Marine Corps Boot Camp FAQs

The First Phone Call

Don’t be offended when your recruit calls you for the first time and isn’t able to chat. The recruit is given a scripted response: “I have arrived safely at MCRD Parris Island or MCRD San Diego. Please do not send any food or bulky items. I will contact you in 3 to 5 days via postcard with my new mailing address. Thank you for your support. Goodbye for now.”

They are allowed to say this and nothing more, to provide you with the peace of mind that your son or daughter has arrived safely and their training has started.

Sending Mail

Write your recruit as much as you can, sending letters helps to boost your recruit’s morale and provides motivation to finish. DO NOT decorate the letters, spray them with perfume, or send large care packages or unnecessary items. This will draw the Drill Instructor’s attention onto your recruit and you do not want that.

Here is an example of how to address a letter to your Recruit:

Recruit John E. Doe


1st BN, Alpha Co. PLT _ _ _ _

36001 Midway Ave

San Diego, CA  92140-(plus platoon #)

Recruit, NOT Marine

Your recruit is not a Marine until he/she completes boot camp and receives their USMC EGA (Eagle, Globe and Anchor).

The Crucible

The Crucible is a test which every recruit must pass to become a Marine. It takes place over 54 hours and tests every recruit physically, mentally and morally. The Crucible includes food and sleep deprivation, long marches, combat assault courses, leadership reaction courses, and team building situations. Recruits must work together to solve programs and overcome obstacles along the way. It is considered a right of passage that recruits never forget.

Family Day

Family day begins with a MOTO run (motivational run) where the recruits complete a 4-mile run that passes by all four training battalions. While passing the battalions, selected recruits ring each Battalion Bell as the rest of the company runs to a cadence of their Drill Instructors. Parents and family members line the streets eager to find their Recruit running by. After the run, recruits are provided with an on-base liberty day, so they can show their families around, share their experiences and introduce them to fellow recruits and Drill Instructors.

Graduation Day

Family and friends are strongly encouraged to attend graduation and watch their recruit become publicly recognized as United States Marine. It’s a three-day event with

  • Family Orientation on Wednesday
  • Family Day on Thursday
  • Graduation on Friday.

Plan on arriving Tuesday evening. There is no limit to the amount of guests the recruit has on Family Day or Graduation. Plan on walking around and wear comfortable shoes and dress casually, you’ll want to see the depot and attend sessions with your Marine.

MCRD Parris Island Graduation Schedule

MCRD San Diego Graduation Schedule

Travel for Graduation

Your recruit graduates boot camp after completing 13 weeks of training. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on plane tickets in advance, but we recommend waiting until the 10th week in case your recruit becomes injured or sick, because their graduation date may be pushed back. 

Leading up to graduation your recruit will be your best source of information. Writing letters is the best way to communicate with them on planning travel and their 10-day leave travel arrangements. If you’re planning on your Marine traveling back with your family, make sure to send a hard copy of the travel plans to your recruit, so they understand what is going on. It’s advised to give your Marine enough time to travel in case of weather or travel delays, your Marine will never want to be late to report late for training.

Recruiters Assistance after Boot Camp

While on their 10-day leave, Marines can be selected for Permissive Recruiter Assistance Support Program. This Marine will spend time in their hometown assisting the Recruiters, helping speak with young men and women about joining the Marine Corps and what to expect. This Marine will also assist with prepping the new poolees physically and mentally for their recruit training.

10 days leave after Boot Camp Graduation

Your Marine is given one-day travel and 10 days of leave before they are required to report for their school. The Marine will have a copy of their orders before they leave the recruit depot giving them specific instructions of where and when they need to be at their School of Infantry (SOI) training.

What’s after Boot Camp?

After your Marine has graduated boot camp, they will need to complete their next phase of training at the School of Infantry, where all Marines attend ‘every Marine a rifleman’. Then they will move on to their MOS training (Military Occupational Specialty) where they will attend their job specific school. Each school differs in length, location and requirements and once the training is complete, your Marine will be assigned to a Permanent Duty Station where they will begin their career.

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