Terminal Lance #342 “Junior Enlisted Warrior”
August 26, 2014
I mean who doesn’t hate boots?
Okay, some Marines definitely take the boot-hating thing a bit too far, but it’s kind of just the natural order of things. The infantry hierarchy of boots and seniors is there for a reason, but it’s mostly because of the infamously unforgiving cutting score system that sees a lot of infantry Marines stay Lance Corporals their entire career. Since rank is essentially thrown out the window in a squad composed entirely (or mostly) of Lance Corporals, you need some way to distinguish who rates and who doesn’t. Someone needs to be on working parties and clean shit up at 0530, and until you’ve gone on a deployment, it’s going to be you.
Being a boot in an infantry battalion is probably the worst place to find yourself as an unsuspecting new Marine. You spend three months at boot camp, learning simply how to be a Marine, then two months at SOI learning your job. You’re hopeful and optimistic about going to the fleet; you think after 5 months of arduous training that you’ll finally be treated like a real Marine.
When you arrive at your unit in front of a bunch of pissed off Lance Corporals that just got back from a tiresome deployment overseas, you quickly find yourself at the bottom of the food chain once again.
I posted something on the FB page a couple weeks ago regarding boots, and some people mentioned that they would “never stand at parade rest for a Lance Corporal,” and “if they said I had to, I would laugh in their face.”
This is my general reaction to that sentiment:
I thought the same thing before I hit the fleet… that only Corporals and above were to be addressed by rank and stood at parade rest for. It was about 30 seconds after I arrived at MCBH Kaneohe Bay on that fateful night, with about 100 drunk Lance Corporals fresh from Iraq were standing over the 4 of us just waiting for an excuse to beat the shit out of us, that I quickly changed my attitude toward the idea. Pride is a big deal in the infantry, and until you’ve been through what they have, you simply don’t rate. You are new, you aren’t to be trusted, and you are literally hated until you can prove you’re worth something.
After about 6 months of training and another 6 months in Iraq, we came home, got our own boots, and the cycle started all over again.
And of course, amongst my peers, there was always at least one guy that just absolutely, vehemently, hated boots.
On an unrelated note, I’m going to leave you with this tweet I saw tonight.