If there’s one word that can get even the surliest (especially) Marines riled up, it’s “boot”. There is no greater insult in the Corps than to be labeled a boot. That is, after you’ve eliminated the status from yourself at least. Of course, the average boot Marine isn’t going to complain much about being called a boot, but that’s beside the point.
Once you’ve returned home from your first (or second) combat deployment, “boot” status is generally removed. The actual definition of a “boot” is somewhat sketchy, depending on who you ask. For some, it’s those that don’t have Combat Action Ribbons, for others (most) it’s simply those that have never been on a deployment of any kind. This, of course, is in infantry terms. When you start getting into the POG world it becomes a little stranger, since the majority of them don’t go on regular deployment cycles. For most grunts though, most POG’s are boots automatically, which of course isn’t always true–but this is a comic about grunts after all.
The “boot” label is all about experience and pride–as is most things in the Marine Corps. To be called a boot is a direct punch at the grunt’s pride, and if you do so without caution it could end very poorly for you.
So if you’re looking for fighting words, look no further.