(This article appeared in the Novmeber 19, 1999 issue of
the Observation Post, the base newspaper for Twentynine
1stLt Jason D. Grose
1st Tank Bn Adjutant
Driving home the other day, I saw a sight that started me
thinking. Suspending on a wire, there were a set of boots dangling
in the dry air of Twentynine Palms right across from some enlisted
barracks. Many thoughts went through my head and I want to share
some of them with you.
What did it mean? In my years in the Marine Corps, I have
seen it and I always thought it was a symbol of some Marine
that had a rough go of it in the Corps and, as the last act
of defiance, decided to show the Marine Corps what he thought
of the whole setup. I have also heard that it is a celebration
and a final dedication of years served in the most rigorous
of lifestyles. Be that as it may, I took another view of this
scene. I really do not think it is fair for the BOOTS!!
I have a pair of boots that I love, as much as a grown man
can love footwear. But it is more than that. I was given these
boots (right upside the head, as I recall) on July 28th, 1987
at MCRD San Diego. These boots saw the Hell of bootcamp and
the endless days of NCO School. They reported for duty in Saudi
Arabia during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. They marched through
the NROTC program at the University of Washington and stumbled
through the confusion of Officerís Candidate School.
When I was commissioned on 1997, I took a moment with these
wondrous leather chariots and promised, once again, that I would
retire them if they got me through one more test. So with boots
on feet, I reported to The Basic School for six more months
of boot-crushing training. It seemed that I always made that
promise to the boots and every time, I broke my promise. But
true and faithful, my boots were always waiting there, up for
the challenges we would face together.
Through countless rifle ranges, humps, NBC trails, Volklauf
races, boots and utility runs, obstacle courses, my boots were
always present. From my first promotion to Lance Corporal to
my latest to 1st Lieutenant, these particular boots have adorned
my feet as they will be for every subsequent promotion and my
Would I ever throw these veteranís up on a wire to dangle
until some civilian has to be summoned to cut them down and
then get thrown in a dumster? I would sooner spit on the grave
of Chesty Puller.
So if you are thinking of throwing your boots up, think
twice and attempt to appreciate the boots that have been through
all the highs and lows you, too, have experienced.
If you foolishly decide to ignore my advice on this matter
and I witness this disrespect, you had better be more fleet
of foot that I am because I will be wearing my boots. After
all they have been through, I would not be responsible for their