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Thursday - Family Day - Finally!

Note: Anyone, not just the immediate family of a recruit, can attend Recruit Graduation and Family Day. There is also no limit to the number of people who can attend. If you did not receive a pass in the mail please visit the PI Depot page for more information.

It's Thursday! The day you've been waiting for. You finally get to see your Recruit! Don't feel bad if you don't recognize your own son or daughter. The Marines are notorious for disguising your loved ones as lean, mean, fighting machines. You'll find them eventually. Once you find them, have a great time and enjoy the day!

Note about Family Day Wear: You might want to wear a shirt representative of your Marine's Battalion colors. Here are the Battalion colors:

1st Recruit Training Battalion   Red
2nd Recruit Training Battalion   Gold
3rd Recruit Training Battalion   Navy Blue
4th Recruit Training Battalion   Maroon

Family Day Schedule

Please register at the Douglas Visitor Center upon arrival. There is a coffee shop in the Visitor's Center that opens very early. You need to be on base EARLY if you're going to see the Moto Run. You don't want to miss it!

If you visit the MCCS pages for the Thursday and Friday schedules, it gives you all the detailed info on when the shops open, i.e. The Marine Corps Exchange, the Engraving Shop, the Depot Museum, the All Weather Training Facility, the Battalion Commander's Brief to the Families, On Base Liberty, the Family Day Buffet at the Lyceum and lots of other information that will be very useful to you during your visit on Family Day and Graduation.

Click here for the Thursday Schedule

Click here for the Friday Schedule

The Motivational Run begins very early in the morning. Check the Thursday link above for the most up-to-date start time or call 1-800-826-7503 or (843) 228-3650 for more information. Times are subject to change. It's a good idea to visit the MCCS Page for the latest schedules as well.

The run starts on the Parade deck. This is your first opportunity to get a glimpse of your son or daughter. It's a 3-mile run. The Recruits will be grouped by platoons in formation so keep a look out for your son or daughter's platoon number. You will not get to talk to your Recruit at this time but nevertheless, it's really something to see. The first time you'll make personal contact with them is when they're released for on-base liberty.

Note: You may think you know your Recruits platoon number by heart with all the letters sent and received during their stay at Parris Island. It is still a good idea to take that address with you to Parris Island. Mom, put it in your purse, or Dad, put it in your wallet. It doesn't take up that much space and there is a good chance you're not going to remember that platoon number once you get to the base.

Also, as Max suggests for the San Diego female family members also holds true at Parris Island: "Here is something I am TELLING you. When you go to the base, do NOT take Kleenex with you. That's correct, NO Kleenex. Here's what you Moms, Grandmas, Aunts, all female family members, need to take. Get the large size roll of Bounty, the 'quicker - picker - upper'. This is not per family, it is a roll PER FEMALE. You've got the Motivational Run and the "On Base Liberty" for today. Tomorrow is the Graduation to go through also. Just a thought, keep a sheet or two of Bounty available for Dad, Grandpa, or any of the guys that will be with you. It is an emotional two days for EVERYONE".

Absolutely do not take your Marine off the base on Thursday. They will not graduate.

You'll find plenty of things to do on the base during Family Day. If you plan to go eat, be prepared for long lines. It might be smart to immediately go to the restaurant after the ceremony since about 2,000 other people (or more) are going to eat also. There are several different eateries so you're bound to find something to please everyone.

If you would like to picnic, there is a family picnic area at Elliot's Beach and historic places to see and a snack bar at the golf course. NOTE: Your paperwork will say that no coolers are allowed. This means they are not allowed in the stands or at the events but you can leave the cooler in your car and take it out when you eat your picnic lunch.

A picnic is a great plan if weather permits and there are picnic areas available for use at the base. There are a lot of people at Family Day. The lines to get something to eat are typically long and you haven’t seen your Marine for months! A picnic will get you away from the crowd to spend some quality time together.

If you’re going to picnic, there is a service called Cabbie Cuisine that picks up groceries or food for you at various restaurants in Beaufort and delivers it to you at the Douglas Visitors Center on the base right by the parade deck. They’ll bring everything you need so don’t worry about plates, forks, etc. They take orders on Wednesday until 11 p.m. or even Thursday morning (they open at 9 a.m.) and they will even take orders from more than one restaurant if you have a group that just can’t decide on one place. If the order is going to be over $100 they really need the info 24 hours in advance. The delivery charge is $6.99 and if the order is over $50 they add a 15% gratuity for the “mobile waiter”. Visit their site at Just so you know, they also do Room Service for the area hotels as well.


If you care to shop, you can go to the Marine Corps Exchange (department store), which is on the right going in, you can't miss it, its before you get to the Peatross Parade Deck and the family parking; but families can only purchase items in the souvenier section of the exchange without a Military ID. You can also patronize the 7-Day Store, which is a gas station and convenience store. Civilians can shop there but can't purchase alcohol or tobacco products. You can shop at the Commissary but can't make a purchase without a Military ID. There is also a gift shop inside the museum and they now accept credit cards.

As for other entertainment, there is a bowling alley on base if you care to try your luck. Don't forget to stop at the Travel Agency! If you don't know why yet, be sure and read the Airlines page! You might also want to make time to just drive around the base and let your Marine tell you about some of his or her experiences. They should have plenty to share and it's nice to hear all about it while it's fresh in their minds. If they have a problem recalling any stories, perhaps a trip by the yellow footprints might spark some fond memories. Priceless!

Time will go way too fast no matter what you do. Tomorrow you get to take your new Marine home!




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