Boot Camp Graduation: What You Should Know

Family and friends of graduating Marines are strongly encouraged to attend the graduation festivities on MCRD San Diego. Graduation is two-part: Thursday is "Family Day" and Graduation is Friday. There are also some additional events beginning on Wednesday afternoon for those who arrive in San Diego early, including a special guided tour of the Museum just for families. 

"Family Day" Thursday includes orientation "briefs," a "Motivational Run" which is the final run for the Marines before graduation, and "Depot Liberty," a time to visit with family and friends and tour the Depot. Graduation will take place on Friday and then the Marines are released to leave the Depot. 

Graduation typically takes place on Friday mornings at 10:00 a.m.
(unless otherwise noted at

FAQ for Family Day and Graduation

How many guests can attend? There is no limit to the number of family members and friends that can attend Family Day or Graduation.

What to wear? Civilians should dress in comfortable clothes and wear comfortable shoes for walking around the Depot on Family Day. We suggest dressing nicely on Graduation day, and bringing layers on both days. Military members are encouraged to wear their uniforms. Wearing any version of the camouflage utility/field uniform is not encouraged, while wearing uniforms of comparable or more formal appearance than the graduates is appropriate. In the summer months (during Daylight Saving Time), the graduation uniform is the Dress Blue D. In the winter months (non-Daylight Saving Time), the graduation uniform for the new Marines is Dress Blue B. 

Are pets allowed? There are no animals allowed at the Graduation or in the Museum. The only exception is for service animals (not "comfort" animals). 

Are wheelchairs and strollers available? Yes, wheelchairs and strollers are available for rent from Guest Services in the MCX Mall on the Depot. The Museum is accessible to all visitors with the use of our wheelchair ramp and elevator. 

What are the entrance and parking procedures? All visitors must possess a federally recognized photo ID (driver’s license, state-issued ID card,  or passport). For those driving on base, you must have a valid driver’s license, proof of insurance and valid vehicle registration in your possession. All visitors and graduation traffic must enter the base through Gate 5 at the intersection of Washington St. and Pacific Highway. All vehicles and personnel are subject to search upon entry, and firearms, weapons, knives greater than 3 inches, drugs and all drug paraphernalia are prohibited. Prohibited items will be seized and offenders may be cited and denied entry. Expect delays for security screening and please plan accordingly.

Parking passes are not needed for Family Day or Graduation. Visitors are advised to park in the parking lots adjacent to the parade deck and base theater. Visitors may park in any open space not marked or reserved for base purposes. The Museum has a small parking lot, as does the MCX shopping area. For more information and directions please view our Visit Us page. 

Shuttle Service around the Depot

Every 20 minutes the Bay View Restaurant shuttle bus travels between:

  • The Recreation Center 
  • Museum Flag Pole (On the Parade Deck)
  • Mall (right near the MCX)
  • Bay View Restaurant

Schedule of Events

Guided Museum Tour (Wednesday Afternoon)
1500 at the MCRD Command Museum
Reservations required; call 619-524-4426 to reserve your spot on this free tour led by our veteran tour guides

Meet & Greet (Wednesday Night) 

New Marine Family Meet & Greet at the Bay View Restaurant

Family Day (Thursday) 

On Family Day, you’ll spend the morning preparing to meet your new Marine. You'll learn what to do and what not to do during your time at MCRD San Diego, outside the Command Museum, before being led to the Motivational Run, where you'll get your first glimpse of your new Marine! At noon, family members gather outside the Depot Theater for the Liberty Formation, where your new Marine will be granted Depot Liberty and be able to spend the afternoon with you until it is time for him to return to the barracks one more time prior to graduation the next morning.

Family Day Schedule
0600-0900 Breakfast Buffet Begins/ The Bay View Restaurant
0830 Welcome Orientation/ Depot Theater
0900 Drill Instructions Brief/ Command Museum
       Learn the do’s and don'ts for the day from MCRD Drill Instructors in the Command Museum courtyard. Bathrooms are located inside the Museum, as         well as the Museum gift shop which sells graduation apparel from shirts to hats, umbrellas, mugs, jewelry, and more.

0930 Motivational Run/ Command Museum
1030 Marine Corps 101/ Depot Theater
       Overview of Marine Corps history, customs, and courtesies as well as in-depth look at resources and benefits available to your Marine worldwide.

1130 Company Commander’s Brief/ Depot Theater
1200 Liberty Formation/ Depot Theater
       The final ceremony before your Marine is released for liberty aboard the Depot in the afternoon.

1200-1700 Depot Liberty (1800 during DST)
       New Marines are given free time aboard the Depot, but cannot yet leave the Depot. Some of the favorite hangouts for new Marines and their families         are the Command Museum, Exchange courtyard, the Bay View Restaurant and the Recreation Center featuring Domino’s Pizza, video games and             bowling.
1100-1500 Liberty Lunch/ The Bay View Restaurant


Graduation Day (Friday)
0630-0900 - Breakfast Buffet at the Bay View Restaurant
0745-0830-Color Ceremony at the Commanding General’s Headquarters
0830-0945- Graduation seating at Shephard Day Parade Deck
1000-1200-Graduation ceremony at Shephard Day Parade Deck
1100-1500 Lunch Menu Service at the Bay View Restaurant


© MCRD Museum. All rights reserved


MCRD Museum Foundation
Building 26 Post Office Box 400085
San Diego, CA 92140-0085

Federal Tax ID: 33-0290006 


MCRD Museum Foundation 990

Museum Hours of Operation:
Monday-Saturday, 8:30AM to 4:00PM

Foundation Hours of Operation:

Monday-Thursday, 8:00AM-4:00PM

Friday, 8:00AM-3:00PM

Telephone: 1-619-524-4426

Gift Shop: 1-619-524-0663

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