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Marine Corps Recruit Depot

Eastern Recruiting Region

Parris Island, South Carolina
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What do I need to come to Parris Island for a graduation?
Q2. How do I get a parking pass for Family Day and graduation?
Q3. When does graduation take place?
Q4. How do I register for events during graduation week?
Q5. Is there a dress code for the Family Day and graduation ceremonies?
Q6. Can current or former service members wear military uniforms to graduation ceremonies on Parris Island?
Q7. Can I check out a wheel chair during my visit to Parris Island?
Q8. If I am visiting Parris Island, can I bring firearms on base?
Q9. What are the rules/regulations for civilian visitors to ride a motorcycle on base?
Q10. Does Parris Island have a lost-and-found?
Q11. How do recruits make reservations for travel/transportation home after boot camp and to Camp Lejeune, N.C., after leave?
Q12. How much luggage will my new Marine be bringing home?
Q13. Can I visit my recruit?
Q14. Can recruits make phone calls, send email or use the Internet?
Q15. How do I send mail to my recruit while they are in training?
Q16. How do I get a copy of my individual portrait photo from recruit training?
Q17. How do I get a copy of my platoon photo from recruit training?
Q18. How do I get a copy of my yearbook-style platoon graduation books?
Q19. How do I order videos of a recruit graduation?
Q20. How do I get a copy of personnel records, platoon rosters, training records, etc.?
Q21. Who can shop at the Marine Corps Exchange on Parris Island?
Q22. Who can shop at the Parris Island commissary?
Q23. Are bricks from the old 3rd Recruit Training Battalion barracks, which is no longer in use and scheduled for demolition, available to the public?
Q24. Can I visit any of the chapels on Parris Island or reserve one for an event?
Q25. What does it take to become a recruit at Parris Island?
Q26. Is there an RV campground/parking on Parris Island?
Q27. What is the policy for dogs?

1. What do I need to come to Parris Island for a graduation? Top
Visitors to Parris Island must have a valid photo identification. Visitors driving vehicles must have a copy of the vehicle registration and proof of auto insurance.

2. How do I get a parking pass for Family Day and graduation? Top
Parking passes are not required for typical daily visitors of Parris Island, such as those coming for graduation and other related events. Much of the information regarding parking passes found around the internet is obsolete (i.e., the visitors’ center does not provide parking passes). Individual battalions still may include a "parking pass" as part of a packet of information recruits mail home, but it is neither required to get on base nor to park. Visitors may park in any available open, unreserved/unmarked spaces, although it is recommended that they park in the parade deck parking lot or the lot next to the visitors’ center, both of which are within walking distance of the major Family Day and graduation events.

3. When does graduation take place? Top
Graduation ceremonies typically held on Friday mornings. For the exact dates of specific graduation ceremonies, check the 2014 Schedule. The ceremony begins at 9 a.m., so guests should be in thier seats well before then. The ceremony is typically about an hour long.

4. How do I register for events during graduation week? Top
To make reservations for limited-seating Marine Corps Community Services events, visit www.parrisisland.eventbrite.com. To make reservations for Steak Night at Traditions, call 843-228-1566.

5. Is there a dress code for the Family Day and graduation ceremonies? Top
No, there is no specific dress code for either ceremony. Visitors are reminded to consider the weather/climate on Parris Island, which can be particularly hot and humid in the summer. To show support for your new Marine, it has become customary to wear the color of his or her battalion. The color for 1st Recruit Training Battalion, which is Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta companies, is red. The color for 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, which is Echo, Fox, Golf and Hotel companies, is yellow. The color for 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, which is India, Kilo, Lima and Mike companies, is blue. The color for 4th Recruit Training Battalion, which is Oscar, Papa and November companies, is maroon.

6. Can current or former service members wear military uniforms to graduation ceremonies on Parris Island? Top
Yes, current and former service members are permitted to wear uniforms to graduation on Parris Island in accordance with the uniform regulations for their branch of service.  Wear of any version of the camouflage utility/field uniform is not encouraged, and wear of uniforms comparable or more formal than the graduates is appropriate. In the winter months (non-Daylight Saving Time), the graduation uniform for the new Marines is the service A uniform (green coat and trousers with long-sleeved khaki shirt and tie. In the summer months (during Daylight Saving Time), the graduation uniform is the service C (short-sleeved khaki shirt and green trousers).

7. Can I check out a wheel chair during my visit to Parris Island? Top
Complementary wheelchairs can be checked out daily at the visitors’ center. Upon your arrival, speak to one of the Marines at the information desk for more information.

8. If I am visiting Parris Island, can I bring firearms on base? Top
Visitors are not permitted to bring firearms on base, including off-duty civilian law enforcement personnel. For military members or other base personnel or residents, contact the Provost Marshal’s Office for more information on registering firearms and other regulations at 843-228-3444/2995.

