Boot Camp Graduation: What You Should Know

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As precautionary measure to ensure the safety of the public and our staff during the ongoing COVID-19 situation, the MCRD Command Museum will be closed to visitors until further notice. For more information on the ongoing situation as it pertains to graduations, Depot/Museum events, and museum operating hours, visit the Depot website.

Family and friends of graduating Marines are strongly encouraged to attend the graduation festivities on MCRD San Diego. Graduation is two-part: Thursday is "Family Day" and Graduation is Friday. There are also some additional events beginning on Wednesday afternoon for those who arrive in San Diego early, including a special guided tour of the Museum just for families. Museum tours are subject to docent availability. Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or call our offices at  619-524-4426 to request a Wednesday guided tour of the museum.


"Family Day" Thursday includes orientation "briefs," a "Motivational Run" which is the final run for the Marines before graduation, and "Depot Liberty," a time to visit with family and friends and tour the Depot. Graduation will take place on Friday and then the Marines are released to leave the Depot. 

Graduation typically takes place on Friday mornings at 10:00 a.m.
(unless otherwise noted at



FAQ for Family Day and Graduation

How many guests can attend? There is no limit to the number of family members and friends that can attend Family Day or Graduation.

What to wear? Civilians should dress in comfortable clothes and wear comfortable shoes for walking around the Depot on Family Day. Families are encouraged to wear their new Marine’s Battalion colors (1st: Red, 2nd: Yellow, 3rd: Blue) to show their support for the graduating class of Marines. Battalion/Company shirts and other Family Day attire can be purchased in the Museum’s Gift Shop on Family Day. The Museum’s gift shop is also the place to purchase souvenirs and graduation memorabilia for your new Marine. Click here to visit the Museum's Online Gift Shop

We suggest dressing nicely on Graduation day, and bringing layers on both days. Military members are encouraged to wear their uniforms. Wearing any version of the camouflage utility/field uniform is not encouraged, while wearing uniforms of comparable or more formal appearance than the graduates is appropriate. In the summer months (during Daylight Saving Time), the graduation uniform is the Dress Blue D. In the winter months (non-Daylight Saving Time), the graduation uniform for the new Marines is Dress Blue B. 

Are pets allowed? There are no animals allowed at the Graduation or in the Museum. The only exception is for service animals (not "comfort" animals). 

Are wheelchairs and strollers available? Yes, wheelchairs and strollers are available for rent from Guest Services in the MCX Mall on the Depot. The Museum is accessible to all visitors with the use of our wheelchair ramp and elevator. 

What are the entrance and parking procedures? All visitors must possess a federally recognized photo ID (driver’s license, state-issued ID card,  or passport). For those driving on base, you must have a valid driver’s license, proof of insurance and valid vehicle registration in your possession. All visitors and graduation traffic must enter the base through Gate 5 at the intersection of Washington St. and Pacific Highway. All vehicles and personnel are subject to search upon entry, and firearms, weapons, knives greater than 3 inches, drugs and all drug paraphernalia are prohibited. Prohibited items will be seized and offenders may be cited and denied entry. Expect delays for security screening and please plan accordingly.

Parking passes are not needed for Family Day or Graduation. Visitors are advised to park in the parking lots adjacent to the parade deck and base theater. Visitors may park in any open space not marked or reserved for base purposes. The Museum has a small parking lot, as does the MCX shopping area. For more information and directions please view our Visit Us page. 

Where can I buy graduation memorabilia for my new Marine? The Museum Gift shop stocks a wide selection of USMC memorabilia you can purchase to commemorate your new Marine’s graduation. Popular gifts for a graduating Marine include challenge coins, flags, frames, and USMC apparel. Click here to visit the Museum Gift Shop. Not sure what to buy for your Marine? Read our boot camp graduation gift guide here. Get an instant 10% off your first online order by subscribing to our gift shop email list here.

