Tag Archives: Recce

PROMIS: South Africa, excerpt #2

24NOV81

0057hrs

Sheets of rain belted down on the rural African village.

Dressed in native garb, they were soaked to the bone leaving them with no doubt that they were in for a long and chilly night. Hands tightened around the pistol grips of AK-47 rifles, their eyes scanning the shadows not illuminated by the lone street lamp. Silently, they cursed themselves for not having one of their operatives sneak into the operational area and shoot the light out a few days prior to D-Day.

Sean Deckard walked towards his team mates, doing a final sweep of the area before waiting for the final order to come in over the net that would launch their mission. James and Robin waited at the corner of a walled off compound, crouching in the shadows between mounds of trash. The rain water seeped into the garbage, the black run off leaving a stench in their noses that was ubiquitous in the third world hell holes that they were used to working in.

“What you doing?”

Sean turned to see an old man who had approached as near as he dared, his footsteps muffled by the soft ground and the steady hum created by the rain.

Sean grunted, waving him off with an offended hand. Infiltrating close to their objective in indigenous clothing with black is beautiful cream smeared on their faces, the disguise would hold up at a distance just as long as no one actually expected him to speak in the native tongue.

The local staggered off, hopefully writing his presence off to a drunken mirage.

It was almost H-hour. They were still waiting for the call, no signs of hostiles. Sean checked the safety on his rifle one more time before coming around from behind the compound and joining the rest of his team.

Pursing his lips, he made a low whistle, letting his friends know he was coming. Just in case. They were all on edge. Everyone had a lot riding on this mission.

Robin looked up at Sean as he knelt down next to them. He was hugging himself in a futile attempt to keep warm.

“I’ll be happy to get this over with and go home,” the Rhodie whispered.

“What are you talking about,” James looked back. “We are home.”

Deckard knew there was a ugly truth in the Australian’s statement. None of them would ever be worth a damn at any other line of work other than soldering.

Lesotho was an independent but landlocked state north of both Ciskei and Transkei. The African National Communist’s terrorist wing called MK had been using the small country as a staging ground for attacks for years, taking advantage of Lesotho’s sovereign status and jumping back across the border after each strike.

That situation would end tonight.

“If this is home then what do we have to go back to?” Robin asked.

“Nothing,” James answered. “This is what we do so we might as well be good at it.”

“That and it beats sucking the farts off bus seats in Johannesburg,” Deckard interrupted.

“Any second now,” James had the radio’s handmic held to his ear, waiting for the correct code word that would launch the sixteen assault teams spread out through Lesotho.

They had crossed the river at dust, making a stealth infiltration into the small country and proceeding on foot. Pilot teams had walked the infiltration routes several times over during the last month to make sure that each team could flow to their holding positions within the bounds of their time line. The assault elements ranged in size from two to twelve, depending on the size of the objective and expected resistance they might encounter.

Sean, James, and Robin had been brought back together as one since the conclusion of the Rhodesian Bush War over a year prior. The Colonel in charge of the mission had done his best to group individual Recce operators with those they had established trust with in the past. Everyone needed to bring their A-game, no mistakes could be afforded on this night.

Steam began to waft from their soaking bodies, the rain refusing to let up.

A hiss of static sounded over the radio, a muted voice spoke.

“Big Bang,” James whispered. “It’s a go.”

Robin answered by drawing a suppressed .22 pistol and shooting out the street lamp. Blending into the shadows, the three commandos trotted down the street to their objective building. Bounding up to the door, James provided security with his AK at the ready while Sean moved up and placed small knock-knock charges on the front door connected by a length of cordex.

Sean thought he heard Robin say something just as he detonated the charges, something that sounded like, I hope we’re good at this tonight.

The explosives popped and James stepped up to provide one of his tree trunk legs to knock the door the rest of the way off it’s frame. The sound of similar blasts echoed across the country side. Recce teams were hitting their targets throughout Lesotho, terrorist leaders, propaganda ministers, financiers, smugglers, and anyone else who support terrorism was getting some unexpected house guests.

