Category Archives: USMC Recruit Depot Parris Island (RDPI)

Parris Island Training Schedule

The training schedule for a Parris Island recruit is a three-month long period where the recruit will progress through three distinct training phases. The training schedule for the Parris Island Recruit Depot is very similar to the schedule of the recruits training at Recruit Depot San Diego.

Before the three phases begin, recruits go through a processing period that takes up the first few days.

Phase 1

weeks 1-4

Recruits are trained in military & Marine Corps history, customs and courtesies, basic first aid, uniforms, and leadership and core values. The recruits will be trained in hand-to-hand combat skills through the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP), which is comprised of several martial arts styles.

Phase 2

weeks 5-8

Weeks 5-8 include water survival and swim qualification recruit training. Historically, the Marine Corps has been an amphibious service “on land and sea”. These weeks also focus on initial written testing and initial drill. If you’ve watched any videos about recruit training, you’ll see recruits scaling down a rappel tower or filing out of a gas chamber. Recruits also begin training on the fundamentals of Marine Corps marksmanship with the standard M16 A2 service rifle. Phase 2 ends with Team Week where recruits perform various maintenance tasks around the recruit depot and work on final drill.

Phase 3

weeks 9-12

Phase 3 starts out with A-Line/Basic Warrior Training. Training will focus on basic field and combat skills through various exercises including a day/movement course, target exercises, a combat endurance course, a practical application evaluation, final drill, written testing, ceremony practices and graduation.

Parris Island History

A History of Parris Island Recruit Depot

Marines first landed on Parris Island in 1891 when First Sergeant Richard Donovan led a security detachment in the area. The town that Parris Island is now a part of, called Port Royal, was a Naval Station that his unit was attached to.

There are still some military structures and homes from that era standing. They formed the center of the Parris Island Historic District and include the commanding general’s home. All of these building in the Historic District are on the National Register of Historic Places.

It didn’t become an official Marine recruit depot for a good 20+ years. It wasn’t officially designated until 1915, but Marine training has continued ever since. Back then (prior to 1929), there were no roads leading into the island. Recruits had to take a ferry from the Port Royal docks to the Parris Island docks. In 1929, a bridge and a causeway were built over Archer Creek and provided Parris Island with a road connection.

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 the  Marine Corps’ Recruitor School and the Western Recruiting Region’s Drill Instructors School.