San Diego Family Day and Graduation USMC Bootcamp Recruit Training MCRD
Family and friends are strongly encouraged to attend the graduation events. It is a wonderful way to celebrate your Recruit having earned the title of United States Marine. Thursday is Family Day and Friday is Graduation Day. The Marine Corps will have activities planned for both days.
There is no limit to the number of family members and friends that can attend Family Day or Graduation. You'll want to arrive at the Depot early to avoid long lines at the gate. Dress is casual. Please remember that this is an important time in your Marine's life and you do not want to put him in an uncomfortable position with his command and fellow Marines. Bare midriffs and suggestive attire are not appropriate. Comfortable walking shoes are suggested for both days. Wheelchairs and strollers are NOT available at MCRDSD; however, the Depot is easily traversed by wheelchairs and motorized scooters.
Family Day includes the Drill Instructors Brief, the Motivational Run, Liberty Formation and Depot Liberty. The Drill Instructors Brief starts out your day. Here you'll learn what to do and what not to do during your time at MCRDSD. The drill instructors will then lead you to the Motivational Run. This is where you'll get your first glimpse of your new Marine! Following the Liberty Formation your new Marine will have Depot Liberty and be able to spend some time with you. You can have lunch together, relax, visit the Museum, shop, explore unrestricted parts of MCRDSD and, of course, take lots of photos!
Graduation Day includes the Color Ceremony and Graduation Ceremony. The Color Ceremony is an optional event where you will see the raising of the flags and enjoy hearing the Marine Band. The Graduation Ceremony is the culmination of your new Marine's time at boot camp and the beginning of a new stage in his career.
Important Note: Due to some holiday schedules, a handful of recruit classes might graduate on a Wednesday, with family day on Tuesday. The same schedule will apply, just substitute Tuesday for Thursday and Wednesday for Friday in the schedule below.
Changes in the levels of security alerts could alter scheduled events. Maps of the Depot and a schedule of events will be provided to you on Family Day.
Family Day: Thursday at MCRD
Plan to have breakfast and familiarize yourself with the Depot before the Drill Instructors Brief at 9:30 a.m.
During Liberty, your Marine must remain on the Depot. Certain recruit training areas are off-limits to visitors. Recommended activities include having lunch and meeting the Drill Instructors at the Bay View Restaurant, visiting the MCRD San Diego Command Museum, and shopping at the Marine Corps Exchange.
A schedule of events for Family Day is located at the bottom of this page.
Graduation Day: Friday at MCRD
Plan to attend the color ceremony if possible. For graduation, the Depot schedule suggests arriving at the reviewing stands by 9:30 a.m. and to be seated by 9:45 a.m. However, the stands will fill up earlier on Friday, so it's recommended that you obtain your seats by 8:45 a.m. if you want to be in the same or approximately the same seat you had on Thursday. After graduation, you may stay and visit the Depot, have lunch, and continue shopping.
A schedule of events for Graduation Day is located at the bottom of this page.
Shopping Services on the Depot
- Marine Corps Exchange, Electronics, Home Store, Outdoor Store and the Cellar
You must be accompanied by your Marine.
During graduation week the Exchange stores open at 8:00 a.m.
- Marine Mart
You do not have to be accompanied by your Marine.
Drinks, sandwiches, and other convenience store items
Hours: Monday - Friday 6:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m., Saturday/Sunday 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
- Marine Corps Store, located in the Marine Corps Exchange
You do not have to be accompanied by your Marine.
USMC gifts and merchandise
Hours: Thursday 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Friday until 4:00 p.m.
- Recruit Sales Complex
You must be accompanied by your Marine. Open for family members only on Thursday.
Basic items that Marines need during their Marine career.
- Tickets & Tours
You must be accompanied by your Marine.
Discounted tickets to Southern California attractions.
Places of Interest on the Depot
- Recreation Center
Arcade games, pool tables, gaming center, bowling, free wi-fi, computer terminals, big screen TV's.
Hours on Family Day: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Hours on Graduation Day: 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 a.m.
- The Depot Command Museum
The museum includes a video theater, five permanent galleries, an art collection, a research center, and a gift shop.
Hours: Monday - Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
- Hotel Shuttles
Hotel shuttles only operate between your hotel and the Depot Theater. Drop-off and pick-up is in front of the Depot Theater. Check with your hotel for its shuttle schedule to and from MCRDSD.
