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MCRD Parris Island, SC 29905
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MCRD Parris Island
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Graduation Day

Arriving On Base

Traffic & Access

There is one way on and off Parris Island so plan for traffic delays up to 45 minutes. To get a seat in the reviewing stands directly facing the Parade Deck, plan on arriving at least 60 minutes early.

Vehicle/parking passes are NOT required to access MCRD Parris Island. Vehicle operators must have a valid ID, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. Foreign nationals must have proof they’re in the U.S. legally as well as a valid passport or driver’s license.

Learn more about visiting MCRD Parris Island.


After passing through the gate, pay close attention to the signs and personnel directing you to parking areas.  Complimentary trams shuttle you to the ceremony and parking areas. Trams run approximately 20 minutes apart 6:30 – 8:50 a.m.

View Parking & Tram Map

Attending The Ceremony

Dress Code

There isn’t a specific dress code but business casual is recommended. Wear comfortable shoes as you may have to walk from parking areas to the ceremony and use stairs in the reviewing stands. 

Current and former service members are permitted to wear uniforms to graduation in accordance with the uniform regulations for their branch of service. Uniforms comparable or more formal than the graduates’ is appropriate. The graduation uniform is the Dress Blue B during winter months (non-Daylight Saving Time) and is the Dress Blue D during summer months (during Daylight Saving Time).


Bags will be searched before passing through metal detectors at the security check point at the Parade Deck entrance. Firearms and fireworks are prohibited and subject to confiscation.


There are three reviewing stands – The covered reviewing stands directly facing the Parade Deck are organized by platoon. The two uncovered stands on either side of the Parade Deck are open seating.

The Ceremony

Peatross Parade Deck • Blvd de France, MCRD Parris Island
9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

After 12 weeks of rigorous training, new Marines march together one last time onto the Peatross Parade Deck. This formal ceremony recognizes their accomplishments during Recruit Training and acknowledges their official place among the U.S. Marine Corps. Thousands of parents and families wait anxiously to hear the Drill Instructor’s final word: “Dismissed!”

Who’s Who

Commanding Officers, Sergeants Major, and First Sergeants
Commanding Officers are the highest ranking officer in their unit, battalion, or company. Sergeants Major and First Sergeants are the highest ranking enlisted Marine and serve as an advisor to the Commanding Officer.

Commander of Troops

The Commander of Troops (COT) is the senior officer responsible for the formation, presentation, and review of the ceremony.  

Parade Adjutant

The Parade Adjutant is an officer who provides support to the commander and assists in the execution of the ceremony.

Series Commanders

The Series Commander is an officer responsible for the conduct, safety, and instruction of recruits and Drill Instructors.

Chief Drill Instructors

Chief Drill Instructors oversee a company’s recruits and drill instructors. There can be one or more Chief Drill Instructors depending on the company’s size.

Senior Drill Instructors

Senior Drill Instructors oversee a platoon’s recruits and drill instructors. There is 1 per platoon and they wear the iconic “smokey” cover and black patent-leather belt.

Drill Instructor

Drill Instructors are Marines directly responsible for leading and training recruits. There are 2 to 4 per platoon and they wear the iconic “smokey” cover and green belt with brass buckle.

Drill Masters

The Drill Master is an expert on the Marine Corps Drill and Ceremonies Manual and ensures both recruits and Drill Instructors adhere to the customs, courtesies, and traditions of drills and ceremonies.


Chaplains are ordained clergy who are commissioned naval officers. They provide ethical and moral counsel and support for the religious needs of Marines, Sailors, and families.

Color Guard

The Color Guard is a four-member formation consisting of the senior Marine and Color Sergeant carrying the National Colors, a Marine carrying the Marine Corps Colors, and two rifle bearers.

Sequence of Events


Sound Attention

Adjutant’s Call

The Commander of Troops and staff march to their position on the parade field.

March on of Troops

Series Commanders, Drill Instructors, and graduating Marines march to center, then present to the Commander of Troops.

National Anthem*

Sound Off
The band sounds off, marches down the line of troops, countermarches, marches back down the line of troops, and returns to its position in formation.

Report – Publish the Order

Company commanders report to the adjutant that all are present or accounted for. After the last company has reported, the adjutant faces the commander of troops and reports, “Sir/Ma’am, All Present or Accounted For.” The commander of troops commands “Publish the Orders.”  The adjutant terminates the salute, faces the line of troops, and publishes the orders.

Officers’ Center

During officer’s center, battalion commanders and their staffs, company commanders, company guides, and platoon commanders march directly to the center from their position in formation at the command march.

Commanding Officer Remarks

The Commanding Officer gives the new Marines guidance during leave, explains their responsibilities as a Marine, and sets his or her expectations.

Pass In Review

Platoons march past the commander of troops for a group inspection.

Retirement of Guidons

The graduating Marine returns the guidon to their drill instructor signifying the end of recruit training. Drill instructors march their platoon guidons back to the Recruit Training Regiment headquarters building.

Introduction of Award Recipients
Honor Graduation
Platoon High Shooter
Platoon High Combined PFT/CFT

Marines’ Hymn*

Final Dismissal

The moment you’ve been waiting for. The Marines are dismissed by their drill instructors and are free to run and hug family and friends.