Marine Corps Boot Camp Graduation

Marine Corps Boot Camp Graduation

Marine Corps boot camp graduation is the defining point in the young career of a Marine.

It indicates that you have survived boot camp and are ready to begin advanced individual training for your Military Occupational Speciality (MOS).

Marine Corps boot camp graduation is worth celebrating with friends and family, so make sure that you invite them to this special event.

Learn more about the boot camp graduation dates for 2020 at both Parris Island and San Diego.

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Marine Corps Boot Camp Graduation Dates 2020

marine corps graduation
There is an average of 2-3 USMC boot camp graduations held each month in San Diego and Parris Island. Image: Flickr

Although the Marine Corps has many bases in the United States, it conducts basic combat training, or boot camp, at two different locations in the United States.

Most new recruits west of the Mississippi River attend boot camp at the Recruit Training Depot in San Diego, California.

Meanwhile, most new recruits east of the Mississippi River attend boot camp at the Recruit Training Depot in Parris Island, South Carolina.

east coast vs west coast marine training

USMC Boot Camp Graduation Dates – San Diego (2020)

The 2020 graduation dates at the Recruit Training Depot in San Diego which have been released include:

Ship DateCompanyGraduation

USMC Boot Camp Graduation Dates – Parris Island (2020)

The 2020 graduation dates at the Recruit Training Depot in Parris Island which have been released include:

Ship DateCompanyGraduation

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USMC Boot Camp Graduation Schedule

parris island graduation schedule
The graduation ceremony includes two days of scheduled events, like the Motivational Run. Image: Marine Corps Recruiting Depot

Both the boot camp graduation in San Diego and Parris Island have a full list of scheduled events.

The Marine Corps divides boot camp graduation into two days: Family Day (the day prior) and Graduation Day (the actual date).

Graduations are normally on weekends so more friends and family can attend the special ceremonies.

San Diego Boot Camp Graduation Schedule

Family Day starts early the day before the graduation ceremony.

It begins with optional breakfast with the recruit (usually from 6-9 am) followed by a voluntary Motivational Run.

USMC Family Day teaches families about what the recruit went through the last 12 weeks during basic combat training.

Marine Corps boot camp is generally considered the most intense and demanding of all the boot camps in the military.

Family Day Schedule of Events include:

  • Orientation – 8:30 am
  • Drill Instructor’s Brief – 9:00 am
  • Motivational Run – 9:30 am
  • Marine Corps 101 – 10:30 am
  • Company Commander’s Brief – 11:30 am
  • Liberty Formation – 12:00 pm
  • End of Liberty – 5:00 pm

Graduation Day Schedule of Events include:

  • Morning Colors Flag Raising – 8:00 am
  • Graduation Seating – 8:30 am
  • Graduation Ceremony – 10:00 am
  • Lunch – 12:00 pm

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Parris Island Boot Camp Graduation Schedule

Parris Island has a very similar format for Family Day and Graduation Day, like San Diego.

It also includes an optional lunch/dinner and Motivational Run on Family Day.

Once again, the USMC also teaches friends and families about basic combat training with speeches.

Family Day Schedule of Events include:

  • Motivational Run – 7:00 am
  • Marine Corps 101 – 8:00 am
  • Battalion Commander’s Brief – 9:30 am
  • Liberty – 10:00 am
  • Family Day Buffer – 10:30 am
  • Liberty Ends – 3:00 pm
  • Meet & Greet with the Depot Command – 4:00 pm
  • Command Welcome Remarks – 4:30 pm
  • Family Night Dinner with Depot Command – 4:45 pm

Graduation Day Schedule of Events include:

  • Morning Colors Flag Raising – 7:45 am
  • Graduation Ceremony – 9:00 am
  • Lunch – 11:00 am

*Make sure you double-check the itinerary before the graduation as times or dates are subject to change.

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marine corps graduation dates
Graduating from USMC boot camp is a special first step in the career of a Marine. Image: Defense Logistics Agency

What do you need to know about the Marine Corps boot camp graduation for 2020?

Reference some of the most frequently asked questions…

Where is the Marine Corps Boot Camp Graduation?

The U.S. Marine Corps conducts basic combat training, or boot camp, at two locations in the United States:

  • Recruit Training Depot (San Diego, California)
  • Recruit Training Depot (Parris Island, South Carolina)

Before the ship date of the recruit, you will discover what training depot he or she will spend their time at boot camp.

Both training depots are military bases so traditional rules of entering and walking around the area apply to civilians.

Please make sure you allow some time to get through the security clearance so you don’t miss out on any of the graduation events (they start early!).

Furthermore, some families might find it convenient to rent a car for the day so you can travel around a large base with greater ease.

Make sure that you have identification for every visitor over the age of 18 as well as the rental agreement for the car (if applicable).

You can see a Google Map of the San Diego Recruit Training Depot by clicking here.

You can see a Google Map of the Parris Island Recruit Training Depot by clicking here.

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How do I get onto the base at Parris Island?

