amount of family and friends can go to the Family Day and Graduation.
There is no number limit, no invitations or reservations needed, just
go. Also, if there is a minor child, as long as they are with an adult
that has a picture ID, they are covered.
I SUGGEST you get to the base EARLY, at 7 or 7:30. If you get to
the MCRD early enough, you may be able to see the recruits practice
their graduation ceremony. (Your first sneak-peek at your recruit!)
Be sure to take binoculars with you so you can see them up close,
If you are interested in purchasing any T-shirts, platoon photos,
challenge and/or Crucible coins, they are sold in the food court area
as early as 6:30 AM. The challenge coins are sold in three different
stores: The Battalion challenge coins can be found at any time at
the Marine Store, the Museum Gift Shop, and the Recruit PX. The Crucible
Coin can only be found in the food court area from 7:00 - 9:00 AM,
and only on Thursday. The group photos are available at the food court
from 7:00 - 9:00 AM, then afterwards can be purchased at the Photo
Center by the Recruit PX. Be sure and take cash as you may not be
able to write a check or use that Visa card.
At about 10:00 AM, you will want to be in the area of the Depot Museum
for a short talk by the Commanding Officer. In the area of the Depot
Theater and the Depot Museum, there will be a large area of the parking
lot that will be coned off. We will get behind the cones and at about
10:30 AM, all of the platoons will arrive to start the 4-mile Motivational
Run. There will be signs telling you where to stand according to platoon
number and you will want to have a good position so you can see your
recruit. Don’t be bashful. SHOUT HIS LAST NAME! He will hear
you. At about 10:45 AM, they take off and there is one thing that
Mothers and Grandmothers must realize: the Marine Corps does not allow
you to run along side your young Recruit for the 4 miles. You have
GOT to stay behind the cones. Don't get mad. I know you want to run
the 4 miles, but that is just the way it is.
Here is something I am TELLING you. When you go to the base, do NOT
take Kleenex with you. That's correct, NO Kleenex. Here's what you
Moms, Grandmas, Aunts, all female family members, need to take. Get
the large size roll of Bounty, the "quicker - picker - upper."
This is not per family, it is a roll PER FEMALE. If you think I am
kidding, just wait until they run up to you for the start of the Motivation
Run and you get to see him up close for the first time after 13 weeks.
Remember, after that you STILL have the "On Base Liberty"
for today. Tomorrow is the Graduation to go through also. Just a thought,
keep a sheet or two of Bounty available for Dad, Grandpa, or any of
the guys that will be with you. I have been to MCRD 23 different times.
The first was for son Jamie's graduation, but still, with the other
22, when I had NO ONE there, it is still an emotional two days for
After they start the run and come back past us, we will be taken
over to the Depot Theater where we will see a movie about boot camp.
This will be from about 11:30 AM until about 12:20 PM.
After this, we will be directed over to the graduation stands on
the Parade Deck for the 12:35 PM Formation, prior to "On Base
Liberty." At about 1 PM, the new MARINES will be dismissed, for
the rest of the day, to be with you.
Important Note: Some people try to walk across the parade deck, do
not do it. That parade deck is a sacred place for ALL Marines, regardless
of when they served. Remember, a lot of Marines that walked that deck
are still buried on Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, etc., and tomorrow, after
graduation, it will be a sacred place for your Marine. Respect him,
and all those Marines before him. Do not walk on his parade deck.
- We have moved around quite a bit in this area
but do not worry about where the next even will happen. The Marine
Corps is going to lead us from point A to B to C, because they want
us to see and do EVERYTHING and not miss out on anything.
