Recruit Training Regiment
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Marine Corps Recruit Depot
Parris Island, S.C.


Left, Right, Left!

U.S. Marines with Drill Instructor School, Recruit Training Regiment, conduct and are graded on close order drill aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot...


Sound Liberty Call!

Recruit Training Regiment Color Guard takes part in the Family Day Ceremony on Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., July 27, 2023. The...


Making a Drill Instructor

Parris Island's newest drill instructors graduate with class 1-22, Recruit Training Regiment, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., Dec....


Welcome to the Depot

The new recruits arrive on a bus to begin the receiving process aboard Parris Island, S.C. The receiving process includes the recruit’s phone call...

Parris Island has been the site of Marine Corps recruit training since Nov. 1, 1915. Today, approximately 20,000 recruits come to Parris Island annually for the chance to become United States Marines by enduring 13 weeks of rigorous, transformative training. Parris Island is home to entry-level enlisted training for approximately 50 percent of all Marines in the Marine Corps. Recruit Training Regiment is the parent command for the personnel who accomplish the depot’s mission of "Making Marines."

The regiment is comprised of 1st Recruit Training Battalion, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Support Battalion, and Drill Instructor School.

The battalions and their respective companies are critical to depot operations and recruit training.

After the closure of the Port Royal Naval Station in 1903, the fate of Parris Island remained uncertain.  As Marines looked after the mothballed facilities, politicians and the Marine Corps pondered new uses for the island.  One such man, Commandant George F. Elliott, directed that the Marine Officer's School, previously established at Annapolis in 1903, be relocated to Parris Island in 1908.  Also, in 1911, Elliott's successor, Commandant P. Biddle, established a three-company recruit depot at Parris Island.  However, by 1912, the officers' school and recruit depot were closed and relocated.

The idea of a recruit depot resurfaced later in 1912 when the Woodrow Wilson presidency brought Democrats into power.  South Carolina Congressman James F. Byrnes hosted Wilson's Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels at Parris Island.  Later, in 1914, Byrnes met with the assistant secretary, Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Together, the two men determined Parris Island would be the ideal location for a Marine Corps recruit depot, a sentiment shared by then Marine Corps Commandant George Barnett.

 On October 25, 1915, 750 Marines and recruits disembarked on Parris Island.  They established Marine Barracks, Port Royal, whose primary mission and distinction was being the only base in the United States that existed exclusively for training Marines.  Parris Island's commanding officer oversaw recruit training by delegating authority to the various sections whose members trained officers and drill instructors who then oversaw the actual training of recruits.  Between 1915 and 1917, the Corps' recruit policy was to organize its recruits into standard rifle companies, commanded by officers whom noncommissioned men assisted.  But somewhere between the planning and the execution stage, the Marine Corps discovered that its limited numbers of officers were insufficient for the growing number of recruit companies and the prescribed commissioned officer berths.  Therefore, the commissioned officer's authority and duties were delegated to the enlisted instructor of recruits, with one officer commanding a four-company battalion.  Under this system, some 45,000 men graduated from Parris Island for service during World War I.

Parris Island's expansion continued into the 1920s when recruit training was overseen by Post Headquarters via a Post Training Section, a Receiving Section, and a Rifle Range Section.  However, by 1925, funding for training was reduced with the elimination of the Receiving and Rifle Range sections.  By 1935, recruits arriving at Parris Island were formed into platoons of 48 to 52 men each.  No battalion or company organizations existed on the Depot.  Permanent personnel numbered about 320, with the Recruit Depot Detachment having 12 offices and 66 enlisted, with one lieutenant performing the training duties of six captains. 

In 1938, as conflicts broke out in Europe and Asia, the United States increased its defense spending.  Parris Island received additional funding for recruit training.  As the base expanded, recruit training was altered to meet the new inflow of recruits.  The avalanche of recruits brought reorganizations of commands on the post and fluctuated the number of those commands.  On August 7, 1940, Parris Island incorporated a battalion system that initially scheduled the establishment of four battalions to expedite the processing of recruits.  On August 13, 1940, the Recruit Depot Detachment was redesignated the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Recruit Depot, Marine Barracks and took on the duties of overseeing recruit training; on December 8, 1941, a new Rifle Range Detachment was formed as part of the Recruit Depot that ultimately graduated over 240,000 men for service in World War II.

Following World War II, the post at Parris Island was reorganized, and the base was renamed from Marine Barracks, Parris Island, to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island.  Under the new arrangement, the base had four components: Headquarters and Service Battalion (Permanent Post Troops), Instruction Battalion (Schools), Weapons Training Battalion (formerly Rifle Range Detachment), and Training Battalions.  Each training battalion (the number of battalions varied between 1946 and 1956) had four companies, each of which was a training unit.  Control of recruit training began at the Recruit Depot level with the Commanding General through the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3/ The G-3 section prepared detailed lesson plans and the master training schedules, which were transmitted to the Recruit Training Battalions where all administration for recruit training was accomplished.  