Robin tossed a flash grenade through the door and the team flowed in behind the blast.

Sean cleared right, his rifle muzzle sweeping across the first room as James opened fire, a fire storm of bullets passing inches from the American’s flank. A lifeless body rolled out of bed, a pistol slipping from limp fingers.

Another terrorist came flying in from an adjacent room, the machete in his hand swinging on a downward arc destined for Robin’s head. Sean put his AK into action, pouring a burst of fire into him at close range. The machete wielding man spun around in a macabre dance of death before collapsing to the floor.

Tonight they were good at this.

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Excerpt from Issue #4, PROMIS: South Africa

13AUG80

2117hrs

Angola

Shadows slipping into the night, the Recce commandos worked quickly and quietly. Their Klepper kayaks were cached in the high reeds that sprung up in the shallows on both sides of the river. Weapon and equipment checks were performed at the admin site before the ten soldiers pulled on their fins and kicked into the main current of the river, carrying them toward their destination.

Hours prior, a Puma helicopter had dropped the combat swimmers off even farther upstream where the sound of beating rotor blades would not be heard by the communist backed rebels swarming throughout the jungle. The Kleppers had carried them halfway, paddling into a shallow cove where the canoes could be recovered later. From there on out, the 4-Recce commandos would surface swim down the river, submerging and breathing off of their rebreathers when the enemy was close by.

Deckard thumbed the button on his buoyancy compensator device to add a little bit of air to help keep him afloat. They were all a little heavier than usual, besides a combat load they also wore water proof backpacks filled with explosive charges.

The SADF commandos spread out into an extended file in the water to prevent the entire patrol from being taken out by a single burst of machine gun fire or a hand grenade. Gently bobbing up and down in the water, Sean swam on his side, kicking out in a scissoring motion with his fins. With his head parallel to the waterline, and his nose just above the surface, he and the other swimmers would maintain a lower profile, hopefully making them harder to spot.

While most of his late comrades in the Rhodesian Special Air Service had been absorbed into their own detachment within the SADF, 6-Recce, Sean had been invited to become a member of the maritime specific 4-Recce with the caveat that he first complete the attack dive school.

As it turned out, several of the 4-Recce Sergeants remembered Sean fondly from a covert operation that they had run together with the SAS, destroying the Beira Fuel yard in Mozambique. Someone must have thought that the American would be a good addition to the unit. That, or they just wanted to see him suffer in the SCUBA course as Sean half suspected at times.

The swimmers were in the water for half an hour by Sean’s watch, the luminescent hands giving off a faint glow in the night, when they saw headlights approaching from a road adjacent to the river. Checking for a good seal on his snorkel mask, Sean bit down on his air regulator and submerged himself in the dark waters, letting out a little bit of air from his BCD.

Underwater, darkness closed in around him. Holding his hands clasped together at his waist, he calmly paddled forward with his fins. Diving at night carried it’s own specific types of hazards. Inexperienced divers could become easily disoriented and work themselves into a frenzy. Panicking a hundred feet underwater was a sure bet that you’d be sleeping with the fishes, but it could happen even during a shallow dive, getting people killed and compromising the mission.

The rebreathers they used in place of normal oxygen tanks recycled air so that they didn’t leave the tell tale sign of bubbles breaking on the surface. Canting his head to the side, he could see the yellow headlights flash across the water before disappearing. Sean waited an additional minute to make sure the enemy troops had passed before breaking the surface. Spitting the regulator from his mouth, he saw the rest of the patrol emerge from the water to his front.

Drifting in the center of the river, the powerful current pulled them downstream even faster then they had anticipated. Despite the recent rainfall, the decision had been made to launch. The cold water rushed over the back of Sean’s neck and scalp, the slight chill leaving him thankful for the wetsuit he wore.

The night seemed to stretch on as they gently floated downstream. The combat swimmers spotted Angolan troops on the shores several more times, submerging once again until they had passed the threat.