9. What are the rules/regulations for civilian visitors to ride a motorcycle on base? Top
The Marine Corps has a strict policy on motorcycle safety, and base regulations supersede any local or state regulations, especially pertaining to helmet laws. All motorcycle operators and passengers are required to wear the minimum level of protective equipment, which includes long-sleeved shirt, long pants, gloves, hard-soled footwear, Department of Transportation-approved helmet and eye protection. All operators must have a valid motorcycle license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance on them at all times. Military police will not permit motorcycle riders on to Parris Island who do not adhere to these regulations.

10. Does Parris Island have a lost-and-found? Top
The Douglas Visitors’ Center maintains a lost-and-found primarily for items believed to be lost by graduation visitors. To inquire about an item, please visit or call the visitors’ center at 843-228-3650. Owners must provide return packaging and postage if the lost item needs to be shipped. Individual facilities, such as the museum or exchange, also have their own lost-and-found boxes. To reach the museum, call 843-228-2951. To call the exchange, call 843-228-1538.

11. How do recruits make reservations for travel/transportation home after boot camp and to Camp Lejeune, N.C., after leave? Top
All recruits are required to book commercial travel (bus/plane) from their leave location to Camp Lejeune. The cost will eventually be reimbursed by the Marine Corps. Recruits have several opportunities to purchase plane/bus tickets to go home after graduation. The cost WILL NOT be reimbursed. Families may also drive them home or purchase them tickets. Families and recruits are advised to coordinate travel plans via letters, so duplicate tickets are not purchased. If families provide recruit with their travel itinerary in advance, SATO Travel will try to match up the recruits’ flight with his or her family. If that is not possible, they will find the closest matches they can. SATO Travel can be reached at 866-928-1420. The Greyhound representative on Parris Island can be reached at 843-524-3557. SATO Travel DOES NOT make reservations for families, only recruits. All Points Travel works with families of Marines and can be reached at 843-228-3557/1540.

12. How much luggage will my new Marine be bringing home? Top
Marines are issued two sea bags, one garment bag and one small duffle bag for their uniforms and gear. A sea bag measures approximately 32 inches tall and 15 inches in diameter. The garment bag measures approximately 40 inches tall, 26 inches wide and 5 inches thick, but may be folded in half. Excess baggage fees will not be reimbursed to new Marines for their commercial travel from Parris Island to home. However, some airlines may waive baggage fees for Marines who show their military orders and ID at check-in. 

13. Can I visit my recruit? Top
The first time families are able to see their new Marines is on Family Day, the day before each graduation ceremony. The recruits are gathered at the All-Weather Training facility before being dismissed to spend the day with their families. The recruits have from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to show their families around the island before returning to their platoons to begin final preparations for graduation the following day. Families may not visit their recruits before Family Day.

14. Can recruits make phone calls, send email or use the Internet? Top
Recruits are required to make one phone call on the night they arrive on Parris Island to inform someone of their choice (typically a parent) they’ve made it to training safely. Other than that, recruits are not permitted to make phone calls, send email or texts or access the Internet, nor are they permitted to be in possession of cellphones or other electronic communication devices.  All correspondence between a recruit and family/friends is made via letters/postcards sent via U.S. Postal Service mail. In the event of an emergency or if a recruit will be held back in training for some reason, the recruit will be permitted to phone someone to inform them of the change in graduation date. After recruits have completed the Crucible and earned the title, the new Marines are only permitted to make personal phone calls or use the Internet during their on-base liberty on the Sunday and the Thursday immediately before graduation on Friday.

15. How do I send mail to my recruit while they are in training? Top
To send mail to a recruit currently training at Parris Island, simply address your letter using the templates below. Contact your recruit's recruiter if you do not know the platoon, company, or battalion information. Please remember not to mail your recruit any prohibited items while they are in training.

Recruit _____________
__ Co, 1st RTBN Platoon ____
Box 16145
Parris Island, SC, 29905-6145

Recruit ______________
__ Co, 2nd RTBN Platoon ____
Box 16245
Parris Island, SC, 29905-6245

Recruit _____________
__ Co, 3rd RTBN Platoon ____
Box 16345
Parris Island, SC, 29905-6345

Recruit _____________
__ Co, 4th RTBN Platoon ____
Box 16445
Parris Island, SC, 29905-6445

Recruit ____________
__ Co, Supt Bn Platoon ____
Box 15001
Parris Island, SC, 29905-5001

16. How do I get a copy of my individual portrait photo from recruit training? Top
Photos of individual Marines in dress blues are archived for 4 years. Call the recruit photo office at 843-228-1555 for information on ordering reprints. Please have as much information as possible, including the Marine's full name, platoon, company, battalion and graduation date.

17. How do I get a copy of my platoon photo from recruit training? Top
Group photos of platoons are permanently archived, although some have been lost or destroyed over the years. Call the recruit photo office at 843-228-1555 for information on ordering reprints. Please have as much information as possible, including the platoon, company, battalion and graduation date.

18. How do I get a copy of my yearbook-style platoon graduation books? Top
The yearbook-style platoon graduation books are only available for order/purchase before and around the graduation date. Copies are not overproduced for future availability, nor are extra copies archived. Those searching for old books are advised to search online auction or classified sales sites, or seek out reunion groups or other members of the unit for anyone who might have an extra copy.

