Most importantly: don't touch it. It's not that the Marine sergeant won't accept a boot who smells like a soldier, it's just that you don't want to get that Marine funk all over you.
There you are, happily performing a police call through the training areas and thinking about how great it will be to get off at 1600 when you all are done, just like first sergeant promised. Then, you see something that dooms your whole night.
A single Marine sits in a pile of crayon wrappers and empty Rip It cans. Looks like a lack of Marine oversight just became your problem. Here's what you do next:
1.First, look for a Marine sergeant
The hat will look like these ones.
(U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Justin Rodriguez)
Hopefully, the Devil Dog has a devil master (or whatever they call themselves) nearby who can police him up and bundle him out of there. Marine sergeants can be quickly identified by the loud string of profanities, like an Army sergeant but with a strangely rigid hat on. They will likely punctuate their profanities with, "OORAH!"
2.Don't touch it
Too much running around in the woods, too much beer, not enough showering.
(U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Antonio Rubio)
If you can't find a Marine sergeant, then, for the love of god, don't touch the boot. It's not that the sergeants won't accept it after it gets some Army on it, it's that you don't want to get any Marine on you. Sure, Marines are famous for some of their grooming standards, like haircuts, but there are only so many pull-ups you can do with beer sweating out of your pores before becoming a walking Petri dish.
3.Feed it (MREs, not DFAC)
You can let it pick its own, but remind it that Army MREs have no crayons whatsoever.
(U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Scott L. Eberle)
The easiest thing to do with a lost Marine is get it some food while you're waiting for some embarrassed platoon leader to show up. Don't give it DFAC food or it'll spend all day complaining about how bad the food is in their chow halls and kennels. Give it MREs — the older the better. If you have ones with Charms, give them those, but expect them to throw the Charms away and then tell you how cursed they are.
No, it doesn't matter that the boot is too young to have possibly been deployed, let alone deployed with Charms. They have all seen Generation Kill, just like all soldiers have seen Black Hawk Down and all sailors have seen Down Periscope.
4.Throw it into a pool or small lake — NOT AN OCEAN!
Don't worry. They won't drown. They're super good with water.
(U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Scott Thompson)
If the Marine has been with you for more than an hour or two, then it probably needs a swim or its pelt will dry out. The trick here is to find a small body of water, nothing larger than a large lake.
If you throw it into an ocean or sea, it will likely try to swim out and find the "fleet." No one is entirely sure, but the fleet is likely the original Marine spawning grounds. More research is required. But Marines who attempt to swim to the fleet will nearly always drown.
5.Give it something loud to play with
Yeah, these'll make some booms. The machine gun .50-cals are good as well.
(U.S. Army Spc. Andrew McNeil)
You can ask the Marine what type it is; artillery, infantry, water purification specialist, etc. Regardless of their answer, know that all Marines like loud noises. If there are any rifle, machine gun, or howitzer ranges going on, that's ideal. Just dig the Marine a small hole just behind the firing line and let it lounge there. Hearing protection is recommended but not required.
6.If it has to stay overnight, build a turducken of cages
They like being in the cages. It reminds them of home.
(U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Charles Santamaria)
If night's about to fall and there's still no one there to claim the Marine, you're gonna have to house it overnight. If your base has a veterinarian unit or working dog kennels, that's fine. If not, you might have to house it in the barracks. If you do so, you need to have two locks between the Marine and any alcohol. Get a supply cage or dog kennel (large) if need be.
7.If all else fails, ship it back to the nearest Marine base
The other Devil Dogs will be happy to see it.
(U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jessica Quezada)
It'll probably whine about whether or not it's a Hollywood Marine or whatever, but address it to whicever Marine installation is closest. Just pack it up with some dip and cigarettes and its mouth will be too busy to complain for a few hours. Don't worry, you can't put too much in there. Their tolerance is too high for a lethal dose.
And they'll be happier back on the Marine farms. They like to be with their own kind.