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Where REAL Marines are made: East or West

Marines. The few. The proud.

Way more than a slogan, it truly is a way of life. Many mistake the pride that accompanies earning the title “Marine” with arrogance or an inflated ego too big to restrain when tossed into a room with other service members.

They may be right, but I say this; it’s all in the training.

The Corps’ training instills in Marines the confidence that we can accomplish any and every task given to us; we are trained to believe and know that we are the best; we are trained longer, and arguably harder, than any other branch of military service.

Enlisted Marines are trained at one of two recruit training depots in the United States: Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island or Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego.  Both depots are identical when it comes to training schedules and yet, ask any Marine where they were made and that’s when you will see the true pride and arrogance of a Marine come to surface.

It becomes a battle of East versus West. Parris Island Marines will argue that having the luxury of training next to an airport and traveling between MCRD San Diego to Camp Pendleton is laughable and that the reaper mountain is nothing more than a glorified trail hike. Not my opinion, just what I’ve been told.  San Diego Marines lash back that whining about sand fleas is childish and that training on a flat, tiny island is no match for the hills and real-Marine infantry courses in California’s coastal mountains.

So what’s the real deal? Who has it harder? Is there a difference?

MCRD Parris Island
Let’s look at the facts.  MCRD Parris Island trains recruits that hail east of the Mississippi River and those from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as well as female recruits.  There are four recruit training battalions, 1st – 4th; the last of which is all-female. In the summer it’s much hotter than the average 92-degree temperature because of the 96 percent humidity that comes with being located in a salt-water marshland. Winter temperatures stay in the mid to low 50s, although the humidity still rarely dips below 71 percent.

Despite the elements, There are close to 600 drill instructors conducting training at any given time on the island, graduating a little less than 17,000 Marines per year; with a male attrition rate of fewer than 7 percent and female attrition rate of fewer than 17 percent, give or take.

MCRD San Diego
Males west of the Mississippi river attend training at MCRD San Diego. There are three all-male training battalions. The west coast depot’s average 73-degree summer temperature is cooler than its east coast counterpart, with winter temps roughly the same. Training occurs on the depot as well as the terrain of Camp Pendleton where forced marches up and over hills taller than Mount Suribachi test recruits’ mettle.

In the west, there are roughly 500 drill instructors who conduct training, graduating 20,000 + recruits per year with an attrition rate of fewer than 10 percent.

The West coast does more with less. The East coast has its weather-related misery and unrelenting bugs. But, no matter how you slice it, the end result is the same: Marine.

We all claim our titles, no matter where we are “made” and proudly stand shoulder to shoulder and say, believe and know: we are the best of the best. The few. The proud. Marines.

Semper Fi brothers and sisters.

Sgt. Kuande Hall

Parris Island, 3rd Battalion, India Co. circa 2001… where REAL Marines are made. YUT!

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  • Drew Zartman Daniel

    You know, the whole “URR, WE HAZ MOUNTINZ” argument kinda loses its luster when the East Coast Marine hikes the Appalachian trail.

  • Dl Jones

    Real marines become navy corpsman especially the S.A.R.C we corpsmen have to be able to do your job as well as ours and sometimes at the same time. So if you want to be a real marine become a corpsman…

  • Make It Hot

    I probably didn’t get the degree because I have a silver star on my sea-service deployment ribbon… My bad I’ll dodge more deployments and talk shit on an internet blog.

  • thedude

    the reason is that they consolidate all the females since there are not that many females that join compared to males. the ones that fight over east and west are boots. get over it marines.

  • Semper Fi

    You probably are just a pencil pusher….if you are even a Marine at all. Sounds like a left leaning troll to me.

  • Kgoss0369

    I was a Recruit at MCRD, San Diego and a Drill Instructor at Parris Island. The thing that decides which is the toughest are the Drill Instructors. Bottom line…state, reputation, what you’ve heard doesn’t matter. It’s all about the Drill Instructors who train you. There are great DI’s and piece of crap DI’s at both places.