There is one road that takes visitors to and out of Parris Island.

You do not need a vehicle pass to enter the military base.

The Marine Corps recommends that families arrive at least an hour before the first scheduled event as it can take a while to get through security clearance.

The nearest airports to Parris Island are the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) and Hilton Head Airport (HHH).

Charleston International Airport (CHS) is the third nearest airport for long-distance travelers.

There are a couple of different ways to reach Parris Island from the south and north.

Signs exist for turn-offs to Parris Island though you may find it helpful to look up directions in advance on your GPS.

Here is a great visitor’s map of the Recruit Training Depot.

How do I get onto the base at San Diego?

Similar rules apply for reaching and entering the Recruit Training Depot in San Diego.

You should plan in advance and make sure you arrive in plenty of time to avoid any delays.

Visitors need to go through a security checkpoint as well as navigate larger than normal crowds on the base for family days.

The military base does not require a vehicle pass but every individual 16 or older must carry a form of identification at all times.

You also need to follow the driving rules of the base as they are strictly enforced.

Directions for reaching the base are available HERE!

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Is there a dress code for the graduation?

The Marine Corps does not have any required dress code for friends and family visiting the military base on Family Weekend.

Clothing can be casual and comfortable.

It is not uncommon for families and friends to sport custom T-shirts that celebrate the recent graduate and his or her platoon.

Keep in mind that many of the festivities take place outdoors so you should anticipate the weather forecast.

We recommend bringing a sweater or jacket as both bases can get cool despite being in relatively warm climates.

How many visitors can attend Marine Corps boot camp graduation?

There are no limits to the number of people that can attend the boot camp graduation.

The more friends and family you can get to join and support the recruit the better!

Can I take photos and videos while on the base?

Photos and videos are usually allowed during graduation ceremonies as long as you don’t record footage of recruit training areas.

The restricted training areas include the close combat training area, Basic Warrior Training, and Confidence Course.

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Are there any other rules or codes of conduct families should make themselves aware of on the military base?

It is important to keep in mind that you are on a military base where different rules and regulations apply.

For example, when walking with a recruit on the base always stay on their left side.


Recruits must salute with their right hand when passing higher-ranking Marines on the base.

Walking on their left side will prevent any knife-handling accidents to free up the right hand for salutes.

Secondly, make yourself mindful of driving rules on the base.

The Marine Corps strictly enforces a speed limit of 20 miles per hour.

Additionally, seatbelts must be worn at all times.

Drivers need to carry identification and proof of insurance.

All passengers above the age of 16 should also carry a form of identification at all times.

Related Article: Marine Corps Age Limits

What happens after the Marine Corps boot camp graduation?

Completing boot camp is the first of many achievements a new recruit hopes to accomplish in the Marine Corps.

Following graduation, recruits get ten days of leave to go home and prepare for the next phase of training.

The military leave is slightly different from other military branches, which sometimes do not allow enough time to return home between boot camp graduation and the next phase of training.

After spending ten days on leave, recruits must attend the School of Infantry (SOI) where training continues.

The School of Infantry (SOI) is divided into two different schools:

  • Infantry Training Battalion (ITB)
  • Marine Combat Training (MCT)

The Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) a recruit qualifies for and selects will determine school placement.

Marines that have a MOS related to infantry or weapons system attend the Infantry Training Battalion (ITB) school.

Meanwhile, other types of Marine MOS receive their training at the Marine Combat Training (MCT) school.

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Marine Corps boot camp graduation is an exciting time to visit a recruit for the first time since their ship date.

New recruits in the Marine Corps experience arguably the most demanding boot camp of any military branch.

Ceremonies for boot camp graduates in the Marine Corps takes place over two days – Family Day and Graduation Day.

Celebrating their graduation from boot camp is a tremendous achievement and therefore worthwhile to attend.

Jeff E.

General FAQ

How long is Marine Corps boot camp graduation?

Marine Corps boot camp graduation consists of two days of activities. The first full day is dedicated to Family Day, with a full schedule of events to attend. The second comprises the graduation ceremony itself, followed by lunch.

Do I need a military ID to attend a Marine Corps boot camp graduation?

To attend a Marine Corps boot camp graduation, you’ll need to go through a security checkpoint at the depot gate, and every individual over the age of 16 must carry some form of identification.

Where are nearby hotels to stay when attending a Marine Corps boot camp graduation?

San Diego offers a broad range of national chain hotels, including Best Western, LaQuinta, Ramada, and Hilton. The closest hotels near Parris Island are found in Port Royal or Beaufort and include Day’s Inn, Best Western, and Comfort Suites.

Do I have to attend every event at a Marine Corps boot camp graduation?

A Marine Corps graduation may be too exhausting for very old or young family members. However, make sure you arrive at least an hour before the events you plan to attend to allow for the security check at the gate.

Can I drive my car to attend a Marine Corps boot camp graduation?

Luckily, the Marines are expecting family members in vehicles, and you won’t need a vehicle pass for your time on base.

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