Frequently Asked Questions

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 01 - Is Parris Island open to visitors?  

Parris Island is open for family and friends of graduating Marines from Wednesday through Friday during graduation week. For questions and inquiries, contact the Provost Marshal's Office at (843) 228-3444/2995.

 02 - What do I need in order to visit Parris Island?  

You must present a valid government-issued photo identification card (For More Details on REAL ID), vehicle registration, and proof of insurance.

If you are driving a rental car, present a copy of the rental agreement.

For questions and inquiries, contact the Provost Marshal’s Office at (843) 228-3444/2995.


 03 - Can I visit my recruit?  

The first opportunity you will have to visit your Marine is during family day on Thursday before graduation. The Family Day Ceremony begins at 9:30 Thursday morning in the All-Weather Training Facility. The Marines will have a liberty period that starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. After Friday's graduation ceremony, Marines will be authorized up-to 10 days of boot leave before reporting to the School of Infantry/Marine Combat Training at Camp Geiger, North Carolina.

 04 - What address do I use to send my recruit mail while they are in training?  

Mailing address templates can be found on our contacting a recruit page. Contact your recruit’s recruiter for platoon, company, and battalion information. Reminder: do not mail any prohibited items to your recruit.

 05 - Can recruits make phone calls, send email, or use the Internet?  

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) of their safe arrival to recruit training. Recruits are not permitted to make phone calls, send email or texts, or access the internet. Correspondence with your Marine while they are in training is made through letters/post cards sent via U.S. postal service and services offered through Sandbox. In the event of an emergency regarding a recruit, the recruit will be permitted to phone someone to inform them of any changes in their training status. After the Crucible, the new Marines are permitted to make personal phone calls and access the internet during their on-base liberty on the Sunday and Thursday preceding their Friday graduation ceremony. Your Marine will also provide you notification and instructions when it is permissible to send them a cell phone.

 06 - When will our Marine be allowed to take leave and come home?

Upon completion of recruit training, Marines will be given the opportunity to take up to 10 days of leave before reporting to the School of Infantry (SOI) or Marine Combat Training (MCT) and any follow on Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) school.

 07 - What time does the graduation ceremony begin?  

The graduation ceremony on Friday starts at 9 a.m. It is recommended that you arrive at the gate at least one hour prior to the ceremony start time to process through all inspection and security check points, and to find a parking spot. To view the 2023 graduation schedule, click here: 2023 schedule.

 08 - Do I have to show up on Wednesday?  

Although, it is not a requirement to show up on Wednesday or Thursday, everyone is encouraged to experience the Marine 101 brief, the behind the scene tour and the family orientation brief on Wednesday.

 09 - Are the two briefs given on Wednesday the same?

No. The Marine 101 brief explains Marine Corps history and visitor protocols while visiting Parris Island. This brief begins at 10 a.m. followed by two behind the scene tours; first tour departs at 11 a.m. and the second tour at noon.

The family day orientation brief begins at 1:30 pm. and provides information about your Marine’s next phase of training and possible duty stations. It also provides information on opportunities and services available to your marine regarding off-duty education and the Single Marine Program as examples. Both briefs are held in the Douglas Visitors Center (DVC).

 10 - I was unable to reserve tickets for the tour, what can I do?  

There are limited seats available for both tours however, there is a stand-by line. Due to no-shows from visitors with a reservation, we are frequently able to accommodate those in the stand-by line.

 11 - The family day dinner tickets were all sold out, what can I do?  

The family day coordinator has a roster of all the dinner reservations made online. After the reservation window is closed, there may be tickets available for purchase from the family day coordinator in the Douglas Visitors' Center.

 12 - Is there a dress code for the family day and graduation ceremonies?

Clothing displaying vulgarity or profanity will not be permitted. Please consider the weather and climate in the area during your visit to the depot.  Parris island during the during the months of through September can experience extreme temperatures and humidity. It has become customary for families and friends to wear the colors of their Marine’s Battalion during the ceremonies.

First Battalion companies: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta         Color: Red

Second Battalion companies: Echo, Fox, Golf, Hotel             Color: Yellow

Third Battalion companies: India, Kilo, Lima, Mike                 Color: Blue

Fourth Battalion companies: Oscar, Papa                              Color: Maroon

 13 - Are current or former service members allowed to wear military uniforms to graduation ceremonies on Parris Island?  

