After October 1, the traditional black or green jungle boots of the Marines "may no longer be worn," according to new rules from Corps HQ. Instead, Marines are going to have to pay up for two new pairs of newfangled, next-generation footwear.That means no more spit-shining: these new boots are rough-side-out. And they're more comfortable, too, the government promises, with special padding to reduce injuries."But with the government-issued boots hard to find amid lagging supply - especially in the average sizes of 9-Regular to 10.5-Wide - Marines might have to dig deeper into their wallet for commercial boots," a story from Camp Pendleton notes.
"I just can't find my size," said Gunnery Sgt. Steven L. Soares, battery gunny for Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment...A former recruiter, Soares says he repeatedly has had to ship boots back through the mail to get the right size. At this time, the only boots in his size are the commercial safety boots."113 bucks?" Soares said. "I don't know, that's kind of outrageous to me."Boots are available for any Marine or sailor who needs to buy a pair for the Oct. 1 deadline, said Laura L. Scott, a supervisor at the 22 Area military clothing store here. But finding the less expensive government-issued boots can be hit or miss."There is a $37 to $55 difference between commercial boots and the government-issued ones," Scott said on a day when several sizes of government-issued boots were out of stock. "Most Marines buy the cheaper ones, but some will buy the better boots, especially if they are going to deploy."Commercial boots are more expensive because of the quality, explained Scott. The boot soles are cemented instead of glued and the stitching is reinforced.Ummm... One quick question: why the hell should Marines -- some of them on their way to Iraq -- have to buy their own boots? Yeah, I know. They're forced to buy all sorts of personal gear. But it's not right. These guys don't make very much as it is. And to say they're working hard is the understatement of the eon. We've spent, what, $200 billion on Iraq? Don't tell me we can't find some boot money in there, somewhere.