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Ladder or Ladderway


Lance Corporal

The rank between private first class and corporal. It is not a noncommissioned officer rank and the insignia is a single chevron with crossed rifles beneath it worn on each sleeve of the uniform. The pay grade is E-3 and is equivalent to a private first class in the Army (who wears a single chevron and a rocker) and an airman first class in the Air Force (who wears two inverted chevrons with a star in a circle covering the points of the chevrons). In the Navy and Coast Guard the rank is seaman (three angular stripes in a box on the left sleeve only).

Landing Party Manual

The complete book of what to do and when to do it that guided the Marine Corps through most of the 20th Century. Now obsolete, copies are prized by professional Marines for the wealth of information and simple approach to leadership, morale, discipline, warfighting and professionalism.


Light Armored Vehicle. Adopted in the early 1980's. Eight wheeled, fast, turreted, made by General Motors of Canada


Light Antitank Weapon. It was contained in a collapsible, disposable fiberglass tube.


Load Bearing Equipment. Often "web gear" worn by infantry personnel to hold packs and tools and weapons and first aid kits and whatever is worn by the person in the field.


Little Brown Fucking Machine. A pejorative term for South Pacific island girls Marines encounter while on liberty.


Load Bearing Vest. A vest that holds magazines of ammunition, grenades and a cartridge belt to which are attached other equipment such as first aid kit, canteens and cup. See 782 Gear.


Small landing craft used to transport Marines from ship to shore.

Lead Turd

Bad idea or an idea that is going nowhere fast.


A Marine. The phrase comes from the early days of the Marine Corps when enlisted men were given strips of leather to wear around their necks. The popular concept has it that the leather was to protect the neck from a saber slash. Truth is that it was to keep the Marines from slouching in uniform by forcing them to keep their head up.

Leatherneck Magazine

A magazine published for Marines by the Marine Corps Association.

Leatherneck Square

(Vietnam) The area south of the DMZ with the following     outposts as its corners: Con Tien (NW), Cam Lo Hill (SW), Cua Viet (SE) and Gia Linh (NE). Later in the war the Marines built "Ocean View" to the east of Gia Lihn along the ocean for better control of enemy troop movement.


An authorized absence from duty. Marines earn 30 days of leave each year and are encouraged to take the time off.

Lee, Lewis G.

Thirteenth Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps having served from June 30, 1995 until June 30, 1999. He was born Jan. 19, 1950 in North Carolina.

  Lee, Robert E.

  General, Confederate States of America, during the Civil War.  When still a Federal colonel while on leave in Washington, DC in October of 1859 he was picked to command the forces at Harper's Ferry where the abolitionist John Brown had taken hostages and holed up in the firehouse.  A detachment of Marines were sent from Marine Headquarters at the Washington Navy Yard under the command of First Lieutenant Israel Greene.  Lee was in civilian clothing during the expedition but he was without doubt in command of Marines. See Harper's Ferry.


(First World War - Korea) Canvas. leather or cloth bindings, strapped, buckled, tied or wrapped to the ankles for support and to keep out mud, snow and water. By the Korean War the Army had abandoned the use of them but the Marine Corps retained them for their distinctive look. When a dispatch from a Chinese Communist general was found in which he said ordered his troops not to engage the "yellow legs" and to seek out the less fierce Army units, the U. N. command ordered the Marines to stop wearing the leggings.

Lejeune, John Archer

Thirteenth Commandant of the Marine Corps. Legendary World War I commander he was the first Marine to command Army troops. Born in Louisiana on Jan 10, 1867 he died on Nov. 20, 1942. He was first appointed Major General Commandant on July 1, 1920 and was the first Commandant to be reappointed, serving until March 4, 1929. Commandant Lejeune started the tradition of the Marine Corps Birthday Ball with Marine Corps Order 47 which is still read annually. He was also a graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy.

Lentz, Anne

First female commissioned officer in the Marine Corps in 1943.  She was ultimately promoted to captain.


Leave and Earnings Statement.

Letterhead BG

See Tombstone Brigadier General.


An authorized absence from duty. Usually the time when not at work or on duty. Liberty is granted by the local commander and may be as long as 96 consecutive hours. It does not count as leave.

Liberty Hound

A Marine who is thought to be over consumed with liberty.

Lick 'em and Stick 'em

Placing paper patches over holes in targets from the butts. The papers were coated with water-activated glue and had to be licked before sticking on the target.  Also: Lick and Stick, Taste and Paste.


Another acceptable word for cover.