Yes. The uniform must be the equivalent or higher than the uniform worn by the graduates. Uniform must be worn in accordance with the uniform regulations specified for their branch of service.

 14 - Are wheelchairs available at Parris Island?  

Motorized scooters, wheelchairs, and single and double strollers are available for rent through www.parrisisland.eventbrite.com

 15 - Can I bring my pet?  

Pets are not allowed however; visitors are allowed to bring service animals. Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 16 - Can I bring firearms on base?  

Visitors, including civilian and federal law enforcement officers, are not permitted to bring firearms or ammunition on base. For questions and inquiries, contact the Provost Marshal’s Office at (843) 228-3444/2995.

 17 - What are the rules/regulations for visitors to ride a motorcycle on base?  

All motorcycle operators and passengers must wear personal protective equipment to include a dot approved helmet, eye protection, long-sleeved shirt, long pants, full-fingered gloves, and hard-soled footwear. The Marine Corps’ policy supersedes any local or state regulations governing the operation of a motorcycle on a marine corps base.

 18 - Does Parris Island have a lost and found?  

The Douglas Visitor’s Center (DVC) maintains a lost and found for items recovered and turned-in. Inquires can be made in person at the DVC or by calling (843) 228-3650. For items lost in the museum, call (843) 228-2951; for items lost in the MCX, call (843) 228-1538.

 19 - How do I get a copy of my recruit/platoon photo or year book?  

Individual recruit photos are archived for only four years and will not available afterwards. Platoon photos are available for reprints. Yearbooks are available for order if the graduation date is close to the date you want to order a copy. If you have any questions regarding photos or yearbooks call recruit photo at (843) 228-1555.

 20 - How do I order a video of a graduation ceremony?

Videos of recruit graduation ceremonies are available on DVD. All graduating ceremonies between 11/4/1999 to 11/1/2013 can be ordered by calling (800) 889-6734. All graduation ceremonies after 11/15/2013 can be ordered by visiting www.earningthetitle.com .

Note: Videos were produced by commercial video production companies contracted with the Marine Corps.

 21 - Who can shop at the Parris Island Marine Corps Exchange (MCX)?  

Anyone can purchase souvenirs, such as t-shirts, hats, etc, and food or non-alcoholic beverages. Active duty, reservists, retirees, dependents and veterans authorized through the veteran’s administration can make purchases with some restrictions regarding firearms. Ask any MCX sales manager for current policies and restrictions.

 22 - Who can shop at the Parris Island commissary?  

All active duty members and reservists with a current military identification card or veterans with an issued veterans health identification card may shop at the commissary. Non-ID card holders may enter the commissary when accompanied by a person with the proper credentials.

 23 - Is there an RV campground/parking on Parris Island?  

Parris Island has an RV parking area for service members, retirees and DOC civilian employees. Family and friends of graduating Marines may also use the RV park and make reservations by using the graduating Marine’s name and calling (843) 228-7472 or visiting www.mccs-sc.com/services/rvcamp.asp. The sites are available for a maximum of 30 days at a rate of $20 per night. Each site is full hook-ups with 50 amp service and can accommodate campers up to 50 feet long. Parris Island does not have cabins or allows recreational tent camping.

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 How do I get a copy of my individual portrait photo from recruit training?

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.

 How do I get a copy of my platoon photo from recruit training?  

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.

 How do I get a copy of my yearbook-style platoon graduation books?

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. Contact Recruit Photo at 843-228-1555.

 How do I get a copy of personnel records, platoon rosters, training records, etc.?

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.)

 How do I get a parking pass for Family Day and Graduation?

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.

 What does it take to become a recruit at Parris Island?

The first step in every Marine's journey should be contacting a Marine Corps recruiter. Visit marines.com to find a recruiter near you.

 When does graduation take place?

Graduation Ceremonies are typically held on Friday mornings. For the exact dates of specific Graduation Ceremonies, check the 2023 schedule. The ceremony begins at 9 am, so guests should be in their seats well before then. The ceremony is typically about an hour long.

Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island