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USMC Training at Parris Island and San Diego

Marine Corps boot camp recruit training is a grueling program that turns young men and women into young Marines. During a 12 week period, a recruit will undergo training in a variety of subjects and skills including core values, military history, swimming and water survival training, first aid, hand-to-hand combat, leadership training, marksmenship, Marine Corps drill and more. Similar to the way people are proud of the hometown they were born and raised in, Marines tend to be proud of the recruit depot where they were made into a Marine.

USMC Recruit Depot Parris Island (aka MCRD Parris Island)

Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island South Carolina Sign

Photo By: Tiffany Renee

The Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina is where all men who live east of the Mississippi get their training. All women recruits, regardless of where they enlist, receive their Marine Corps boot camp training at the Parris Island Recruit Depot.

Less than half of Parris Island is actually habitable; this should be a source of pride for Parris Island Marines. Out of the 8,095 acres that make up the recruit depot, only 3,262 are habitable. The “uninhabitable” areas are mainly salt marsh; a lovely cozy place for a Marine recruit habitat…yikes.

Male Marines started being trained in Parris Island in 1915, while female Marines didn’t start training there until 1949. Male Marines west of the Mississippi may request to train at Parris Island if they so wish.

Parris Island is also home to the Drill Instructor School where selected Staff Non-Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO’s)are trained on how to successfully train young men and women into becoming Marines.

(Random fun fact: The hurricane scene from Forrest Gump where Lieutenant Dan was being crazy was filmed in the town that Parris Island is now a part of called Port Royal.)

USMC Recruit Depot San Diego (aka MCRD San Diego)

All men who enlist for the Marine Corps west of the Mississippi will end up at the USMC Recruit Depot at San Diego. Obviously, this recruit depot is located in…San Diego, California! All of the recruit training takes places between the San Diego Bay and Interstate 5. This is where more than 21,000 recruits are trained every single year. It’s also the home of theĀ  Marine Corps’ Recruitor School and the Western Recruiting Region’s Drill Instructors School.