The worst punishment for Marines isn’t paperwork or menial labor, it’s the stuff that truly gets under the skin. There are few offenses worse in the Corps than being a boot–in fact, I would argue that there are none. Boots are the lowest of the low, they have earned no respect and thus deserve none. Once you escape the proverbial event horizon of boot-hood, you are generally treated as a real person again. To be denigrated back to that lowly status is to be stripped away of all pride and purpose.
This is the worst punishment.
To be treated like a fucking boot.
I can recall shortly after my first deployment to Iraq, we arrived to find brand new boots, still smelling of third phase and Cobra 65 ready and waiting to take our packs up to our barracks rooms for us. They were small, afraid, and replied quickly with “yes, Lance Corporal” any time you said anything to them.
Being as salty as I was (naturally after my first deployment), I got a bit lazy about cleaning my room. I happened to get lazy on the wrong day, as the battalion Sergeant Major walked through the barracks while I was out at the armory or some such. He wasn’t as entertained with my lax cleaning standards as I was, and threw me on a working party with a bunch of boots at the battalion headquarters. Of course, I had it coming, and the best part was when senior Staff and Officers that knew me from Iraq would walk by and see me mopping the floor and ask “What did you do?” with a laugh.
You’d better believe my room was clean after that.
It’s an effective form of punishment.