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San Diego Family Day and Graduation
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.

Platoon Honormen
Platoon Honormen

Graduation Ceremony
Graduation Ceremony

Family Day
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.

Family Day
Family Day

Museum Courtyard
Meeting place for families just prior to the motivational run. A Marine will give a welcome and preliminary information for family members.

Museum Courtyard
Museum Courtyard

Motivational Run
The final run for the training company. Many of the commanding officers and drill instructors participate in the Motivational Run with the new Marines.

Motivational Run
Motivational Run

Finding Your Marine
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.

Family Day
Family Day

New Marines
New Marines

Parade Deck
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.

Parade Deck
Parade Deck

Reviewing Stands
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.

Reviewing Stands
Reviewing Stands

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
View from Bay View Restaurant

Entrance to the Bay View Restaurant
Entrance to the Bay View Restaurant

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.

Time Event Location Description
6:30-9:00 a.m. Breakfast Buffet The Bay View Restaurant An optional event. Your Marine will not be joining you for breakfast.
9:30 a.m. Drill Instructors Brief MCRD Command Museum Family & friends learn the Do's and Don’ts for Family Day.
10:30 a.m. Motivational Run MCRD Command Museum The "Moto Run" is your first opportunity to see your new Marine. They run in both directions; left to right then right to left. Pictures can best be taken if you remain in one spot.
12:00 p.m. Liberty Formation Shepherd Field Parade Deck Drill Instructors will guide you to where you should sit. Please remember not to walk on the Parade Deck!
12:30-6:00 p.m. Depot Liberty Recruits must remain on the depot The new Marines and their families have some time to relax and explore the Depot.
12:00-4:30 p.m. Liberty Lunch Buffet The Bay View Restaurant An optional event. Enjoy a relaxing lunch and meet the Drill Instructors.
6:00 p.m. Liberty Ends Recruits must return to barracks.  

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.

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.

Time Event Location Description
6:30-9:00 a.m. Breakfast Buffet Bay View Restaurant An optional event. Your Marine will not be joining you for breakfast.
8:00-8:30 a.m. Color Ceremony Commanding General’s Headquarters Raising of the flags. Performances by the Marine Band and Color Guard.
8:45-9:30 a.m. Graduation Seating Shepherd Field Parade Deck You should be in your seats by 9:45 a.m.
10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Graduation Ceremony Shepherd Field Parade Deck A day every Marine will remember for life as one of his greatest achievements.
11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Friday Hot Lunch Buffet Bay View Restaurant An optional event. New Marines receive a free lunch with the minimum of one guest paid per Marine.

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.

Starbucks Coffee
Located next to Building 10
Family Day and Graduation Day hours: 6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Picnic People
Located at the Marine Corps Exchange Mall
A lunch menu is offered on Family Day from 12:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Subway Sandwiches
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.
Bayview Restaurant Menus, Prices & Schedule
Thursday Family Day Breakfast Buffet Thursday Liberty Lunch Buffet Friday Graduation Day Breakfast Buffet Friday Hot Buffet Lunch
6:30 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)
Buffet-style.  No sales tax.  Includes gratuity.  Indoor and outdoor seating.  Major credit cards accepted.
Menu Includes: fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, home fries, sausage links, apple pancakes, assorted Danish pastries, mini muffins, donut holes, orange juice, coffee, and tea. Menu Includes: garden salad, baked chicken breast, hand-carved top round of beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, rolls & butter, iced tea, coffee. Menu Includes: fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, smoked ham, biscuits, sausage gravy, assorted Danish pastries, mini muffins, donut holes, orange juice, coffee, and tea. Newly graduated Marines receive free Friday hot lunch buffet in the Bay View dining room with minimum one paid guest per Marine.

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.

Shuttle Schedule

  • 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

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