Becoming a Marine affects the entire family—and often even the entire community. As you prepare your loved one for 13 weeks of Recruit Training, consider your own transformation—from that of loving mom, dad, teacher or mentor to the unbelievably proud resource they can always count on. While your loved one is fighting the physical, mental and moral battles necessary to earn the Marine title, it is important that you are informed about what they are going through. This is what to expect during this most defining time for your family.


If someone in your family or community is even considering becoming a United States Marine, you should be very proud, as this demonstrates an extraordinary willingness to become part of our Nation's common moral cause. This is one of the most prestigious paths a young man or woman could ever set foot on, and it is an opportunity no family takes lightly. Not everyone can become a Marine, as the path ahead is intentionally challenging. It is a process that forces recruits to battle and overcome their own weaknesses to one day stand among those who will keep our Nation strong.

Those who do earn our title become part of an organization with a rich heritage that reaches back to the Revolutionary War. Since 1775, Marines have fought and won the battles critical to ensuring our Nation’s safety and prosperity. This could very well be your family's opportunity to become part of our extraordinary lineage.

What is it about the caliber of Marines that has made them respected and revered around the world? It’s a direct reflection of the Marine Corps’ three values: Honor, Courage and Commitment. And it’s our unique fighting spirit and determination that enables us to overcome and defeat any opposing threat to our Nation.


The United States Marines live by a set of enduring Core Values that form the bedrock of our warriors’ character.

It’s a privilege to be called a Marine. Generation after generation, courageous men and women have given special meaning to the title. These same men and women live by a set of enduring Core Values that form the bedrock of their character. The Core Values give them strength and direct their behavior; they bond the Marine Corps into a total force that can meet any challenge.

  • Honor guides Marines to exemplify the ultimate in ethical and moral behavior. Never lie, never cheat or steal; abide by an uncompromising code of integrity; respect human dignity and respect others. The qualities of maturity, dedication, trust, and dependability compel Marines to act responsibly, to fulfill their obligations and to hold themselves and others accountable for their actions.
  • Courage is the mental, moral, and physical strength ingrained in Marines. It carries them through the challenges of combat and aids them in overcoming fear. It is the inner strength that enables Marines to do what is right, to adhere to a higher standard of personal conduct, and to make tough decisions under stress and pressure.
  • Commitment is the spirit of determination and dedication found in Marines. It leads to the highest order of discipline for individuals and units. It is the ingredient that enables 24-hour-a-day dedication to Corps and country. It inspires the unrelenting determination to achieve a standard of excellence in every endeavor.


During Recruit Training, your son, daughter or loved one will be put under demanding pressure, because their limits must be tested and expanded upon. If they are to become a Marine, they will be held responsible for helping win our Nation’s battles, no matter what those are or where they might be. As a Marine Recruit, they will be expected to give 100% at all times. Failure is not an option here.


If a Marine Recruiter determines that your family member has the fighting spirit to prevail and meets all of the eligibility requirements, he or she will undergo recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD), Parris Island, South Carolina, or San Diego, California.

We will transport your family member to the recruit depot. They will arrive late in the evening or early in the morning and be met by a representative from MCRD. Their orders will be processed, and their luggage will be checked to ensure they are not bringing any items outside of the ones mentioned on the list of approved items. All who enter as Marine Recruits will be required to phone home and will complete paperwork so that a letter can be sent to the family. Rest assured, you will be informed of their safe arrival.


  • Recruits must bring their Social Security card and their recruiter’s business card (Ask your son or daughter's recruiter what other documents may be required to bring)
  • A minimum of clothing (What they are wearing is sufficient)
  • Eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • Religious materials/medals
  • Prescription medication and a paper doctor's prescription
  • Twenty dollars or less in cash (Recruits will receive a debit card upon arrival to use in the Marine Corps Exchange)

Females may bring the following:

  • 3 pairs of skin-toned pantyhose
  • 1 white or beige bra
  • 6 white athletic bras that provide good support and comfort while running
  • 7 or more pairs of white panties
  • Portable blow-dryer, curling iron, or hot comb
  • Required items for hair-care maintenance

What your family member should NOT bring:

Any of these listed items will be confiscated and either destroyed or shipped back home at your family member's expense:

  • Cell phones and portable music players
  • Lethal or otherwise dangerous weapons, ammunition, knives, explosives, pyrotechnics, or fireworks
  • Alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs
  • Gambling devices
  • Pornography of any type
  • Food products, tobacco products, or chewing gum
  • Nonprescription medicines, including aspirin, ointments, and laxatives
  • Vitamins and related medicines
  • Products in glass containers or pressurized containers
  • Magazines or books (except religious scriptures)
  • Jewelry, except wedding bands and religious medals
  • Sunglasses, unless prescribed by a doctor
  • Cameras, radios, watches, or electric appliances (except hair-care appliances)
  • Nail polish and nail polish remover (Females should remove nail polish prior to arrival)
  • More than $20 in cash


Life as a Marine Recruit is not easy. Your family member can expect early mornings and late nights to be a regular occurrence. It’s a lot of work but every single detail will get them ready to fight to win. Becoming a Marine is an honor but also a great responsibility and they have to be ready for anything.

Training Day

The training day starts very early in the morning. It is long, demanding, and very challenging.


There will be daily inspections of personnel and living areas.

Classroom Instruction

A portion of the training day is devoted to classroom instruction, covering such topics as Marine Corps History and Traditions, Uniform Regulations, Military Justice, the M16 Service Rifle, and more.

Close-order Drill
Your aspiring Marine will participate in close-order drill throughout recruit training, which helps them develop self-discipline and teamwork.

Academic Evaluation

They will be tested continually on their understanding of what has been presented in the classroom. These tests, which are pass/fail, are very important in their overall performance rating.


Recruits may make and receive emergency telephone calls for verified emergencies only. Parents cannot contact them directly. Instead, you should contact your nearest Red Cross chapter, giving them the details of the emergency. It will be quickly forwarded to your family member's respective Recruit Training Battalion. If needed, they will be released temporarily from training for legitimate emergency reasons only.


Your aspiring Marine will receive three well-balanced meals each day. Remember, they are responsible for maintaining the weight standards appropriate for their height. They cannot graduate unless you meet the standards.


The Marine Corps will pay your aspiring Marine on the 1st and 15th of each month through direct deposit into their bank account. They will be issued a debit card for buying health and comfort items while training, with the purchases deducted from their account balance.

Before the title of Marine can be earned, the decision has to be made—to commit to a calling that puts service ahead of self, purpose above pleasure, and the determination to win against all obstacles and adversaries. If someone in your family is ready to prove they're capable of defending our Nation and the Marines they will fight alongside, contact a Marine Recruiter who can prepare your whole family for the steps ahead.

Contact a Recruiter

Gain direct access to a Marine Recruiter who has fought alongside Marines and is prepared to show you how to become one.


One doesn't consider an endeavor of this magnitude without having questions. Here are some of the most common.


Preparing for the Operating Forces

Joining the ranks of the Marines requires a dedication to be combat ready. Learn more about how Marines prepare for the Operating Forces.

Life on Base

The bond built between Marines starts in the barracks and extends to the battle field. Learn more about life on base in the Marine Corps.

Delayed Entry Program

The Delayed Entry Program (DEP) allows you to commit to fight for our Nation while postponing recruit training. See if you have what it takes to become a Poolee.