Sean was counting the bends in the river, calculating how much further they had to travel to their objective. Each patrol member carried a waterproofed map but had to memorize the hydrography of the river itself, getting quizzed about it’s twists and turns several times during the planning phase of their mission.

A couple klicks out from their target, the patrol was swept down towards a foot bridge that crossed the river. Sean could already see several communist troops standing on the bridge, peering over the railing and probing the water with their flashlights. Hearing them yell in their native language, the American’s guts were churned into knots. It was as if they knew that the Recces were coming.

Biting down on his regulator once more, Sean slipped below the water with the rest of the patrol. The current was far to strong for them to swim to the shore and detour around, the best they could do was hope that they passed under the bridge undetected.

Sean was biting down on his regulator hard enough to begin chewing through the rubber.

They were in for a ride.

The first detonation tossed him like a rag doll. If he hadn’t been in the process of exhaling, the pressure surely would have burst both his lungs. As it was, the rush of running water was replaced with a dulling ringing sound in his ears. Letting air escape from his buoyancy compensator, he dove deeper below the surface even as enemy gunfire raked across the river.

Bullets crisscrossed into the water, searching him out like angry hornets. Staying well below the surface, he felt confident that the water would quickly bring the velocity of the bullets to a halt, but it was still unnerving to have a half dozen Kalashnikovs blasting away above him.

Thrashing through the water as another grenade went off in the depths of the river, Sean’s leg slammed into something, his calf muscle temporarily numbed. Struggling to kick away, he finned back into the center of the river. Staying low he managed to avoid the search lights above and the over pressure from several more grenades. His breaths were short and frantic as he sucked recycled air from his rebreather. Getting a handle on himself, hours of dive training kicked in and he was able to slow his breath rate.

The seasoned Special Operations soldier didn’t dare to break the surface and knew that the other Recces would also be diving deep until they reached their objective. Finally catching his breath, the soldier set back into operational mode, counting turns and watching the needle on his compass.

Rounding the final bend, Sean began kicking his fins and arcing himself up to the surface. He needed to get a good look at the bridge they were targeting before making a final approach. Breaking the surface, his heart skipped a beat, ducking back under just in time for a double strand of razor wire to pass just over him.

Coming back up he spat out a mouth full of water. This time he had to quickly dodge to the side, barely missing a giant steel caltrop that barely revealed a steel I-beam above the surface. Glancing to his sides, he saw that the river was full of the giant anti-tank obstacles, strands and strands of razor wire were unraveled across it’s width. Intel hadn’t mentioned any of it.

Ahead of him, he spotted the large two-lane bridge. Communist troops allied with Cuban and Soviet advisers regularly transported men and war material across the reinforced concrete bridge by vehicle, even T-55 tanks had been spotted rumbling over it during major offensives fought against the SADF.

Sean took a mental snap shot before ducking back underwater. The jungle on the sides of the river were thick and several search lights lit up the water approaching the bridge. The Angolan troops on the foot bridge had surely called ahead to their comrades as a warning, but deep down Deckard knew they had been compromised before ever crossing the Angolan border.

Someone had fed his patrol into the steel jaws of this death trap.

Maneuvering away from the steel obstacles, he finned under the search lights and surfaced just in time to grab onto one of the concrete pillars before the current swept him away. Pulling his mask up and onto his forehead, Sean spotted Viljeon being supported by Nel as they held onto another concrete pylon.

Even under ambient light Sean could tell that his team mates had not faired well. Corporal Viljeon was white as a sheet, blinking but barely conscious. Nel looked to be in better shape but completely exhausted. Above them they could hear the Angolans shouting excitedly as the search lights pitched back and forth. They were expecting to see the divers at any moment, but with the reeds running along the edges of the river and the razor wire strung everywhere, they hadn’t posted guards under the bridge itself.

“Hi, boet,” someone whispered behind him.

Turning around he saw Sergeant Terblanche with his backpack half open, pulling charges out and preparing them for placement on the pylons. Harder than woodpecker lips, the Boer soldiers were as tough as they came and would drive on with the mission as long as they were able.

