Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego is located right next to San Diego Airport. It’s only ten minutes from downtown. The base’s main mission is to train enlisted male Marine recruits from west of the Mississippi. It also houses the Marine Corps Recruiter School and the western Drill Instructors School.
MCRD San Diego History
During the Mexican-American War in 1846, the United States Marines made an amphibious landing in San Diego. The base was formally established in 1921. Architect Bertram Goodhue built its historic buildings in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, giving them their famous look. The base and its historic district are registered landmarks. Now, they house administrative offices and the base museum.
Marine Corps Recruit Training
MCRD San Diego trains male recruits from west of the Mississippi, although recruits from the Chicago metro area, Wisconsin and Michigan are sent west as well. Female recruits are trained at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.
Recruit training is a 13-week process. Recruits leave their civilian lives behind and learn the Marine Corps lifestyle.
The training focuses on physical fitness, close order drill, military discipline, and rifle marksmanship. Marine Corps Drill Instructors train recruits in a wide range of subjects including hygiene, the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, and Marine Corps history.
Recruits have to meet combat-oriented physical fitness standards, a minimum swim qualification, and pass a 54-hour combat simulation event known as “The Crucible.”
During combat training, recruits head to Camp Pendleton, California. There are no live-fire exercises at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego due to its proximity to the city.
Recruit Training Battalion
There are three recruit training battalions at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. They are the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Recruit Training Battalions.
Each battalion has four companies, and each company has four or more platoons of 40-60 recruits. Around 21,000 Marines go through basic training at MCRD San Diego each year.