Terminal Lance #139 “Semantics”
August 9, 2011
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure if the whole “Senior Lance Corporal” billet is even a thing outside of the infantry. Typically, for MOS’ that are not infantry, they tend to pick up at a rate that makes sense. In general, they are able to match their rank to their corresponding billets. In the infantry, where the cutting score system is virtually broken, a series of individual Lance Corporal billets becomes a necessity as it becomes laughably impossible to pick up the coveted rank of E-4.
A boot Marine will most likely pick up Lance Corporal within the first few months of entering the fleet. This, however much your Battalion Commander may suggest, does not make them equal to the person of the same rank that has been on a combat deployment. The rank of Lance Corporal itself becomes divided into ‘Boot’ or ‘Junior Lance’ and ‘Senior Lance’. No one argues this hierarchy, because it becomes a necessity as you realize that two people of the same rank do not make them equals, when one of them has a vast wealth of life-changing experience to draw upon when the other simply does not.
As I mentioned, I’m honestly not sure if this applies to the POG ranks. From what I gathered in my last 6 months of contract time at Combat Camera, I don’t think it does. While yes, the 4641 Combat Photographer faces the same cutting score issues as the average grunt, there simply isn’t the vast sea of Lance Coolies that necessitate the divide in rank as there is in the infantry. As well, and this is just anecdotal observations, I don’t think most POG’s regard a combat deployment as a rite of passage in the same regard as we typically do. That isn’t to imply that a POG with a deployment isn’t given a special value, but in the infantry life it is a necessity. This, of course, is due to the fact that infantry battalions are typically involved in a regular deployment cycle that facilitates such semantics; as well as the fact that most Marines are stuck in the same battalion for at least two deployments, or usually even their entire enlistment.
Anyway, back to the strip; I’m not entirely sure if this happens to everyone, but it certainly happened to my battalion a number of times. Every so often they would try to crack down on hazing, making us ditch words like “boot” and “senior Lance Corporal”. Whether or not the command actually believed it or just did it to check the box, I suppose I’ll never know. In any case, things like that never stick for long, as the natural order of the grunt world falls into place within a few weeks or even days of the lecturing.
In other news, I’m going to pimp the shit out of my upcoming book release.
Available August 15th!
Knife Hands feature strips 1-100, complete with the blog posts. As well, it features a ton of extra notes and commentary, some extra strips and even some strips previously only published in the Marine Corps Times newspaper!!! This book is full of awesome, so make sure you pick it up. The price has yet to be 100% finalized, but we’re leaning toward $19.95.
Also, we’re planning on doing some book signings next month, so you’ll have to have something for me to sign… I’m not signing your dick.