For ten years, the Depot maintained this training model.  Still, it ended when six recruits drowned during an unauthorized training exercise in Ribbon Creek on April 8, 1956.  While general training directions came from the Commanding General through the Chief of Staff and G-3, then, as now, the battalion headquarters was responsible for all administration, leaving the company officers the maximum possible amount of time for supervision of training.  Battalions were further responsible for the instruction of special subjects as opposed to the general subjects taught by the drill instructors.

The Ribbon Creek Incident brought unprecedented scrutiny to the recruit training process.  Then-Commandant Pate decided that the crux of the issue lay in separating commissioned officers from the recruit training process.  In response, he restructured recruit training to have a separate Recruit Training Command at Parris Island and San Diego, led by Brigadier Generals who would report to the Commandant on issues related to recruit training.  Additionally, he appointed an Inspector General of Recruit Training as his personal assistant to supervise each Recruit Training Command.  This reorganization was a temporary situation to supervise recruit training as it changed.

The first commanding general of RTC, General Wallace Greene, was very concerned with the condition of those most involved in recruit training, the drill instructors.  Among other changes was the authorized wear of the field hat, now called a campaign cover, which has become a universal symbol for the Marine Corps Drill Instructor.

By 1958, the extraordinary control measures instituted after Ribbon Creek were no longer considered necessary.  The Recruit Training Command lost its separate and unique status of having a Commanding General.  It became the Recruit Training Regiment under the command of a colonel and the operational and administrative control of the Recruit Depot.  A Headquarters Company, two Recruit Training Battalions, and a Weapons Training Battalion belonged to RTR.  Women Marines' Training Battalion, Training Aids Library, and Drill Instructor School reverted to Depot control.  Colonel J. Tabor became the first Commanding Officer of the Recruit Training Regiment.  In June 1958, the Third Battalion was reactivated.

Throughout the latter half of the twentieth century, training continued to progress to meet modern challenges and attitudes.  During the Vietnam War, Parris Island trained over 200,000 recruits for the conflict.  In 1986, the separate Women's Recruit Training Command was redesignated as the Fourth Recruit Training Battalion under Recruit Training Regiment.  In 1988, female Marines were trained separately from men until 2019, when the first gender-integrated companies graduated from Parris Island.  In June 2023, the Fourth Battalion was deactivated.

Parris Island's mission has always been simple: "We Make Marines." The history of recruit training and the Recruit Training Regiment demonstrates how those responsible for creating the next generation of Marines have responded to challenges to continue producing the finest quality Marines to serve their nation.


COM: 843-228-2712               


COM: 843-228-3273


COM: 843-228-4574

Substance Abuse Counseling

COM: 843-228-1620

Equal Opportunity Coordinator:

Captain Alan W. Smith


Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program

Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and Eastern Recruiting Region (ERR)

The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program will serve as the single point of contact to facilitate victim support services, promote sexual assault training and awareness, and provide policy and program assistance to commands located on Parris Island and within the ERR.

MCRD Parris Island/ ERR 24/7 Sexual Assault Support Line: 843-228-3599

DOD Safe Helpline: 877-955-5247

Sexual assault is a criminal act and will not be tolerated. The Marine Corps’ goal is to eliminate sexual assaults within the Corps and to assist those affected by sexual assault. (MCO 1752.5C)

The MCRD Parris Island and ERR Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program provides 24/7 support and advocacy to all Marines, sailors, and military dependents over 18.  We work to ensure all Marines, sailors, and civilians who are victims of sexual assault are “treated with dignity, sensitivity, and without prejudice” (MCO 1752.5C).

Reporting Options:

Restricted Report

This enables someone to receive support services without triggering an official investigation. The following individuals have confidentiality and they are ready to help:

- Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC)

- SAPR Victim Advocate

- Healthcare Provider

- Chaplain*

- Victims’ Legal Counsel*

*The chaplain and VLC are not able to take a report but they are able to assist in a confidential manner.

When a restricted report is made, medical care, advocacy and counseling services are available without notifying command or law enforcement officials. The SARC will notify the commanding officer of the installation that an assault occurred without providing identifying information about the victim. A Marine who elects to make a restricted report can always change to an unrestricted report. There are some exceptions to the restricted report so please contact one of the resources above to get more information.

Unrestricted Report

This allows the same support however an official investigation will be conducted by NCIS and the command will be notified as well. 

The following individuals can assist in an unrestricted report

- Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC)

- SAPR Victim Advocate

- Healthcare Provider

- Chaplain

- Victims’ Legal Counsel

- Chain of Command

- Law Enforcement

Details of the incident will only be shared with personnel who have a legitimate need to know. This option allows the victim to request a military protective order, civilian protective order, or an expedited transfer and enables the Marine Corps to potentially hold the offender accountable.

If you need to make a report, please call the 24/7 Support Line: 843-228-3599

CG's SAPR Policy

Recruit Training Regiment Leaders

Recruit Training Regiment

Commanding Officer

Col Christopher B. McArthur is currently assigned as as the Commanding Officer, Recruit Training Regiment, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. ...

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Recruit Training Regiment

Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major David Watts serves as the Sergeant Major for Recruit Training Regiment, Parris Island, South Carolina....

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Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island