“This is all that is left of us?”

Suddenly, two more heads wearing snorkels popped out of the water with the splash. It was Lieutenant Venter and Sergeant Droskie who caught a helping hand from Sean and Terlanche.

“Has anyone seen the rest of the patrol?” their commanding officer asked.

“That’s what we were just wondering,” Terblanche answered. “I think this is it.”

“Damn,” the officer cursed. “Someone should have known that this place was swarming with obstacles.”

“Viljeon was shot through the thigh back at the foot bridge,” the Sergeant explained. “We’ve got the bleeding under control but he’s going into shock.”

Venter froze for a moment, the water surging over his shoulders as he hung onto one of the bridge supports. The decision was in his hands now.

“Corporal Nel,” he whispered to the two men on the other side of the supports.

“Sir?”

“Put Viljeon on a guide rope and tie it off to yourself. Get under the surface and move to the extraction point as fast as you can.”

“I can still-”

“You have your orders Corporal. Leave your charges with us, you’ve done everything you can. Now get Viljeon out of here and wait for the the chopper. We’ll meet up with you soon enough.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Terblanche, Deckard, Droskie. Get to work.”

“Roger, Sir,” Sean replied, tearing open his own backpack.

Nel helped his injured team mate get his mask back on before placing the regulator in his mouth. Viljeon signaled that he was good-to-go despite looking anything but. Sean held his breath as they disappeared into the dark water. He hoped to see them at the extraction point, for both their sakes.

The spot lights were still sweeping across the river as they went to work. Every so often the Recces shuttered as one of the communist troops conducted some recon by fire, shooting into the river. Their commander watched nervously, all of them praying that they wouldn’t see a friend’s body bob up to the surface.

The shaped charges were lashed into place, the Recces making sure that each had good surface contact with the pylons. With half the patrol missing they were also short half of their charges. They had packed enough plastic explosives to take down the bridge even if they suffered a few casualties but operating at half strength left them at a serious disadvantage.

Based on his previous experience in Rhodesia and Vietnam, Sean knew that they probably wouldn’t have enough explosives to bring down the bridge immediately, however, they would probably be able to weaken the structural integrity enough that it would drop the first time another Soviet-made tank rumbled across.

The explosives were cone shaped, pressed into the hollow of a PVC pipe, the design being adopted from the early Rhodesian design. Each of the four remaining Recces attached their charge to a separate pylon before beginning to rig the initiation system, long water proof fuses that would have to be lit simultaneously.

Suddenly another round of AK fire sounded from the bridge followed by a chorus of cheers. A lone body floated the the surface, the wetsuit and dive gear illuminated by one of the search light before the corpse drifted under the bridge. Struggling against the current, Corporal Droskie reached out and snagged the body by the web gear.

The body was so mangled it was impossible to tell how Sergeant Weitsz had been killed. The long slash marks that tore through his wetsuit and into flesh indicated a losing battle when he’d become ensnared in the razor wire. Dozens of bullets holes punctured his torso and head sometime afterwords. Droskie looked as if he was going to be ill.

“Treblanche,” the officer snapped. “Take control of Weitsz. You will swim the body down stream to extraction.”

“My charge is already in place.”

“Then move out.”

The Recce relieved Droskie of his grim task and set about a final check on his explosives and personal equipment before diving underwater, towing the body with him. The deadweight would normally float on the surface, especially in a rubber wetsuit, but the Recce was able to let some air out of his late comrade’s BCD, the weight belt around Weitsz’s waist dragging him under.

The Recces were putting the finishing touches on the initiation system when Sean snapped around, eyes piercing into the reeds that lined the shore near the bridge’s foundation. Looking slightly above the reeds helped lined up the cones in the human eye, allowing slightly better night vision when looking at an object indirectly. Scanning the shore, he could have sworn that he heard something. Going back to work on his demolitions charge, sweat beaded on his forehead in the jungle humidity.

