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Marine Corps San Diego Graduation

Preparing for Marine Corps Basic Training Graduation at MCRD San Diego can be very exciting! To make sure you have the most up-to-date information possible,...

Preparing for Marine Corps Basic Training Graduation at MCRD San Diego can be very exciting! To make sure you have the most up-to-date information possible, we’ve got all you need to know about Family Day and MCRD San Diego graduation.

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MCRD San Diego Family Day

Family Day starts early the day prior to graduation with an optional breakfast from 6:00-8:00am followed by the famous Motivational Run (no, you don’t have to run!) at 8:30am.  

During Family Day, you will get the opportunity to learn more about what your Marine experienced during the 12 weeks of boot camp through tours and Command briefs. During the day your Marine will escort you around the base showing you where they trained (ok, did pushups and got yelled at).

You’ll get some quality time with your new Marine during their liberty. We recommend taking your Marine to the MCRD San Diego Museum so you can walk the exhibits and learn about the unique history and customs of the Marine Corps.

Sandboxx Tip: To avoid accidental knife-handing by your Marine, stay on their left side so they are free to salute with their right hand when passing higher-ranking Marines on base.

MCRD San Diego Family Day Schedule of Events

Family Day EventTime
Motivational Run8:30 AM
Welcome Orientation9:30 AM
Marine Corps 1019:45 AM
Company Commander’s Brief10:30 AM
Beyond the Yellow Footprints10:45 AM
Liberty Formation11:20 AM
End of Liberty5:30PM

Sandboxx Tip: Try to get to the gate no later than 8am to help ensure that you get a good spot for the Motivational Run (the first time you’ll see your new Marine). 

Before Family day families have the opportunity to attend the Family Meet & Greet dinner held the evening prior, starting at 6pm. The dinner is held on base at The Bayview Restaurant and allows you to meet the recruit’s drill instructors as well as other family members.

You must register for this event, and and it usually sells out quickly. All family and friends are allowed to attend. Sorry, your recruit will not be present at this dinner.

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MCRD San Diego Graduation Schedule

So what time does Marine boot camp graduation start? The graduation ceremony won’t begin until 10 am, but there are a few events leading up to the ceremony that we highly recommend you take part in. You can learn more about specific graduation events here.

MCRD San Diego Graduation Schedule of Events

Graduation Day EventTime
Morning Colors Flag Raising Ceremony7:30 AM – 8:30 AM
Graduation Seating8:30 AM – 9:45 AM
Graduation Ceremony10:00 AM – 11:30 PM
Lunch Service11:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Graduation day is filled with a lot of emotions and will be a day you and your new Marine will remember forever. Families from all over the country will have traveled to attend graduation, so expect a big crowd, and don’t forget to arrive at official events on the early side.

Sandboxx Tip: Seating is divided by Platoon in bleachers, arrive early if you want to secure good seats. 

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MCRD San Diego Graduation Dress Code

Are you wondering what to wear to a Marine boot camp graduation? Clothing can be casual for each day and there is no dress code. A majority of families will wear custom t-shirts on graduation day that display their Marine’s name and platoon number. We recommend that you have a sweater or jacket for outside in case the weather takes a turn for the worse.


The feeling you get when you see your New Marine for the first time will be more than you could ever imagine. It is truly a special day and time to enjoy and celebrate with your Marine and family. 

Happy travels, and congrats to you and your soon-to-be new Marine!

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