Parris Island Marine Corps Base in Port Royal on map

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MCRD Parris Island Marine Corps Base in Port Royal on map


Parris Island Recruit Depot

MCRD Parris Island Marine Corps Base in Port Royal, SC South Carolina Military Bases


Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island spreads over more than 30 square kilometers and is located in South Carolina, close to Port Royal. It is often associated with the larger nearby Beaufort, which is responsible for hosting multiple other military facilities. The facility is the main recruit depot in the United States Marine Corps. A similar installation is located in San Diego, California, but it is not as important. The site is operated by Lori Reynolds.


The primary mission of MCRD Parris Island is to deal with all the training missions the Marine Corps are supposed to go through. The installation is primarily used by the enlisted Marines. At the same time, it is also responsible for the aspirant Marines living in the eastern side of the Mississippi River. Finally, the female aspirants are welcomed from all over the country. The males living in the western side of Mississippi are usually taken to San Diego for the initial training. However, their choice is often taken in consideration. If they opt for this installation, they are immediately relocated.


Other than that, the depot officials do their best to provide great facilities for the units deployed on site and their families. If the military troops are used to live in a military installation, the civilian families have a hard time accommodating to this lifestyle, therefore the facilities on site aim to turn the place into a normal environment.


The history of MCRD Parris Island dates back to the 16-th century. The place was often used as a military installation by other cultures too, including the French and the Spanish. The installation was first used by the United States Navy in 1861, after the Union troops took it over. The Marines joined three decades later, in 1891, but under the command of the US Navy. The place saw an impressive round of improvements, as numerous buildings and facilities were raised. Most of the facilities built then are now part of the historical site of the installation.


The base was fully commissioned to the United States Marine Corps on November, 1-st, 1915. Its primary mission was to support training operations and it has not changed since then. Multiple battalions were sent there in 1941 and 1942, as more and more aspirants joined the base throughout World War II. During World War II, MCRD Parris trained more than 200,000 recruits. At the time the Japanese forces surrendered in front of the allied forces, 20,000 more recruits were looking forward to graduate.


The command for the female aspirants was established after World War II ended, in February, 1949. The Korean War brought in some extra activity, after it significantly dropped in the previous years. During the war, the training depot prepared almost 140,000 troops.


A severe accident took place in the spring of 1956, with six recruits drowned. Ever since that moment, the recruiting conditions have become way harsher, not to mention about the safety procedures. In 2002, the base was annexed by Port Royal, with the entire island it is located on.

Parris Island Recruit Depot



Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island is an 8,095 acres military installation located within Port Royal, South Carolina approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Beaufort.



Marines were first stationed on Parris Island in 1891. They formed a small security detachment headed by First Sergeant Richard Donovan. His unit was attached to the Naval Station, Port Royal, the forerunner of Parris Island. Donovan’s unit was highly commended for preserving life and property during hurricanes and tidal waves that swept over the island in 1891 and 1893.


On November 1, 1915, Parris Island was officially designated a Marine Corps Recruit Depot and training was continued from then on. Enlisted male training began here in November 1915 while enlisted female training began here in February 1949.

DSN Prefix 335

Beaufort Area Code 843

Base Operator 228-2111



We make Marines who are committed to our core values in service to the country. We are guided by our Core Values of honor, courage and commitment. We are committed to pursuing quality, being good stewards of resources and the environment, ensuring the professional development of our people, fostering positive community relations, promoting an atmosphere that relies on teamwork and integration, fostering an environment of decentralized decision making, achieving a balance between our mission and quality of life, and being accountable for mission accomplishment, our people, and ourselves.


Population Served

A population of over 21,000 and housing 261 families makes up the Recruit Depot Parris Island Facilities.



A bus service is available to the Greater Beaufort area. Inquiries for scheduled service may be directed to: Greyhound Bus Lines (843) 524-4646. Also available is the local Amtrack Station (YEM) address is 9 Main Street, Yemassee, SC 29945.  The Amtrak Station is approximately 30 minutes from Parris Island.  For schedule information, call 1-800-USA-RAIL


Critical Installation Information

Most visitors come to attend the recruit Graduation Ceremony.Visitors to graduations at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island can find lodging, dining, tours and attractions in nearby Beaufort, Port Royal and Bluffton. Please view detailed listings at the following link or contact the Beaufort Regional Chamber of CommerceVisitor Center at 1-800-638-3525.As the headquarters of the Eastern Recruiting Region and recruit training for all females and males east of the Mississippi River, we expect to provide only the best experiences possible for our visitors.Parris Island also extends its hospitality to Community Organizations that may wish to visit as a group.Vehicle operators must possess:


    A valid driver’s license

    Vehicle registration

    Proof of automobile insurance


The nearest major airports to Parris Island are the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) and the Hilton Head Airport (HHH). The next closest airport is the Charleston International Airport (CHS).


Transportation from these airports is not provided, however both airports have rental car agencies.For those traveling by car, please refer to our Driving Directions.