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MCRD Parris Island is one of two Marine Corps Recruit Depots where Marine Corps recruits undergo basic training.

MCRD Parris Island

Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island is an 8,000-acre base located next to Beaufort, South Carolina. Male Marine Corps recruits from West of the Mississippi River, as well as female Marines, are trained here. Men and women are separated during training.

Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island is famously depicted in Stanley Kubrick’s Vietnam War film Full Metal Jacket.

MCRD Parris Island History

A French Huguenot expedition built an outpost named Charlesfort on Parris Island, then known as Punta de Santa Elena, in 1562. The outpost was abandoned in 1563 when the small detachment there decided to build a ship and head back to France.

From 1566 to 1587, the island was inhabited as a colony known as Santa Elena. Then abandoned again. In 1715 British Colonel Alexander Parris, treasurer of the South Carolina colony bought the island and had a number of indigo and cotton plantations there.

During the Civil War, Parris Island was home to many freed slaves. Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross, taught a school there. The Union captured Port Royal and Parris Island in 1861, and it became a coaling station for the Navy.

Marines came to the island in 1891 as a small detachment. Only 13 Marines were stationed there during 1891 and 1893 when massive hurricanes and flooding threatened the coast.

The Marines were highly decorated for their efforts in helping the Naval Station of Port Royal.

On November 1, 1915, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island was started and it’s been home to Marine Corps Recruit Training ever since.