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Thursday - Recruit Family Day / Base Liberty 


Any 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, practicing.

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 EVERYONE.

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.

Depot Theater


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 why:

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 following.

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.

DIRECTIONS 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.

From I-5 N take the Old Town exit or further south to the Washington St. exit.

From I-8 West bound Take I-5 south exit then Old Town exit or Washington Street exit.




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