If you've spent much time online checking out videos or posts on veteran-themed social media pages and websites, there's a pretty good chance you're familiar with Mat Best. Over the past several years, the former Army Ranger and defense contractor has leveraged his military experiences into a wildly successful career as an online entertainer, co-creator of the veteran-made zombie flick Range 15, and the co-founder of three popular military-themed companies (Black Rifle Coffee, Leadslingers Whiskey, and Article 15 Clothing), to boot.
Now, Best is adding "author" to a list of titles that include: operator, entrepreneur, coffee aficionado, apparel designer, actor, comedian, whiskey distiller, and master of parody rap battles.
Do you think there are too many veteran nonprofits with unclear goals and way too much overhead? Think again! What the world really needs is more of those.
Introducing Lamp Shades for Heroes, Tactical Giraffes for Ambitious Marines, Old Coats For Virginia Cavalry Scouts, and probably a few hundred unnecessary veteran nonprofits, all cobbled together with the help of an algorithm and a heavy dose of sarcasm.
In 2010, when Maximilian Uriarte created Terminal Lance, the comic strip represented institutional heresy, utterly antithetical to the tailored public image of the Marine Corps. Marines were not portrayed as steely-eyed warriors in pitched firefights, heroically defending the American Way. Instead, Uriarte portrays the unfiltered satirical perspective of the average day enlisted Marine infantryman – equal parts absurd, mundane, and profound.
Sometimes you just can’t make things up. Duffel Blog, yes, the popular satirical site, found itself in a nice little Twitter battle with actor Matthew Modine (Vision Quest, Full Metal Jacket, Stranger Things) over an article it released regarding the death of his Full Metal Jacket costar and former Marine R. Lee Ermey. The gist was that costar Vincent D’Onofrio, who famously played Private Gomer Pyle, had suffered from PTSD due to working with Ermey but had now found some peace as a result of his death.
Photo via the Marine Corps History Division Archives
Some things never change, and in the Marine Corps, an institution where upholding tradition is the order of the day, this is doubly true. I’m not talking about eagles, globes, and anchors, immaculate uniforms, or having a high-and-tight, no, I mean the real traditions: the never-ending grunts versus pogs dispute, service rivalries, drunken shenanigans on leave or in the barracks. These staples of the Corps aren’t new, and they’ve provided ample material to enlisted Marines-turned-biting-satirists for nearly a century.