After the formation you pick up your young Marine and he is yours
for the rest of the day for the "On Base Liberty." Here
is what I SUGGEST you do at this time. Go back over to the Museum
area, where we started this morning and catch the Bay View Shuttle
Van over to the Bay View Restaurant. They have an EXCELLENT buffet
dinner that is around $12 a person. At this time all the DI’s
will be there for you to meet. Meet these guys. They are the ones
that made a Marine out of our sons. Also, there is a static display
of all the equipment he has had and used while at boot camp.
|Bay View Restaurant
If, for some reason, you don’t want to go to the Bay View,
there is a 5-restaurant food court area inside the Exchange, or there
is a snack bar in the bowling alley. Generally, the lines at all these
places are VERY long, with a considerable waiting time, to eat.
If you get out to San Diego early or are going to stay over to sight-see,
here in the Marine Corps exchange area is a place where you can get
discount tickets for all kinds of places to visit. They have really
good discount prices.
If you want souvenirs, at the Museum is a good place to get them.
Also, there are places to buy gifts in the Marine Corps Exchange when
your Marine is with you. Why do we need our Marine with us? At the
Exchange you have to have a military ID card. At the Museum you do
not need one.
A private company has a booth in the foodcourt area from 6:30 AM until
3:00 PM on Thursday. He sells specialty picture frames for your Marine's
pictures. They are specialized 3D frames and are available for wallet
up to 8x10 photos. There are a couple of frames that holds two Challenge
Coins (front and back) along with the photo. Also, there are a variety
of key chains and magnets. These are very unique and popular items.
Don’t be surprised if your Marine is suffering from “Recruit
Crud." It's very common and will pass after a couple of days.
They will try to “suck it up” but they will still be tempted
to pig out on pop, cookies and pizza (available to them for the first
time in 3 months). Try to discourage this. They will pay for it. Try
to have Tums or Rolaids on hand.
Suggestion for the Recreation Center: Siblings, parents and guests
should really consider stepping aside to allow the Marines a chance
to bowl, shoot some pool, play video games, use the computers, etc.
This is the first real break they’ve had in 3 months. They have
been training 24/7 and haven’t been given time for any of this
stuff. Please be considerate and let them have a little fun.
You will all be together for about 5 hours,
however, here is something a fellow parent WANTS you to do. Keep an
eye on your watch and at 5:30 PM, RUN HIM OFF, MAKE HIM GO AWAY, here's
He HAS to be back at the barracks by 6:00 PM. If he gets back at 5:35,
5:40, 5:45, no big deal, however, if he gets back 1 SECOND, or later,
after 6:00, instead of graduating tomorrow, he graduates a WEEK FROM
TOMORROW. That is the price he has to pay. We are here to see him
graduate tomorrow, NOT a week from tomorrow. Remember, folks, this
is the Marine Corps, NOT scout camp.
Note: On Base Liberty
goes from 1 PM to 6 PM in the Winter months since, it gets dark earlier.
In the Summer months, with longer days, it goes from 1 PM to 7 PM,
so check with your new Marine when you pick him up after the Eagle,
Globe, and Anchor Ceremony as to which schedule they are currently
Generally, by the time you get to the bleachers, the sun has been out for a couple of hours, and they are dry. Some times, rarely, there will be a big morning fog, and the bleachers are wet. Take a bunch of paper towels with you, to wipe off where you will sit, and then you can just toss them in the trash.
TO BASE: Generally
speaking--MCRD SD is North of Downtown San Diego off of Interstate
5 either Washington St or Old Town Ave. Another steering feature is
the Recruit Depot shares a border with San Diego International Airport--we
are on the NNE side of the airport. From the airport take I-5 N and
exit Washington St or the Old Town exit just N on I-5 of the Washington
St exit. For both exits, visitors will need to cross under/over I
-5 to get to the correct side. Washington Street is a strait shot
into the back gate after you go under I-5 at the first stop light(left).
From Old Town exit take a left at the stop light to go over I-5 then
another left at the end of the bridge. Go to the next stop sign take
a right and this will lead to the Main Gate at MCRD.
I-5 N take the Old Town exit or further south to the Washington St.
I-8 West bound Take I-5 south exit then Old Town exit or Washington