Marine Basic Training: Everything You Need to Know (2021 Edition)
What do Chuck Norris, Bob Hope, Bugs Bunny, Jim Nabors and Gary Sinise have in common? They earned the rare title of Honorary Marine. There are less than 100 of those honorary title holders – so, if you want the title of Marine, you will have to earn it starting with Marine Basic Training.
Did you know every year Thai Marines teach U.S. Marines jungle-survival training in the annual exercise Cobra Gold? This training ends with U.S. Marines taking part in the Thai warrior ritual of drinking a decapitated cobra’s blood.
Still interested in Marine Basic Training? Let’s dig into what lies ahead for recruits. Click the section to jump right to some of the most frequently asked questions and information!
Marine Basic Training Requirements
- High School Diploma
- Legal U.S. resident age 17 to 28
- Able to pass a criminal background check
- No felony convictions
- Able to pass the Initial Strength Test
- The Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery test with a score of at least 31 for high school graduates or 50 plus for recruits with a GED
Initial Strength Test
Pull Up or Push-Ups
Male: Three pull-ups or 34 push-ups in two minutes or less
Female: One pull-up or 15 push-ups in two minutes or less
Male: 1.5 miles in 13:30
Female: 1.5 miles 15:00
Plank or Crunches
44 crunches in two minutes or less
So you think you have what it takes to pass? Put your endurance to the test and explore the Marine Corps’ fitness requirements in our latest blog!
Text a Marine Corps Recruiter
Have any questions about the requirements? Start a chat by texting MARINE (627463) from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST.
How Long Is Marine Basic Training?
Marine Basic Training is approximately 13 weeks in four phases. Week One is preparation for the 12 weeks of training ahead. Recruits can expect a flurry of paperwork, haircuts, uniform and gear issue, medical evaluations and the initial strength test. By week’s end, they will meet the drill instructors who will be with them throughout training.
In their quest to prove they belong with U.S. Marines, recruits will likely experience:
- Food rations and sleep deprivation
- Rigorous round-the-clock marches
- Low- and no-light infiltration movements
- Combat resupply and casualty evacuation scenarios
- Leadership screening maneuvers
- Values-based training and assessments
- Team-dependent negotiation of obstacles
- Team field firing combat scenarios
Fun Fact: The U.S. Marine Corps mascot is Chesty, an English bulldog, named after Marine Lt. Gen. Louis B. “Chesty” Puller, the only Marine to earn five Navy Crosses.
Where Is Marine Basic Training?
Marine recruiters work with the following locations for training:
Marine recruiters work with the following locations for training:
- Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina
- Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California
The East Coast location follows similar training programs to the West Coast location. In 2021, MCRD San Diego began accepting female recruits.
Where recruits are assigned depends on which side of the Mississippi River they live. The intensity of recruit training leads to a bit of competition and rivalry between the two recruit depots. “Hollywood Marines” are made in San Diego, according to Marines hailing from Parris Island, the original MCRD.
MCRD Mascot Matchup
Cpl. Opha May, an English Bulldog, is serving as Parris Island’s first female mascot. A distinction her namesake, Opha May Johnson, first earned as the Marine Corps’ first enlisted female in 1918.
Lance Cpl. Manny is an English Bulldog named after Sgt. Johnny R. Manuelito, a Navajo Code Talker, serving as San Diego’s mascot.
Do You Get Paid for Basic Training?
Recruits earn pay as E1s during basic training. The Marine Corps will direct deposit payment on the 1st and 15th days of the month.
Pay for BMT depends upon your rank. Every enlisted recruit starts out as an E1, and can expect an annual salary of around $19,803.60.
BMT is 13 weeks, so the average E1 payment for basic training is around $4,950 plus meals and housing.
What to Bring to Basic Training Marines?
Recruits should pack light. This talent will be among the first of many skills recruits learn. Your recruiter will tell you what you need to bring with you and what items you can’t take to basic training. Be sure to follow orders!
9 Basics for Basic Training
- Casual and comfortable clothing, including white undies/bras, calf-length white socks and running shoes
- Toiletries like toothbrush and case, toothpaste, dental floss and antiperspirant
- Shower supplies including a washcloth and towel, flip-flops, shampoo, soap, razor and shaving cream
- Haircare items such as combs, brushes and hair elastics
- Eyeglasses and case
- A lock (combo or padlock with two keys)
- Paperwork including orders, checking account direct deposit form, immunization records, high school diploma or GED, original college transcripts, proof of citizenship if not U.S. born, copies of a lease or rental agreement and copies of prescription medications
- Family documents including certified copies of marriage certificate, divorce decree or separation order, certified copies of children’s birth certificates
- ID cards including SSN, driver’s license or state ID
Marine Basic Training Phases
You are probably wondering, “what is basic training like?” if you consider becoming a recruit.
From the Marine basic training workout to combat water survival to marksmanship, each training phase will physically and mentally build up Marines’ skillset.
- Bucket Issue (standard equipment)
- Rifle Issue
- Initial Strength Test
- Intro to Marine Corps Martial Arts Program
- Weapons Safety
- Close Order Drill
- Combat water survival
- Physical and combat conditioning
- Martial arts
- Academic instruction
- Fundamentals of marksmanship
- Basic warrior training
- Field skills
- The Crucible
Did you know? The Crucible is the final training exercise – 54 grueling hours of testing recruits’ knowledge, skills and values in the field. Its finale is a 9-mile hike to Peatross Parade Deck’s Iwo Jima Flag Raising statue. Recruits complete The Crucible to earn the Eagle, Globe and Anchor marking their advancement to United States Marine.
- Final uniform issue
- Final physical and academic examinations
- Guided leadership discussions
- Standardized training requirements
Marine Basic Training Graduation
Recruits have passed these graduation requirements:
- Swim Qualification
- Rifle Qualification
- Marine Corps Martial Arts
- Physical Fitness
- Combat Fitness
- Battalion Commander’s Inspection
Family and friends are encouraged to celebrate this accomplishment with their recruits.
What to Wear to Basic Training Graduation?
Dress comfortably, including walking shoes and a sweater or jacket, unless it is a warm season. Graduation isn’t a formal event. Think lots of walking, business casual and bleachers.
How to Contact Someone During Basic Training?
In an emergency, parents may contact the local Red Cross with details of a recruit’s crisis. The messages go to the recruit’s training battalion.
Recruits will notify their family or recruiter when they arrive at training. After that, you can keep in touch with recruits through postcards and letters. Your recruit will send you their mailing address with company and platoon info.
What Can I Send Someone During Basic Training?
Hold off on the care packages during boot camp. Recruits are focused on the task at hand – thriving in Marine Basic Training. Once your Marine goes to career training or receives an assignment, they will be thrilled to receive care packages.
The bottom line is that recruits are intentionally pushing their limits. Recruits learn to overcome weaknesses in preparation for their service to keep our great nation strong.
U.S. Marines are often recognized as first on the ground – the “tip of the spear.” They are also routinely seen serving embassies in nearly 150 countries worldwide. U.S. Marines know martial arts like Jiu-Jitsu, Taekwondo and Krav Maga. Hence, they are prepared to kick ass without a weapon at all times. On the softer side, U.S. Marines’ premier community action program and beloved American Christmas charity – Toys for Tots, provides millions of kids in need with gifts.
Marines take pride in knowing they stand among the few elite fighters in our country. United States Marine – a refusal to lose and unleashed fighting spirit for country and family!
More From This Series
- Army Basic Training: Everything You Need to Know
- Air Force Basic Training: Everything You Need to Know
Up Next: PCS Move: An In-Depth Guide & 15 Expert Tips (2021 Edition)
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