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Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego

Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego is one of two recruit training bases in the United States. It is home to the Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard personnel, though the depot in San Diego has just 388 acres. MCCS supports all active duty personnel, their family members, reservists, and retired military personnel. Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego is one of the birthplaces of basically trained Marines. It is here where America's young men are transformed into Marines. Marines are forged in a furnace of shared hardship and tough training. This shared, intense experience creates bonds of comradeship and standards of conduct so strong that Marines will let nothing stand in their way.

MCRD is located just northwest of downtown San Diego and north of the San Diego International Airport, Lindbergh Field. There are two entrances (gates) to MCRD, Gate 2 and Gate 4 (Main Gate). The Marine Corps Exchange is nearest to Gate 4.

San Diego County needs a new international airport. Lindbergh remains the smallest major airport in the country, situated on 474 acres north of downtown and served by a single, relatively short 9,400-foot runway. A logical place for a second runway is right next door at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. Recruits could be trained at Camp Pendleton.

In December 1998 The Port of San Diego and the US Marine Corps reached a tentative agreement on a land swap that set the stage for Lindbergh Field expansion while providing the Marines with new training facilities. The deal would give the port nearly 30 acres of Marine Corps Recruit Depot property, enabling the extension of a taxiway on the north side of the airport.

The 380-acre MCRD is on the Base Realignment and Closure list and could face closure in 2005. In April 2002 there were discussions about the possibility of moving the US Marine Corps Recruit Depot to the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in Irvine, which closed in 1999. The Port of San Diego would be a pivotal agency in the move, which could cost $500 million. The port would shoulder some of the cost and in exchange would get the land rights to the Marine Corps property.

Private vehicles without DoD decals are not permitted on the Depot at anytime. A vehicle driver must show a valid driver's license to the Military Policeman at the gate before entering the Depot. All occupants of vehicles must be wearing seat belts. The speed limit throughout the base is 20 MPH. Please drive at 5 MPH when near marching troops. Obey all traffic and speed signs.

Marine Corps recruits are trained not only physically and mentally, but morally as well. Forming the bedrock of any Marine's character are the Core Values -- Honor, Courage and Commitment. Marines in training are not permitted to use tobacco, alcohol products, or demonstrate any of the physical training courses. Marines in training are required to stay in uniform during liberty.

It has been said time and time again by former Marines that Marine Corps recruit training was the most difficult thing they ever had to do in their entire lives. In order to train the world's most elite fighting force, it has to be that way. Upon arrival at MCRD, a new recruit begins a virtually non-stop journey, the end of which results in the transformation of that recruit into a new Marine.

The first stop is at Recruit Receiving, where new recruits spend the first few days of their recruit training experience. Here they will receive their first haircut and their initial gear issue, which includes items like uniforms, toiletries and letter writing supplies. During this time recruits will also be given a full medical and dental screening, and take the Initial Strength Test. This test consists of a one and a half mile run, sit-ups and pull-ups to test recruits to see if they're in shape to begin training.

Forming is the period when recruits are taken to their training companies and they "meet" their drill instructors for the first time. During Forming's 3-5 days, recruits learn the basics: how to march, how to wear their uniform, how to secure their weapon, etc. This period of time allows recruits to adjust to the recruit training way of life before the first actual training day.

Drill is the basic way in which platoons march and move from place to place. At first, recruits will practice just staying in step with the rest of the platoon and the drill instructor. However, as training continues, the platoon becomes a well-oiled machine performing synchronous, complex drill movements. During recruit training, platoons will also compete in two drill competitions. Drill is mainly used to instill discipline, team pride and unit cohesion.

Physical Training, or "PT" as it is often called, comes in many forms aboard MCRD. Recruit training uses a progressive physical training program, which builds up recruits to Marine Corps standards. Recruits will experience Table PT, a period of training in which a drill instructor leads several platoons through a series of demanding exercises while he stands on a table. Recruits will also run, either individually or as a platoon or squad. Other PT consists of obstacle courses, circuit courses, or 3-, 5- or 10-mile conditioning marches.

Recruits will also exercise their minds through academics training in subjects ranging from Marine Corps history, Marine customs and courtesies, and basic lifesaving procedures. Recruits will also take an academic test while in recruit training.

The Corps' Core Values are Honor, Courage and Commitment. These values make up the bedrock of a Marine's character. During recruit training, recruits are taught these Core Values and the numerous others attached to them, such as integrity, discipline, teamwork, duty and esprit de Corps. Drill instructors, recruit training officers and Navy chaplains teach specific Core Values classes, but drill instructors also talk one-on-one with recruits after other training events to see what values were learned and how they affect the recruits. For example, a drill instructor might talk about overcoming fears after rappelling or not giving up after a long march.