What should I buy my new Marine? Graduation from Marine Corps bootcamp is a monumental achievement in the life of your new Marine. Help commemorate the achievement by purchasing a bootcamp gift as a memento. Parents and families traditionally purchase a challenge coin from their Marine's battalion. This coin features the Depot logo as well as the official logos of each Recruit Training Battalion. These coins can be purchased ahead of time and presented to your new Marine on Family Day Thursday.

Where can I find more information about the museum or on Family Day? The MCRD Museum Foundation operates a museum membership and information table in the Command Museum courtyard. Stop by between 0900-1600 (9:00am-4:00pm) to have questions answered or to learn how you can support the Museum and our Marines! 


Shuttle Service around the Depot

Every 20 minutes the Bay View Restaurant shuttle bus travels between:

  • The Recreation Center 
  • Museum Flag Pole (On the Parade Deck)
  • Mall (right near the MCX)
  • Bay View Restaurant

drill instructor brief family day

Schedule of Events

-Guided Museum Tour (Wednesday Afternoon)
1430 at the MCRD Command Museum
Reservations required ; call 619-524-4426 to reserve your spot on this free tour led by our veteran tour guides

-Meet & Greet (Wednesday Night

New Marine Family Meet & Greet at the Bay View Restaurant

-Family Day (Thursday

On Family Day, you’ll spend the morning preparing to meet your new Marine. You'll learn what to do and what not to do during your time at MCRD San Diego, outside the Command Museum, before being led to the Motivational Run, where you'll get your first glimpse of your new Marine! At noon, family members gather outside the Depot Theater for the Liberty Formation, where your new Marine will be granted Depot Liberty and be able to spend the afternoon with you until it is time for him to return to the barracks one more time prior to graduation the next morning. This is the day to visit the museum gift shop to purchase battalion shirts before graduation!

--Family Day Schedule --

0600-0900 Breakfast Buffet Begins/ The Bay View Restaurant

0830 Welcome Orientation/ Depot Theater

0900 Drill Instructions Brief/ Command Museum
       Learn the do’s and don'ts for the day from MCRD Drill Instructors in the Command Museum courtyard. Bathrooms are located inside the Museum, as well as the Museum gift shop which sells graduation apparel from shirts to hats, umbrellas, mugs, jewelry, and more.

0930 Motivational Run/ Command Museum

1030 Marine Corps 101/ Depot Theater
       Overview of Marine Corps history, customs, and courtesies as well as in-depth look at resources and benefits available to your Marine worldwide.


1130 Company Commander’s Brief/ Depot Theater

1200 Liberty Formation/ Depot Theater
       The final ceremony before your Marine is released for liberty aboard the Depot in the afternoon.


1200-1700 Depot Liberty (1800 during DST)

  New Marines are given free time aboard the Depot, but cannot yet leave the Depot. Some of the favorite hangouts for new Marines and their families are the Command Museum, Exchange courtyard, the Bay View Restaurant and the Recreation Center featuring Domino’s Pizza, video games and bowling.

1100-1500 Liberty Lunch/ The Bay View Restaurant


-Graduation Day (Friday)
0630-0900 - Breakfast Buffet at the Bay View Restaurant
0745-0830 - Color Ceremony at the Commanding General’s Headquarters
0830-0945 - Graduation seating at Shephard Day Parade Deck
1000-1200 - Graduation ceremony at Shephard Day Parade Deck
1100-1500 - Lunch Menu Service at the Bay View Restaurant


© MCRD Museum. All rights reserved


MCRD Museum Foundation
Building 26 Post Office Box 400085
San Diego, CA 92140-0085

Federal Tax ID: 33-0290006


MCRD Museum Foundation 990

Museum Hours of Operation:
Monday-Saturday, 8:30AM to 4:00PM

Foundation Hours of Operation:

Monday-Thursday, 8:00AM-4:00PM

Friday, 8:00AM-3:00PM

Telephone: 1-619-524-4426

Gift Shop: 1-619-524-0663

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