- MCRD Shuttles
MCRDSD provides free shuttle service on Family Day and Graduation Day. Every twenty minutes, beginning at 6:30 a.m., the shuttle buses travel around the Depot. The last shuttle leaves the Bay View Restaurant at 4:00 p.m. All shuttles begin at the Depot Theater.
The shuttle stops are:
- Depot Theater
- Depot Command Museum
- Marine Corps Exchange
- Bay View Restaurant
Dining Services on the Depot
Mobile Snack Wagon
The Snack Wagon offers chips, candy, and drinks while you are attending the ceremonies. On Thursdays they are located outside the Depot Theater. On Fridays they are located behind the Reviewing Stand.
Family Day hours: 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Graduation Day hours: 8:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Located next to Building 10
Family Day and Graduation Day hours: 6:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Located at the Marine Corps Exchange Mall
A lunch menu is offered on Family Day from 12:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Available at the Marine Corps Exchange Mall on Graduation Day
Locker Room Bar & Grill
When you visit the recreation center, don't forget to stop at the Locker Room sports bar and grill located inside the Recreation Center. The Locker Room's menu includes California pizza, burgers & fries, buffalo wings, Swedish meatballs, and nachos.
Bar hours on Family Day and Graduation Day:
- Thursday 1:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
- Friday 1:00 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.
Snack Bar hours Family Day and Graduation Day:
- Thursday 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
- Friday 11:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
The Bay View Restaurant
Free Depot Shuttle service is provided from the Depot Theater to the Bay View Restaurant. The Bay View offers an opportunity to relax in a beautiful water-front setting near San Diego Bay. There is a beautiful view of the water, palm trees, gardens and the MCRD Marina. Additional amenities include a bar, restrooms, and pay phones. Thursday's lunch offers outdoor dining as well as dining in the air-conditioned restaurant.
Family Day and Graduation Day hours:
- Breakfast, Thursday 6:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
- Lunch, Thursday 12:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
- Breakfast, Friday 6:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
- Lunch, Friday 11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Terminology to learn for MCRD San Diego Graduation
Watch Your Step!
Respect the Marine Corps grounds during your visit to the Depot. Please do not walk on the grass. Please do not walk across the Parade Deck.
The day prior to graduation. Your new Marine will escort you with his left arm to reserve his right hand for saluting higher-ranking Marines.
Meeting place for families just prior to the motivational run. A Marine will give a welcome and preliminary information for family members.
The final run for the training company. Many of the commanding officers and drill instructors participate in the Motivational Run with the new Marines.
Finding Your Marine
Mom's First Hug
Time-off from training for new Marines. A chance for them to visit with friends and family while remaining on the Depot.
Huge area of asphalt where recruits practice drills and marching. Formal ceremonies are held on the Parade Deck. DO NOT walk across the Parade Deck under any circumstances.
Bleachers located next to the Parade Deck. Guests will sit here while viewing the Liberty Formation and the Graduation Ceremony. In the photo below, you can see the barracks behind the stands as well as a jet taking off from the San Diego airport.
Large building for briefings. Meet here for an informational briefing and the Motivational Run. Restrooms available inside the theater.
Bay View Restaurant
Buffet lunches are served in the Bay View Restaurant. Shuttle service is available to and from the Bay View.
