Dos and Don’ts
Being on a military base can be like visiting another world and it’s not always easy to pick up on the rules. Just use good judgement and common sense and you’ll do great, but we have some helpful dos and don’ts that will make you look like a pro:
- Address military personnel by their rank and last name displayed on their uniforms unless asked to do otherwise. When in doubt use the always appropriate “sir” or “ma’am”. To see the Marine Corps rank structure CLICK HERE
- When the National Anthem is played and the flag is displayed, stand, face the flag, remove any hats or head coverings, stop talking and place your right hand over your heart. Un-uniformed service members, military retirees and veterans may salute if desired. It is consider courteous for non-American citizens to stand.
- Every morning and evening, the flag is raised and lowered and “To the Color” is played. If you’re on base during this time and can hear “To the Color”, stand, stop talking and face the flag. If you’re in your vehicle, pull over and stop if it’s safe to do so.
- Refer to Marines as “Marines”, not “Soldiers”. “Soldier” is sometimes unknowingly used as a general term for military personnel but a Soldier is actually an individual serving in the U.S. Army. Calling a Marine a “Soldier” isn’t in anyway disrespectful; it’s just calling them the wrong name.
- Be courteous and respectful to other families, military personnel, and to the base itself.
- Do not approach, call out to, photograph or attempt to distract recruits still undergoing training or their Drill Instructors.
- Do not approach recruits, new Marines, or Drill Instructors while in formation. As tempting as it may be to run up and hug your loved one or get the perfect close-up picture, please keep an appropriate distance.
- Do not walk across the Parade Deck.
- Civilians do not need to salute uniformed service members.
- Refrain from any jokes or references to violent or threating activity to an individual, group of individuals or property. They will be treated seriously.
Tips From Past Guests
We’ve had a lot of incredible families come through MCRD Parris Island and we’ve asked them to share some tips and advice with you. Here are the top tips:
- Arrive early for events to get the best seats.
- Participate in as many events as you can. To register for events CLICK HERE
- Plan for 45 minutes of traffic. There is one way on and off the island so it can get jammed pretty quickly.
- As exciting as Graduation is, try to relax a little. It’ll make your experience more enjoyable.
- During Liberty, try to spend as much time with your new Marine as possible. They have so much they want to share with you!
- Using a video messenger app such as Facetime or Skype on a smart phone or other small, portable device is the perfect way to share Graduation and other events with loved ones who could not attend.