The 32nd Commandant, Gen. James L. Jones, envisioned a program to enable every Marine to realize their full potential as a warrior. Drawing upon our rich legacy of leadership and heritage of innovation, the Marine Corps developed the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. It is a martial art whose roots reach back from the boarding parties of the Continental Marines, extend through the Raiders of World War II and include the modern complexities of the three-block war.

The Confidence Course is an 11-station obstacle course that helps recruits build confidence as well as upper-body strength. Recruits will tackle this course twice while aboard MCRD. Training in Combat Water Survival develops a recruit's confidence in the water. All recruits must pass the minimum requirement level of Combat Water Survival-4, which requires recruits to perform a variety of water survival and swimming techniques. If a recruit meets the CWS-4 requirements, he may upgrade to a higher level. All recruits train in the camouflage utility uniform, but those upgrading may be required to train in full combat gear, which includes a rifle, helmet, flak jacket and pack.

Basic Warrior Training introduces recruits to field living conditions. The majority of a Marine's field training is conducted after recruit training at the School of Infantry. During the 3-day Basic Warrior Training conducted during boot camp, recruits will learn basic field skills like setting up a tent, field sanitation and camouflage. It is also during this training that recruits go through the gas chamber.

Field Training introduces recruits to field living and conditions. During the 3-day field training evolution, recruits will learn basic field skills from setting up a tent to field sanitation and camouflage. It is also during this training that recruits go through the gas chamber.

Marksmanship training teaches recruits the fundamentals of marksmanship with their M-16A2 service rifle. This training takes place over two weeks, the first of which is called Snap-In Week. During this week, recruits are introduced to the four shooting positions (standing, kneeling, sitting and prone) and a Primary Marksmanship Instructor shows recruits how to fire, how to adjust their sights, how to take into account the effects of the weather, etc. Recruits also have the opportunity to fire on the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Training machine. During the second week of marksmanship training, recruits actually fire a known-distance course with ranges of 200, 300 and 500 yards. Recruits prepare for rifle qualification on Friday of that week.

FFR is a portion of training devoted to firing weapons in a field condition. During marksmanship training, recruits learn how to fire at a single target while in a stationary position. During FFR recruits learn how to fire at moving and multiple targets, while under low-light conditions and wearing their field protective (gas) mask.

The field meet is a chance for recruits to have some fun and compete against other platoons in their company in a variety of physical events, such as the tug-of-war and relay races. This event also helps build teamwork and unit cohesion.

The Crucible is a test every recruit must go through to become a Marine. It tests every recruit physically, mentally and morally and is the defining moment in recruit training. The Crucible is no walk in the park, unless your idea of a walk in the park takes place over 54-hours and includes food and sleep deprivation and approximately 40 miles of marching. The entire Crucible event pits teams of recruits against a barrage of day and night events requiring every recruit to work together solving problems, overcoming obstacles and helping each other along. The obstacles they face range from long marches, combat assault courses, the problem-solving reaction course, and the team-building Warrior Stations. Each Warrior Station is named for a Marine hero whose actions epitomize the values we want recruits to espouse.

The Crucible is a rite of passage that, through shared sacrifice, recruits will never forget. With that memory and their Core Values learned in recruit training, they can draw upon the experience to face any challenge in their path.

The last two weeks of training are spent aboard MCRD and are filled with final required events such as the Practical Examination, Physical Fitness Test, Battalion Commander's Inspection and Company Drill. This is also the period in which the recruits begin to transition from the role of recruit to Marine. The culmination of this is the presentation of the Eagle, Globe and Anchor, signifying the new Marine's successful completion of recruit training.

Family Day and Graduation take place on the last two days while on MCRD. Family Day occurs on Thursday and gives new Marines a chance to see their family and friends for the first time during on-base liberty. Graduation is conducted on Friday at the completion of the Transition Phase. It is a formal ceremony and parade, attended by family and friends and executed on the Shepard Field Parade Deck.

Following recruit training and graduation, the new Marines will go on to further their training. To do this, the Marines will report to the School of Infantry which is located at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Marines who are designated as infantry Marines are assigned to the Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry for military occupational specialty training. After graduating, these Marines will be assigned to their first permanent duty station. All non-infantry Marines are assigned to Marine Combat Training (MCT) Battalion, School of Infantry for training. MCT reinforces and expands on the basic Marine-combat skills learned in recruit training. Following MCT, Marines attend their MOS schools to learn the trade they are expected to perform for the Marine Corps.

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