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Arriving to the Depot

Scream "Aye Sir!"

The first step recruits must complete once they arrive aboard their respective Depot is Receiving.  During the three to four days they complete this process, they will receive what will feel like a fire hose of information and get little sleep.  This process will seem like no much more than a blur, but essential administrative and medical processes are completed during this phase.

Key events during Receiving are:

  • The Yellow Footprints

  • Phone Call Home

  • Item Inventory

  • In-Processing

  • Medical

  • Haircuts and Initial Issue

  • Moment of Truth

The Yellow Footprints

Recruits will be gathered at airports, bus stations, or train stations by uniformed liaisons for their final movement to their training location.  They will then be transported to the depot by either bus or van in groups varying in size.  Once they arrive, they will immediately meet a Drill Instructor whose first command will likely be: "get off MY bus!"  As they depart the vehicle, they will be directed to sets of yellow footprints placed at a perfect interval, each at a forty-five degree angle.

Every Enlisted Marine in the Corps has stood on the Yellow Footprints at either MCRD Parris Island or MCRD San Diego to begin their Marine Corps career.  On these footprints they will be accounted for and given an initial speech of what is expected of them by a team of Drill Instructors hand-selected to perform initial processing duties requisite of the Receiving phase. 

Phone Call Home

Each recruit will be provided a chance to call a parent, spouse, or other family member to notify them of their arrival aboard Parris Island or San Diego.  These calls are short and scripted, and only serve as a means to verify the recruit's travels were safely executed.  It is essential each recruit has more than one number which can be attempted, and family members are prepared to receive a late night call from an unknown number to hear their recruit's voice one last time before training commences.

If a family member is not reached during their initial attempts at making a call, recruits will be allowed further opportunities to notify family of their safe arrival at the recruit depot.  



Item Inventory

Contraband vs. Storage

Recruits are instructed not to bring anything to Recruit Training other than their paperwork and the clothes on their backs.  (What Can I Bring With Me?)

These authorized items will be stored until graduation. Items that cannot be stored will be shipped home.


In some cases, recruits arrive with prohibited items such as knives, tobacco, jewelry, excessive cash, or other types of contraband.

Contraband will be disposed of immediately without exception.



Validating Paperwork 

Recruits will turn in the paperwork they traveled with to the Recruit Admin Branch (RAB) so they can be entered into Marine Corps accountability systems.

They will be given very specific instructions by the Drill Instructors at receiving for this phase as a failure to comply could result in erroneous data entry.  Military pay and benefits are also initially activated at this time.

Recruits will be required to fill out a variety of paperwork to ensure all information is completed to requirement.  Recruits are tired and hungry at this phase, but attention to detail is a must.


Immunizations and Screening

The medical process completed at MEPS ensures each recruit meets the qualifications to complete military service.  Once recruits arrive at their respective depot, they will complete a secondary medical evaluation to verify any findings made at MEPS such as eyesight, allergies, and other medical concerns.  

Recruits will then receive vaccinations influenza, varicella, hepatitis, and more.  Other vaccinations will be provided at dates later in training. 


Recruit Shots from LCpl Michael Rogers.j

Haircuts and Initial Issue

Each Male recruit will receive a haircut, and there is only one style: bald.  This cut will be quick and efficient, and it will remain the only type they will receive until the completion of the CrucibleFemale recruits will be taught how to style and maintain their hair in accordance with Marine Corps Standards.  

All recruits are provided an initial set of uniforms to be utilized during training.  This includes physical training uniforms and working uniforms which they will utilize through the entirety of the training cycle. 


Recruits will receive green shirts, green shorts, camouflage MARPAT (Marine Pattern) blouse and trousers, sweat shirt, sweat pants, boots, and running shoes.  They will also be provided with gender specific undergarments and necessary toiletries.  They will continue to receive additional uniform items throughout their training.


Recruits will be sized for each item and will receive quantities set at the depot upon their arrival.  



The Moment of Truth

The moment of truth occurs at each recruit depot on Wednesday morning. It is one of the last items before the start of training.

This important event is the last opportunity recruits have to to disclose any possible medical condition, legal matter, drug use, or other situation which may adversely affect their ability serve.


It is called the Moment of Truth because it is your last opportunity to come forward.


DO NOT LIE. They will find out and send you home on the grounds of a fraudulent enlistment.


The most common disclosures at the Moment of Truth are undisclosed drug use or drug use while in a Poolee, tattoos with gang or hate group affiliations, undisclosed medications and conditions, and falsified education records.


No matter the entry path of the prospective Marine, failure to disclose important information prior to the conclusion of the moment of truth could lead to dismissal from training for fraudulent enlistment.

In the past, recruits have been dropped from training at the Crucible and after, including at SOI or MOS School, for false statements on their enlistment paperwork and not coming clean at the MOT.

Key Training Events
Sergeant Instructors
Pre-OCS Checklist
Basic Daily Routine
Eating at OCS
Living in the Squadbay
5 Paragraph Order
Getting Ready
What Can I Bring with Me?
Staying in Touch
PT Plans
OCS Knowledge
Knowledge Check
Family Day
Pro Tips
The Rumor Mill
Counseling Call
Honor Grad Principles
Reading Materials
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