Hearing the crunch of broken reeds under a booted foot, Sean Deckard tore his 1911 pistol from the holster at his side. Holding on to the pylon with one hand he aimed into the reeds he had looked at previously, lining his sights up on a silhouette and squeezing the trigger. The .45 barked, kicking upwards in his hand. A Kalashnikov pattern rifle fell into the river with a splash.

Multiple muzzle blasts lit up the night, a trio of Angolan soldiers having crept down into the reeds and through the razor wire while the Recces were at work. Cement dust rained down on Sean as 7.62 autofire chipped away at the pillar his charge was set on.

Droskie fired his Browning Hi-Power, dropping one of the communists and sending him spinning down the hill leading to the water where he became entangled in a strand of razor wire. He screamed and thrashed, succeeded only in tearing open more wounds in his flesh.

Sean acquired a second target, squatting behind a boulder and bounced several .45 rounds off the rock. The bullets created a spark in the night, ricocheting as shrapnel into the gunman’s eyes that sent him howling to the ground.

Lieutenant Venter freed his own pistol and attempted to fire on the remaining Angolan but in the process lost hold of the pylon he had been working on. The current quickly swept him down stream as he attempted to swat his other hand out, desperate to find a hand hold. Flailing one final time, the officer was carried out from under the bridge where he was riddled with bullets from the troops that lay waiting above.

Sean’s aim was wavering as he fought against the current, firing from a one handed grip. Expending the rest of his magazine, the 1911’s slide locked to the rear on an empty chamber, a second corpse rolling down into the razor wire where he hung limply.

Now the one remaining Recce was looking to him, both he and Droskie feeling equally frightened and nearly alone.

“Light the charges,” Sean ordered as he tucked his pistol back into it’s holster. “We’re getting the fuck out of here.”

Flicking a zippo, he lit the time fuse running to the shaped charge, Droskie doing the same. Letting go of the pylons they allowed themselves to drift down to the charges set in place by Venter and Terblanche, repeating the process. With less than two minute lengths on each fuse, they were burning fast.

The two remaining Recces dived underwater just as the first grenades splashed down from above.

Rocked by the explosions, Sean tumbled through the water, enemy gunfire spiking through the river on his flanks. Feeling something tug at his dive gear, he suddenly found himself being dragged down to the bottom of the river. Trying to achieve neutral buoyancy became an impossibility with his BCD shot through. Pulling on his regulator for air was without result, the rebreather had been shot as well.

Fighting off his rising panic, Sean undid the strap on the rebreather and shrugged out of the harness. Before letting go, he reached down and unbuckled his weight belt with one hand, letting it disappear into the murky bottom. Kicking upwards, desperate for air, his head broke the surface with a splash.

He found that he was less than a hundred meters downstream from the bridge. Angolan soldiers swarmed over it like an ant hill that was getting rained on. Large search lights vectored in, settling on his head and shoulders bobbing in the water. A literal sitting duck.

A two and a half ton flat bed truck was parked in the middle of the bridge, a ZPU-2 Anti-Aircraft gun bolted to the bed.

Sean scowled as the twin barrels rotated into position, the gunner aiming straight at him.

Look for a release some time later this month!

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Featured Interview: Marc Lee, Singapore Infantryman turned Digital Artist

Please introduce us to your background, where did you grow up, what were your aspirations as a young man?

I grew up in Singapore, and was fed a steady diet of twigs and leaves, with the odd serving of milk and steroids. This allowed me to reach adult proportions faster than some of my other peers.But seriously, my parents were both graphic designers, and well respected in their field, which I would presume gave me my interest in art and design. As a kid, I was very much inclined like most other kids to be a Police officer ( I liked the look of the uniform) or a Fighter Pilot (Sadly our airspace is very limited)….but alas, they were not to be but I ended up in a career that I love nonetheless as a digital artist.

You served your mandatory  national service in the military of Singapore. Were you able to decide which unit you went to or were you “voluntold”?

