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Q: What is the schedule for Family Day and Graduation?
A: The Family Day/Emblem ceremony begins at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday and lasts approximately 30 minutes. Graduation begins at 10 a.m. on Friday and lasts approximately 75 minutes. Both ceremonies are held at the Shepherd Field Parade Deck.
Due to security measures, the depot is only open to visitors on Thursdays and Fridays during graduation week. While anyone is able to attend, the only organized functions are those within the graduation program. Here is the current schedule:

Thursday:  Family Day


9:30 – 10 a.m. – MOTIVATIONAL RUN

A major event in your recruit’s final training days is the “Motivational Run”, the final run for the company of recruits. You can observe your recruit begin his company’s run at the visitors area near the Museum’s courtyard.

10 – 10:30 a.m. – Walk to nearby McDougall Hall (depot theater) as a group.

10:30 – 11:15 a.m. – WELCOME ORIENTATION in depot theater. Includes short movie, LINKS briefing, D.I. introductions.

11:15 – 11:30 a.m. – Walk to reviewing stand as a group.

11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. – EMBLEM CEREMONY

12 – 5 p.m. – LIBERTY STARTS! Visit with your Marine!

You may walk around the depot or take a shuttle. Certain recruit training areas are off-limits to visitors. Recruits may not leave the depot.


Graduating Marines must be in their barracks by 5 p.m.


(Guests must leave the depot no later than 5:30 p.m.)

Friday:  Graduation Morning

7:45 a.m.- 8:15 a.m. Morning Colors Ceremony (Pendleton Hall – Bldg.31)

10 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Recruit Graduation Ceremony (*Parade Deck)

*Reviewing stands are located on Shepherd Field (also commonly referred to as the Parade Deck)

Please be in your seats between 9:30-9:45 a.m.

After graduation, you may stay and visit the depot.

Hotel shuttle pick-up location is THE DEPOT THEATER

Q: Is there a dress code for recruit graduation and family day?
A: No, although conservative attire is recommended. The uniform of the day on MCRD San Diego is Service Alphas and military guests are asked to either wear their service equivalent or dress uniform.

Q: Who can attend recruit graduation and family day and is there a limit to the number of people who can attend?
A: Anyone, not just the immediate family of a recruit, can attend recruit graduation and family day. There is also no limit to the number of people who can attend either.

Q: Who do I call to get a video/DVD of the recruit graduation ceremony, or if I have not yet received my graduation video/DVD?
A: Please contact Marine Corps Community Services-San Diego (MCCS-SD) at (619) 725-6279. This is the main point of contact for all questions regarding recruit training/graduation videos.

Q: Once the recruit graduation ceremony is over, can the new Marines leave MCRD San Diego?
A: Immediately following the conclusion of the Graduation Ceremony, new Marines are free to leave MCRD San Diego and begin their 10 days of leave. After that 10 days, Marines report to Camp Pendleton, Calif. for follow-on training. Marines who enlisted into the Infantry will attend the School of Infantry West. All other Marines will attend Marine Combat Training. Upon completion of Marine Combat Training, Marines will proceed onto their military occupational school.

Q: How do new Marines get home on leave and back to follow-on training?
A: During Recruit Training, time is set aside for recruits to make travel plans home and back to training. If you wish to drive your Marine home, or make sure he is on the same flight, please coordinate this via postal correspondence.


What Airport do you recommend?


Due to the heavy training demands placed on your recruit, please make your own transportation and Lodging Arrangements

I need a Hotel room at Marine Corps Recruit Depot!


San Diego are the closest towns to the main gate of The Recruit Depot.

Marine Corps recruit Depot is a Military Base not a City, and doesn’t have Hotels and Motels. Due to this fact we have given you this link to San Diego area hotels. The Marine Corps Depot can be seen fron San Diego Airport, it’s that close.



Click Here to Check Availability, Compare Prices on all Hotels, and Reserve a room at San Diego, California.


What Airport do you recommend?

Unless you live close enough to drive, I recommend flying into san diego then renting a car..


Q: How long is recruit training?
A: The recruit training cycle is 12 weeks long; however this doesn’t include the recruits first week of in-processing and orientation, so the actual time recruits spend on MCRD San Diego is 13 weeks.

Q: How do I locate the address of a recruit currently in training at MCRD San Diego?
A: Shortly after new recruits arrive at MCRD San Diego (within 1-2 days at most), they will mail one post card stating they have arrived safely at San Diego. On this card, recruits will write what their address will be while at recruit training. If you have not received this post card or any other correspondence from your recruit within 2 weeks (14 days) and you have checked with other friends and relatives that may have gotten his address, please refer to the “Recruit Mail” webpage, or contact the Recruit Training Regiment Administration at 619-524-1775 or contact his recruiter, with the recruit’s full name and hometown to help you locate his address.

Q: Are recruits allowed to make phone calls?
A: Recruits are permitted one phone call once they arrive at MCRD San Diego. After that no official time is set aside for recruits to make or receive personal phone calls. Recruits will, of course, be allowed to make phone calls in the event of an emergency. It is not uncommon, however, for company commanders to allow the recruits to make at least one phone call during training.

Q: What can and can’t I send recruits in the mail?
A: According to the rules governing recruit training, the following items are considered to be “contraband” and are prohibited to be sent to recruits:

  • Weapons and ammunition, to include knives
  • Combustibles, including matches
  • Pornography
  • Gambling devices, to include playing cards and dice
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Drugs
  • Tobacco products
  • Athletic equipment
  • Cameras and radios
  • Civilian clothing
  • Electrical appliances (except irons)
  • Photographs larger than wallet size

Because of the long list of contraband items, the drill instructors who issue the mail are constantly on the lookout for packages or bulky envelopes. These items are generally opened by the recruit in the presence of the DI and are checked for contraband. The recruits hygienic needs are taken care of. Please do not send any unsolicited food items.

Q: How often do recruits get their mail delivered?
A: All mail is delivered to recruits daily except on Sundays and holidays.

Q: Can recruits receive e-mail?
A: No, there is not a system currently in place for recruits to receive e-mail.

Q: How much free time do recruits get each day?
A: Recruits receive one hour of uninterrupted free time in their barracks every evening and an additional four hours on Sunday mornings and holidays. The purpose of free time is to allow recruits time to read mail, to write letters and to take care of additional hygiene needs.

Q: If I don’t hear from my recruit for an extended length of time while in Recruit Training, should I worry?
A: No. Recruits spend their free time doing a variety of tasks like uniform preparation, studying or other types of training. While it may be frustrating to you that you don’t hear from your recruit, it probably means that he is working hard to become a Marine.

Q: Can recruits have visitors (other than during Family Day and Graduation)?
A: No, routine recruit visitation periods are not scheduled during the recruit training cycle. Recruits are authorized to receive visitors only in an emergency or other highly unusual situations.

Q: My recruit has been delayed in training because of an injury and/or has been put in Special Training Company. What does this mean? How do I find out how he is doing? Is he allowed visitors? When can I visit him?
A: He will be assigned to a medical rehabilitation platoon for rehabilitation. Depending on the length of stay there, graduation from Recruit Training may be delayed. For information about recruits who have been put in Special Training Company (STC), please call (619) 524-8468. This is a direct link to communicate with the company commander, and the STC staff about the well-being and status of your recruit’s training. The majority of information about medical/physical progress will come from your recruit in his letters and scheduled phone calls home; however, inquiries to the command are welcomed if additional clarification/information is needed. Again this is for official correspondence only, please do not attempt to leave personal messages for your recruit.