View from Bay View Restaurant
Entrance to the Bay View Restaurant
|Thursday Family Day Breakfast Buffet||Thursday Liberty Lunch Buffet||Friday Graduation Day Breakfast Buffet||Friday Hot Buffet Lunch|
|6:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.||12:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.||6:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.||11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.|
|$8.95 (Kids $4.95)||$13.95 (Kids $7.50)||$8.95 (Kids $4.95)||$9.50* (Kids $4.75)*
*price does not include beverage
|Buffet-style. No sales tax. Includes gratuity. Indoor and outdoor seating. Most major credit cards accepted.|
|Menu: California fruit medley with fluffy scrambled eggs, golden brown home fries, sausage links and apple pancakes. Sides include assorted fresh baked danishes, mini muffins, cinnamon-sugared donut holes,orange juice, fresh brewed coffee, hot tea & iced tea.||Menu: Rotisserie style chicken breast and hand carved Top Round of Beef. Garden Salad with your choice of two dressings. Sides include mashed potatoes, gravy and succulent sweet corn, French rolls and butter, iced Tea and freshly brewed coffee.||Menu: Fresh fruit with fluffy scrambled eggs, thin sliced smoked ham, warm buttermilk biscuits, country sausage gravy, and golden brown breakfast potatoes. Sides include assorted fresh baked danish, mini muffins cinnamon-sugared donut holes, orange juice, fresh brewed coffee, hot tea & iced tea.||Newly graduated Marines receive free Friday hot lunch buffet in the Bay View dining room with minimum one paid guest per Marine.|
Family Day Schedule
|6:00-9:00 a.m.||Breakfast Buffet Begins||The Bay View Restaurant||An optional event. A beautiful dining option to relax and plan your day. Your recruit cannot join you for breakfast: he is still under the watchful eyes of the Drill Instructors. The Bay View has vaulted to being a restaurant known for impeccable service and a focus on fresh, local, seasonal ingredients. Shuttle stop available.|
|8:30-9:30 a.m.||Marine Corps 101||MCRD San Diego Depot Theater||Join us at the Depot Theatre for an overview of Marine Corps history, customs, and courtesies as well as an in-depth look at resources and benefits available to your Marine worldwide!|
|9:30 a.m.||Drill Instructors Brief||MCRD San Diego Command Museum||Here you will learn the do's and don'ts for the day from MCRD's Drill Instructors.|
|10:00 a.m.||Motivational Run||MCRD San Diego Command Museum||This is your first chance to see your new recruit. It is also the last time he will be together with his entire graduating company. To get the best photos remain in one place. The recruits will make two passes by your location.|
|10:30 a.m.||Welcome Orientation||MCRD San Diego Depot Theater||Just as with the Motivational Run, This is your first chance to see your new recruit. It is also the last time he will be together with his entire graduating company. To get the best photos remain in one place. The recruits will make two passes by your location.|
|12:00 p.m.||Liberty Formation||MCRD San Diego Depot Theater||After this ceremony you can go over and give your recruit a big hug.|
|12:20-5:00 p.m. (6:00p.m. during DST)||Depot Liberty||New Marines cannot leave the Depot||It's now that America's newest Marines get to enjoy some well deserved time off from training. They can spend it aboard the depot watching a movie, going bowling, checking their email or just visiting with familiy and friends. Marines are welcome to explore the depot and shop at any of its facilities. Some of the favorite hangouts for new Marines and their families are the Exchange (mall), the Bay View Restaurant and the Recreation Center featuring Domino's Pizza, video games and bowling.|
|12:00-4:30 p.m.||Liberty Lunch Buffet||The Bay View Restaurant||Everyone is invited and encouraged to meet their new Marine's Drill Instructor. Say hello, take pictures or just give a heart felt thanks to the Drill Instructors for a job well done.|
Graduation Day Schedule
|6:00-9:00 a.m.||Breakfast Buffet||The Bay View Restaurant||An optional event. A beautiful dining option to relax and plan your day. Your recruit cannot join you for breakfast: he is still under the watchful eyes of the Drill Instructors. The Bay View has vaulted to being a restaurant known for impeccable service and a focus on fresh, local, seasonal ingredients. Shuttle stop available.|
|8:00-8:30 a.m.||Color Ceremony||Commanding General's Headquarters||An optional event beginning promptly at 0800. Please be seated no later than 0745. Witness the raising of the flags. Enjoy performances by Marine Band San Diego and the Color Guard. The ceremony takes place in front of the Commanding General's Headquarters. To find the headquarters look for a building at the end of the opposite end of the Parade Deck from the base theater. The Commanding General's Headquarters has a white turret atop it.|
|8:30-9:45 a.m.||Graduation Seating||Shepherd Field Parade Deck||Please be in your seats no later than 9:45 AM.|
|10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.||Graduation Ceremony||Shepherd Field Parade Deck||Graduation marks the end of a Marine's time in boot camp. It is his final dismissal and the culmination of his Recruit training. The graduation ceremony includes the graduating Marines, their Drill Instructors and other key training personnel.
The distinguished personnel present are the Depot's Commanding General, the parade reviewing officer and the parade staff. Highlighted performances include the Marine Band San Diego and the Depot Mascot; an English Bulldog named Smedley Butler.
|11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.||Friday Hot Lunch Buffet||The Bay View Restaurant||An optional event with special pricing for visitors. The Bay View has vaulted to being a restaurant known for impeccable service and a focus on fresh, local, seasonal ingredients.|