Yup, thats right: 2 years plus of national service. Unfortunately, no we are not given the choice to choose which unit we go to after Basic Military Training, although we are given the option of showing an interest in a vocation, such as armor, infantry, airforce, etc. In the end, while I was originally selected to go into an MP unit, I ended up in the Guards formation. Our Guardsmen are basically elite infantry/ Heliborne assault troops, and a tier above regular infantry, and one tier below the local Commandos.

Marc at Basic Military Training or BMT

Was there was a selection process for your Recce unit, if so what was it like?

Unlike regular elite units in the US Armed forces where one might apply for a selection into a specific unit, our selection is much simpler, if crude: You simply get posted to the vocation, and if you cant make the cut during training, you are dropped. This is a conscript army after all, and I would assume looking for volunteers for a tough and demanding unit may not have the same number of keen participants like in the US, where most see getting into elite units as a form of personal pride and challenge. So, basically after 2 months plus of Basic, I was posted into the Guards formation. This in itself has another further 8 week training course, with phases and tests including weapons handling, squad based tactics, navigation and rappelling and heli-rappelling. And lots of hassling! I had a platoon sergeant ‘C’,  who was the devil during our course. He was a compact and rather short dude, about 1.6+ meters of height but could the man go. He would routinely drill us for PT and kit turnouts, nothing that was up to his spec was given a severe dose of PT and hassling. He was often seen training by himself at night past lights out jogging around the camp with his fieldpack filled with sand. That said, he was one of our best commanders and highly respected. Last I heard, he was in the Special Operations Force, our local equivalent of Delta.

Marc running the O-Course!

Upon successful completion of the Guards Conversion Course (GCC), my unit was then awarded our coveted khaki colored beret, and sent for BRCC (Brigade Reconnaissance Conversion Course). This was another 8 week or so of heavy lessons in bike riding (off road scramblers), terrain navigation, small unit tactics, and other tests like our 72klick navigation exercise. Once this last bit of training was successfully completed, we were awarded a boonie hat with the ‘Recon’ tab, and finally christened as full fledged ‘Recce Troopers’.

What was your unit’s official designation and what was it’s primary mission?

We were simply ‘HQ 7 Singapore Infantry Brigade – BRC’, and our primary role was for behind enemy lines observation and reconnaissance.

What type of training did your unit conduct?

We conducted lots and lots of PT back then, among other stuff like Engineer Recce training (learning to assess soil and terrain for intel), unarmed combat.

Marc’s Recce Platoon

Did you unit engage in any live patrols along the border?

Fortunately never! We never have to conduct any border patrols since the country is at peace and an island and thus surrounded by water. Thats the Navy’s problem!

What weapons and equipment were typically carried on patrol?

We were usually on bikes, to get from one area to another, but once in the AO, we stashed the wheels and continued on foot to the OP. My usual loadout as the designated radio dude would be our indigenous SAR-21 assault rifle, signal/radio set with battery, 2x extra batteries, thermal imaging device (bloody thing weighed a ton and we never ever took it out for use!), NVGs, rations and personal equipment like extra uniforms n kit, helmet (although we always wore soft covers) and other personal items. All in all, the pack would weigh about 40 odd kilos (about 88 pounds). Throw in the webbing, and rifle and you were looking at almost 50 kilos of extra weight per man. Oh, and canned food. While we were not allowed to bring them along, we always snuck a can or two out for any overnight exercises into the jungle. The rations, well, were mostly for shit, with green curry rice being the bane of any soldier unlucky enough to have landed it. Granted though, that a small bottle of tobasco sauce did wonders to make certain items edible. Tobasco, the saviour of foods.

What was the average day like as a Recce?

Average day in camp was pretty simple: Wake up, PT till lunch, break, lessons, PT somemore, dinner. Short break, and then usually some night PT. On outfield/jungle excercises, we would kit up, get a briefing and then ride out to a holding area for further mission briefing. When we were finally let loose, we would ride to within 5-7 klicks of the OP and then hoof it on foot, after camouflaging the bikes. Reach the OP, establish security and comms and we were in business.

