Congratulations, you are now a Marine! You made it through boot camp, various training courses, and graduated from your MOS school. You are probably thinking, now what? Here is a list of the 5 Marine Corps Bases you’re most likely to get stationed at.
Where you go from here may depend on your MOS, but will largely be based on the needs of the Marine Corps. So, don’t set your heart on one place with the expectation of going there, things might work out differently. Each base offers your essentials like housing, schools, and hospitals. They also offer a variety of entertainment and conveniences from grocery stores and the MCX (Marine Corps Exchange) which is a tax-free department store of sorts, bowling alleys and movie theaters. A Marine Corps Base is like a small city and everything you need will be there for you.
Many new Marines will land at Camp Pendleton or Camp Lejeune, the two biggest Marine Corps Bases. These bases, along with Okinawa and Hawaii, have vast landscapes necessary for training purposes. Marines and their families are able to take advantage of the warm climate, beautiful beaches, camping accommodations, golf courses, and various other outdoor activities without ever leaving base. It’s not all business to many peoples’ surprise.
No matter where you land, there will be a new adventure around the corner with familiar facilities in each place. Just one of the many perks of being a Marine.
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune
For many Marines that grew up in the south, Camp Lejeune, located in Jacksonville, North Carolina, has a familiar feel that they are able to call home. The year-round warm climate makes this location appealing. Allowing, Marines and their families to take advantage of the outdoor activities no matter what time of year.
The surrounding city of Jacksonville is a great resource for fun. With beautiful parks, biking trails, shopping, and dining, there is a lot the city offers.
Speaking of family visiting, there are several lodging places for reasonable prices on base. One popular option is the lodges on Onslow beach. Here your family can camp right on the beach with all the accommodations of home. It might make for a nice weekend staycation as well. The beach is a beautiful feature of the base and provides a lot of recreational fun.
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
On the other side of the country, and bordering the Pacific Ocean, is Camp Pendleton. Located in northern San Diego County, and next to the city of Oceanside California, Pendleton has a lot to offer for a new Marine. With the ocean on one side and beautiful mountains and deserts on the other, it’s not hard to find something to do.
Some of the most scenic hikes are just a short drive away. Whether you want to go inland or stay near the coast there are many trails to visit. Even the base offers some beautiful trails to walk near the beach. Enjoy them on a regular basis for a nice exercise path or explore on the weekends with friends or family.
The area of southern California, that Pendleton is located in, was one of the first locations along the coast of California that a Spanish expeditionary force established one of twenty-one missions on. For thirty years, they went north establishing these missions, some of which are still there. Because of the history and culture surrounding the missions, Camp Pendleton and southern California have adopted many of their influences that you see today.
Marine Corps Base Hawaii
Marines have had a presence in Hawaii since 1904. The base as it is today was commissioned in 1952. The location has played an integral part in our defense’s history. It allows for such close proximity to the Indo-Asia Pacific Region. Located on the island of Oahu and near the state’s capital, Honolulu, there is a lot to explore when you might be stationed there.
With a tropical climate and a place that many Americans dream of getting the privilege to visit one day, Hawaii would not be a bad station to get placed. Again, with beautiful beaches and weather, it is not hard to find some fun in the sun with outdoor activities.
If you are feeling adventurous there are many other things to do while on Oahu. A hike to Diamond Head, a dormant volcano, allows for some beautiful views. The infamous Pearl Harbor museum is not far from base, or a trip to the aquarium would make a fun afternoon. There are many opportunities to learn how to sail, snorkel, or surf all from base if you enjoy spending your time on the water. It’s hard to look past the beautiful beaches when thinking about getting stationed in Hawaii, but that doesn’t seem like too bad of a deal though.
Marine Corps Base Okinawa
The Marine Corps established bases on the island of Okinawa, Japan after World War II. Being in Okinawa gives the Marines and our military the ability to respond to any threat on our nation or allies within 24 hours of something happening. Many Marines dread coming to Okinawa because of the distance so far from home, it makes it hard to see family or friends during your time there. However, if you make the most of it, there is a lot to experience while stationed there.
Living in Okinawa not only gives the Marine corps an advantage of location to the “Far-East,” but it also gives you, the Marine, an advantage. Taking leave to Tokyo, the Philippines, Taiwan, or many other Asian islands isn’t such trip when you live so close compared to traveling from the United States.
If traveling is not your bag there is always so much to do on base. Okinawa is known for its beaches and it embraces the island life culture. There are many opportunities for fishing, camping, or snorkeling while living there amongst other things. It’s all what you make of it and Okinawa has plenty to keep you busy while you are not hard at work.
Marine Corps Base Quantico
Being just a short drive from our nation’s capital, you can imagine getting stationed here, you are at the forefront of creative and innovation thinking. Home to Marine Corps academic classes, the Marine Corps’ Officer Candidates School, and housing multiple other government and military institutions, Quantico plays a very important role.
It’s an honor to be placed here and an amazing time to soak in our country’s rich history. Like mentioned before, it is just a short drive to Washington D.C. Visiting monuments and museums may be at the top of any new Marine’s list of things to do.
Like any major city there is also shopping and great dining experiences. Also, like so many Marine Corps bases mentioned before, proximity to water happens to be a great benefit most bases share in common. So, if water fun, camping, or fishing interests you, Lake Anna State Park is a local favorite.
There are so many new and exciting changes for a Marine and their family when moving to their first duty station. You might not get a choice in where you go, but the Marine Corps will keep it interesting, that’ guaranteed. Remember it’s all that you make of your experience. Embrace the changes to come, and welcome to the Marine Corps.