, the uniform is not consistent with Corps regulations, but those of the Marine JROTC program. The girl in the video, Kaylyn Mintz, is headed to tryouts for the Junior Olympics team. That, at least, would explain how she cranked out so many push-ups.

Losing can be tough on the psyche, but losing in front of a crowd in a shopping mall must be brutal.

One JROTC cadet is likely licking his wounds after getting trounced by a sandal-wearing opponent in a push-up contest at a mall.

“She won! She won!” the crowd screams after Kaylyn Mintz tires after around 84 push-ups. The guy, who has her well out-sized, quit after around 54 (at least that’s how many were captured on the video).

“Oh my God!” the Marine exclaimed as she keeps going after he tired. Other cadets and the crowd cheered her on, and a few laughed at the unexpected outcome of a slender young woman outperforming her bigger, uniformed competitor.

This took place at the Independence Mall in Wilmington, N.C. at a Stand At Attention charity competition organized by Active Heroes, a charity that raises money for military families.

Maybe their different performances are due to their push-up techniques. The cadet kept his hands positioned close to his sides and just under his shoulders. It looks like he didn’t always return to the full upright position, and he sometimes appeared to bend backwards from the hip, similar to the cobra pose in yoga. Kaylyn didn’t descend entirely to the deck during her push-ups, so completing a push-up isn’t as hard. Also, she changed up her hand position allowing different muscles to lift her up and lessen fatigue.

Granted, the Marine Corps doesn’t have a physical training test that details the nitty-gritty requirements of an “official” push-up.

Maybe the difference is due to their footwear? Maybe flip-flops have secret push-up power that can’t be found in boots.

Tags: , , ,