19. How do I order videos of a recruit graduation? Top
Videos of recruit graduation ceremonies after Nov. 4, 1999, are available on DVD to purchase. For graduations from Nov. 15, 2013, or later, visit http://www.earningthetitle.com for ordering instructions and pricing. For graduations between Nov. 4, 1999, and Nov. 1, 2013, call 1-800-889-6734 for information. (Note: videos were produced by external commercial video production companies contracted with the U.S. Marine Corps.)

20. How do I get a copy of personnel records, platoon rosters, training records, etc.? Top
Parris Island does not keep personnel records of former recruits, drill instructors or other military personnel stationed here in the past, nor do we keep track of their current whereabouts.  Those searching for former service members are advised to search the internet for sites and organizations (i.e. Marine Corps League, Drill Instructor Association, etc.) that may be of assistance. The Marine Corps Association also accepts free submissions for its "Reader Assistance" section of Leatherneck Magazine; visit http://www.mca-marines.org/leatherneck/submission-guidelines#Readers for details.

For procedures on requesting archived military personnel records, visit the National Archives website: http://archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/ (Please note: accessing these records are typically only granted to the owners of the records or their family members.)

21. Who can shop at the Marine Corps Exchange on Parris Island? Top
Anyone can purchase souvenirs, such as T-shirts, hats, etc., and food or non-alcoholic beverages. Only active-duty, reservists, retirees and dependents with valid military-issued ID can purchase other items such as jewelry, electronics, shoes, purses, housewares, toys, uniforms, tobacco, alcohol, and firearms (with some restrictions.)

Restrictions:
Firearms – Active-duty service members may purchase firearms with ID card and official orders stationing them here. Dependents and retirees must have valid South Carolina driver’s license and military-issued ID card.

Alcohol – Must be 21 or older and have a current ID card.

Uniforms – Active duty and dependents may buy any uniform item. Retirees may buy any regular-priced uniform items, but not used uniform items such as utility blouses and trousers and boots.

Tobacco – Must be 18 or older

22. Who can shop at the Parris Island commissary? Top
Anyone who holds a current military identification card may shop at the commissary such as active duty, reservists, dependents and retirees. Non-ID card holders may only come into the commissary if accompanied by a card holder, but not by themselves.

23. Are bricks from the old 3rd Recruit Training Battalion barracks, which is no longer in use and scheduled for demolition, available to the public? Top
No. The civilian company contracted by the government to demolish the barracks will retain ownership and all disposal rights for the bricks and other materials, which will ultimately be removed from Parris Island.  The government cannot sell or give away individual bricks, nor will it consider business or fundraising proposals involving the bricks. The barracks are currently off-limits and removal of any bricks is considered illegal theft. Demolition is scheduled to begin in early 2014.

24. Can I visit any of the chapels on Parris Island or reserve one for an event? Top
Visitors are welcome at any of the Parris Island chapels Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If any of the chapels are locked, can 843-228-3601/3533. The services provided at the Depot Chapel are for military personnel only, including those who live on base. The recruit services are strictly for recruits only. Any chapel on base can be reserved by active duty, reservist, active duty/reservist dependents and retirees Interested parties must call at least 30 days before scheduled event to rent. The chapels can be reserved for weddings, retirements, re-enlistments, etc.

25. What does it take to become a recruit at Parris Island? Top
The first step in every Marine's journey should be contacting a Marine Corps recruiter. Visit Marines.com to find a recruiter near you. Once you have spoken to a recruiter and made the decision to join, make sure you are physically ready for the rigors of recruit training.

Initial Strength Test

Soon after arriving on Parris Island, all recruits will take an initial strength test. Recruits who do not meet the minimum requirements will be placed in a special training program to strengthen their bodies for the difficult path ahead.

 

Male Requirements

Female Requirements

Pullups/Flexed-arm Hang:

2

12 seconds

Crunches (2 minutes):

44

44

1.5-Mile Run:

13:30

15:00

26. Is there an RV campground/parking on Parris Island? Top
Parris Island has an RV parking area for service members, retirees and DoD civilian employees. Visiting family and friends of graduating Marines may also use the RV area only if reservations are made by using the new graduate's name. Spots are available for a maximum of 30 days at a rate of $20 per night. Each parking spot can fit up to a 50-foot long RV and includes hook ups for 50 amps of power.  To make a reservation, call 843-228-7472. For more information regarding the RV park, visit http://www.mccs-sc.com/services/rvcamp.asp. Other than the RV area, Parris Island does not permit recreational camping, nor does it have any recreational cabins, camping shelters, bivouac or tent camping sites.

27. What is the policy for dogs? Top
Pets will not be permitted to run free. When not penned, pets will be leashed or under the positive control of their owner or a responsible representative of the owner. Positive control means that the pet must be under the immediate physical control or voice command of its owner or the owner’s representative and that the owner or their representative is in the vicinity of the animal.

Except for guide dogs or other handicapped assistance animals, pets are not permitted at any military ceremony, in the medical or dental clinic, barracks, BOQ, temporary lodging facility, officer’s guest house, club facilities, exchange activities, other public facilities or any place where food is sold, stored, prepared or served.