What duty position(s) did you hold during your military service?

I was a corporal/radioman in my team of 4 men, and that was basically it! Unofficially, I was the company line photoshop guy, so anything to do with graphics or stuff, I was the one fiddling with the computer. Camp pass photo touchups a specialty. Whats that sir? Remove the pimple from the Colonel’s face? No problem. Occasionally, I would remove the mustache from a certain regimental major or warrant officer…this often led to interesting encounters with the individuals who then saw the result.

Marc showing off his tiger stripes during a training mission

Any tips or tricks of the trade that you can share with us?

I would think I would have much to learn from the other personnel serving in other armed forces across the world who are faced with much more immediate threats and dangers to their country. Ours is very much a peacetime armed forces, and only the regular career soldiers are sent into combat zones.

When did you begin to take up an interest in art? What are your inspirations?

Probably as a child, my earliest memories were of drawing aeroplanes, and tracing those old transformers box art. A sheet of paper and a pencil, and I was happy. Aeroplanes eventually turned into robots and tanks and superheroes, pencils became markers and brushes. Eventually, with the advent of the digital medium I eventually got into this line of work professionally.

It seems that your background as a soldier is closely intertwined with your interests as an artist. How has your military service influenced your art work?

I might actually say it was the other way around: that my interests as an artist is closely intertwined with my background of national service! If you may recall, I was originally aspiring to be a pilot when I was a kid but at some point and I collected and built scale models of planes and helicopters (the F-14 was my favourite!). But one day I thought I would try some soldiers for a change, and i happened upon a kit figures depicting US Special forces during the Somalia ‘Black Hawk Down incident(this was in 1995, 2 years after the event). They really struck a cord in me for some strange reason, and since that time, I have taken a very strong interest in Special Operations units. You will find that I have quite a few pieces of work depicting, or at least related to special ops units. While no longer having to serve full time in the military, I enjoy the occasional game of milsim paintball/woodsball when I can.

Similar to my question about the weapons and equipment you had in the military, what tools to do use as an artist?

Originally, I had started with the traditional pencil, paper, ink, paint etc. And then, with the introduction of computers, Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter, I started drawing with a mouse, tedious process that it was but it was new to me. That was before I learned of something called a ‘tablet’ which is basically a digital ‘pen and canvas’. Currently, I am using the Wacom Intuous 3 for my illustrations.

Could you describe your process of creation? How does your final art work come into being?

Depending on the requirements of the client and project, generally the process starts with an initial sketch, which is given to the client for preliminary edits and comments. This then moves into a refined sketch or illustration, with constant updates to the client for any edits and changes that maybe required. The constant updates are crucial to prevent any miscommunication and to keep the work accurate to what the client wants. At some point, the work will near its final stages, whereby final touches and edits are made with one last update to the client. Upon approval, the client is then given the final copy of the work, usually a softcopy file. Normal ‘Go to Woah’ time is a week or two, sometimes stretching up to a month.

What have you been up to since leaving the military? Are you a full time artist

After I left the army in 2006, I started work at an illustration studio: Imaginary Friends Studios (you may check them out @ www.imaginaryfs.com) for about a year and a half, before I stopped work to pursue my further studies at RMIT in Melbourne Australia. I graduated with a degree in Animation and Interactive Media in end 2009, and stayed for another year (its a beautiful city!), finally returning home in late 2010. I resumed work at my old studio as a full time digital artist, and am now churning out more works of art, hopefully some of which you may soon see at your local comic store or videogame shop. Anyhow, thank you for reading and I hope you guys enjoyed this simple little insight to my memories of military service. :)

Thank you for a great interview!  Marc did the cover of “Reflexive Fire” and definitely knocked it out of the park.  I would highly recommend his services to others.  You might want to hit him up for some work now, this guy has some talent and I think it’s only a matter of time before he gets picked up to do graphic novels or comic book covers for DC or some other major publisher.  You can view more of his art at http://rub-a-duckie.deviantart.com/

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