Lieutenant Colonel

The fifth grade of commissioned officer indicated by a silver oak leaf on the collar of the uniform. The pay grade is O-5 and is the same in the Army and the Air Force. In the Navy and the Coast Guard the rank is commander and is additionally indicated with three broad gold bands topped by an insignia representing a branch (usually a gold star in the Navy and a gold shield in the Coast Guard) on shoulder boards or cuffs.

Lieutenant Commander

The Navy and Coast Guard rank equivalent to a Marine major.

Lieutenant General

Third of the flag officer ranks indicated by three silver stars on the collar of the uniform. The pay grade is O-9 and is the same in the Army and the Air Force. In the Navy and Coast Guard the rank is vice admiral and is additionally indicated with a two inch gold band topped with three one inch gold bands and a gold star in the Navy and gold shield in the Coast Guard on coat cuffs. Mostly gold shoulder boards sport a silver fouled anchor and three silver stars.


A person apparently intending to serve on active duty until retirement. One with extensive experience. See Refil.


All rope and cord used on board ship is called a line.

Line Crossing Ceremony

Held when a ship crosses the Equator. King Neptune and his court preside as Polliwogs are turned into Shellbacks. Similar ceremonies are held when a ship crosses other international lines.

Line of Communication

(Dominican Republic) A series of roads leading from San Ysidro Airport west to the American Embassy in San Domingo, Dominican Republic and passing the Presidential Palace. The eastern half was controlled by the Army's 82nd Airborne Division while the western half was Marine occupied. In the Army half, troops were hiding behind walls, firing at ghosts and on high alert. In the Marine sector, the Marines were being housed and fed by the locals who were doing laundry for them while the Marines maintained control of the street from the cabana chairs on the front porches.

Line Officer

A Navy officer who is “with a ship of the line” which is every officer not a staff officer such as supply, medical, judge advocate, chaplain, etc.


In the mid-20th Century the lipstick worn by Women Marines was all the same shade-Montezuma Red. The color survives in the color of the cord on the female enlisted Marine’s garrison cap.

Lipstick Lieutenant

A pejorative term for a Marine warrant officer. The term is derived from the fact that the insignia for warrant officers are the first and second lieutenants’ gold and silver bars with stripes of red. Well liked warrant officers are informally addressed as gunner, all others are addressed as Mister or warrant officer.

Liquid Asshole


Lister Bag

(Vietnam) A long canvas bag suspended on a tripod or from a tree limb containing drinking water. The canvas would "sweat" and provide natural cooling for the water.


The tank crewman on a gun tank responsible for operating the .30 cal. machine gun and loading the 90 mm cannon.

Lock and Load

The firing line command to put the weapon's safety to the on position and load the weapon with ammunition and await further orders from the range officer. In combat an informal command to prepare to fight.

  Lock, Stock and Barrel

A complete rifle consists of a lock (trigger and hammer mechanism), a stock and a barrel, thus the term means a complete package or group of anything.

  Lowery, Lou

  Staff Sergeant of Marines and photographer for Leatherneck magazine during World War II in the Pacific Theater.  He photographed the FIRST flag raising on Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima.  Lou, a co-founder of the United States Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association, died on April 15, 1987 and rests in the National Cemetery at Quantico, VA.


(Vietnam) Listening Post usually set up at night to provide warning of an enemy attack.


Leather Personnel Carriers. Shoes or boots.


Landing Platform, Helicopter. World War II aircraft carriers converted to accomodate squadrons of helicopters which could transport Marines behind enemy lines while others attacked from the beachhead.


See Landing Party Manual.


Landing Ship, Dock. A ship designed by Admiral John Sidney McCain specifically for amphibious operations. Its center is a floodable dock where Marines and their equipment can be loaded into landing craft which can then be floated out the aft door and onto the beach.


Landing Ship, Tank. A ship designed to run its bow onto a beach with its bow doors open and discharge Marines and their equipment directly into battle.


A commercial lubricant used to protect the wear points of weapons.


Amphibious Tractor (Amtrack) transported Marines from an LST or LPD to and over the beachhead, if necessary. Called Large Vulnerable Target, they were renamed AAVP-7 "Tuna Boats".


Helicopter Landing Zone. A field position usually designated with a name (LZ Lark, LZ Betty, LX Mouse). to another web site with more info.
Indicates additional reading on this topic.


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© Glenn B. Knight, 2002-2011

Portions of this dictionary and its associated list of quotations may be quoted without further permission of the copyright holder so long as an appropriate citation is given. Citation should include "Unofficial Unabridged Dictionary for Marines" and the URL from which the quote is taken.

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