Terminal Lance #320 “Roomba”
May 2, 2014
Boots, much like Lieutenants, are easy targets to make fun of in the grand scheme of things. Of course, boots and Lieutenants are not always mutually exclusive terms. You could probably make an entire comic strip series about boots being boot and senior Lance Corporals fucking with them. Boots gonna boot, after all.
I recall our Battalion Commander trying to convince us all that “Senior Lance Corporal is not a rank,” it was mostly met with rolled eyes and groans, because he was completely wrong. In the world of the infantry, rate tends to be a lot more important than rank, and for good reason. Corporal is a rank that is handed out based on a cutting score. For certain MOS’s, that can be laughably low. The infantry is notorious for maintaining high cutting scores, so when you have some boot Corporal that’s never deployed trying to tell a “Senior Lance Corporal” what to do, it doesn’t usually go so well. In my platoon, we had very few NCO’s. In fact, my entire section was nothing but Lance Corporals more than once, with a Lance Corporal section leader and Lance Corporals filling all of the billets of Team Leader, Gunner, etc. With the cutting score system so completely fucked, it becomes a necessity to value experience over what kind of piece of metal you have pinned to your collar.
Sure, I was the same rank as my section leader when I was a boot, but he was filling a Staff Sergeant billet and had already been to Iraq when I got there. It makes no sense to undermine his knowledge and experience simply because the system says we’re the same pay grade. I was his boot, and I treated him with the respect he deserved.
A lot of people have told me they don’t “believe in” the Senior Lance Corporal/Boot system.
They were pretty much all POG’s.
As far as hazing goes, obviously there’s a thin line between acceptable fucking with someone and being a shitty person. Of course, we all like to have a good laugh here at Terminal Lance at the expense of new Marines, but hazing for no reason is usually not the way to go. Instilling fear into your subordinates is not as important as instilling respect, and they are not the same thing.
It’s the same reason I don’t hit my dog. My dog is very obedient; people often ask me how I got him to be so well-behaved and listen to me, and the answer is that I’ve never hit him in his entire life. He’s not afraid of me and he trusts me, so when I tell him to do something, he does it. When I raise my hand in front of my dog, he doesn’t flinch, because he’s never had a reason to. My relationship with my dog is built on love and trust, not fear.
Not that boots are dogs, but they’re fucking boots so who cares.