Seppuku has become an increasingly popular method of discipline in the Marines. Here, former-Sergeant Major Carlton Kent demonstrates proper decapitation techniques.
FOB GERONIMO, AFGHANISTAN – As the light of the full moon shone over the zen garden in back of the company combat operations center, Captain Jaisun Tyson presided over the seppuku, or ritual suicide, of his dishonorable retainer, Corporal Michael Melendez.
Prior to the event, Corporal Melendez had spent several hours in the garden, meditating over his failure to properly ensure that all his junior Marines had completed their Leading Marines MCI and his commanding officer's subsequent order to "go kill yourself".
Battalion Sergeant Major John Burke, known throughout the Marine Air Ground Task Force for his skills as a "second", stood behind Corporal Melendez holding an M1859 non-commissioned officers sword issued to him specifically for the occasion.
Removing his desert digital blouse, revealing a white PT shirt underneath which symbolized the purity of his intentions, Corporal Melendez carefully and meticulously folded the blouse so that only the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor were visible on top.
Corporal Melendez then placed the garment under his knees to ensure that he remained in the proper, dignified position.
Following the assent of Captain Tyson, Corporal Melendez drank the two traditional farewell cups of sake, heated to the customary 98.3 °C in an MRE flameless ration heater.
As there were no virgins located on the base, a local Afghan National Police official had brought his dancing boy to record Corporal Melendez's death poem, which he dictated to the boy:
The swept office floor, with the lone ant marching past, smells like Simple Green. Though none noticed him but me, he dragged that bee all the same.
Following the poem, the Company Police Sergeant brought an unlacquered wooden table with Corporal Melendez' M9 Bayonet.
Handing off his Common Access Card to the Battalion Supply Officer, Corporal Melendez picked up his bayonet, looked wistfully at the garden's shrine to Colonel Chesty Puller, and seemed to collect his thoughts.
At this point, Corporal Melendez yelled the traditional infantry kiai of "EAS!" and drove his bayonet deep into his left side below the belly.
Slowly cutting upwards diagonally, Corporal Melendez then repeated the process on his right side until his chest bore the crossed rifles that symbolize the rifleman ethic of the Marine infantryman.
Standing behind him, Sergeant Major Burke then brought his NCO sword down in a smooth motion, neatly severing seven-eighths of Corporal Melendez' neck.
For a moment a silence hung over the garden, broken only by the low gushing sound of blood flowing from the neck and head of the late Corporal Melendez.
Sergeant Major Burke then wiped his sword on an "Honor Courage Commitment" card, which he presented to the Division Sergeant Major, who had flown in from Camp Leatherneck to witness the event.
The dishonored sword was subsequently given to the Afghan National Police official to use on convicts.
Captain Tyson then returned to his ceremony of viewing the heads of junior enlisted Marines taken by his Company First Sergeant in lieu of non-judicial punishment.