Doctrine Man to the rescue: Facebook comic makes military friends

Doctrine man

Doctrine Man anonymously satirizes the rigors of living a life under military doctrine. Image: CC cowboytrix/Flickr

“Doctrine Man” is an anonymous, unauthorized Facebook comic strip about surviving the absurdities of military life. Doctrine Man has been steadily gaining a global following among the military rank and file and printouts have been seen at the Pentagon. The military has long used humor to cope with military doctrine and hardship and Doctrine Man updates are a 21st century extension of that tradition.

Doctrine Man gets it

Doctrine Man was created by an Army officer and made available for the world to see last summer on Facebook. The officer, who prefers to remain anonymous, told the New York Times that he created Doctrine Man updates to share his frustration of working for people who “just didn’t get it.” Without naming names, he lampoons military doctrine with gags that service members from generals down to the lowliest private can relate to. He said the Doctrine Man Facebook updates spark dialogue with other officers with whom he discusses issues via private e-mail. He sends feedback about what’s going on in the field up the command chain.

Doctrine Man Facebook updates

The Doctrine Man comic strip is drawn in stick figures, but the message is more important than the graphics. This military superhero is described on the Facebook page as “Able to leap useless acronyms with a single bound, faster than a lumbering field manual, more powerful than a cheese enchilada in a staff huddle.” Sample concepts mentioned in the Times article include the military’s efforts for making war zones feel like home, wearing a Hawaiian shirt in combat and an officer selecting a soldier for a special assignment by throwing a book at the first one who comes along.

A history of military satire

Doctrine Man is the latest in a long line of satirical portrayals of the common grunt accepting his fate with ironic humor. Classic examples are the characters Willie and Joe that cartoonist Bill Mauldin penned as he traveled with troops in Europe during World War II. Others include Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22” and Richard Hooker’s “MASH,” novels that were made into major motion pictures. When it comes to comic strips, Doctrine Man could be considered the thinking soldier’s “Beetle Bailey,” which has been drawn by several artists since it began in 1950.


New York Times


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