  • Me Likeitalot

    I was a protestant Lay Leader back in ’82 when I was at MCRD Parris Island, when late in the training on a night that we had been told to get in the rack before the evening prayer, our Senior Drill Instructor said, “Pray for War, so you can use these special talents you have learned here….”  and we all thought he was crazy!  We were lucky that it was only the Falkland Islands crisis that came up versus Iraq or another hotbed, so we were just mainly were sent to safe zones in US or Japan.  I was always told PI was the toughest, but I bet they train those in SD well too.  And we all bleed red – and those of us that did not have to pay the ultimate sacrifice, we humbly and gratefully salute those of you who did, and pray we meet you in Heaven one day to shake your hands and thank you in person.  God Bless!

  • Timothy Bucher

     I only went to one M.C.R.D.   I am in agreement that it is not the location, but the training.  It is the D.I.’s that deserve all the credit.   I am very proud To have served my Country as a United States Marine.  And I still believe… GOD, Country , Corps. And I am amused at some of these comments.  They sound as if they just graduated. and have no idea what the F.M.F. is all about!     

  • Lcpl Loco

    LOFL!! TOuche!!! Touchehunden!

  • Komedymo3300

    funny they dont train women at the west coast

  • Huldah

     Thinker is thoughtless and never invested in himself.

  • someone who knows

    Where a person goes to recruit training isn’t necessarily divided by the Mississippi River. Males from the Western Recruiting Region go to recruit training at MCRD SD. One of the AOs in WRR is the 9th Marine Corps District. The 9th MCD covers areas east of the Mississippi like Chicago, Milwaukee, most of Michigan and most of Indiana. By default, thousands of male recruits who live east of the Mississippi get trained in San Diego each year. However, a male has the choice whether they want to train in San Diego or Parris Island. All you have to do is tell your recruiter where you want to go and they’ll make it happen.

  • Bharper

    Sgt rbh

    Never ran across any Marines who refused to have my rifle alongside of them in Viet Nam, just because I graduated from a different boot-camp.  Semper Fi !!

  • Nomad52

    Well Marines, I attended a graduation this past summer at MCRD San Diego.  I watched Woman Marines graduate as well as several platoons of Young men.  It appears that they do train WM’s on the west coast.  The Marine Corps sends you to boot camp depending on on geographical location.  We are all Marines.   Semper Fi.     Nomad52, a Canadian that graduated from Platoon 2043, Parris Island, 1968.  

  • Jyglesias1

    From California and I want to train at Parris Island

    July 9th BOOT CAMP!

  • Jeff Kennedy

    This was taking pay from overworked Marines how?

  • Ernie

    Hey Ras, finally another old fart LOL ! I went through MCRD San Diego during the first part of 1951. Spent most of 1952 with 3/7 1st. Mar. Division.At first we still wore canvas lace up leggings. I suspect, with one exception, we’ve all seen the elephant. As an 03 on the MLR facing the regular Red Chinese Army, I don’t recall anyone asking where they went through boot camp..The M-1 Garand was my steady companion and I recently found one and have been out firing the damn thing. I think we have one maggot on board that slapped the monkey one time too many.
    Semper Fi

  • Stone4sherry

    I can say San Diego are the biggest bad asses on this earth. the recruits are unaware of the airport until after graduation from boot amp. Sobring it on San Diego is the best.

  • Hackrobert49

    I did MCRD San Diego and Pendleton in 1968 and the mountains were tough force marches but I still was not in the shape I needed to be in for the aggresive patrolling we did in the mountains of South Vietnam, I Corps in the Laotion border area.

  • Hackrobert49

    I did MCRD San Diego and Pendleton in 1968 and the mountains were tough force marches but I still was not in the shape I needed to be in for the aggresive patrolling we did in the mountains of South Vietnam, I Corps in the Laotion border area.

  • Hackrobert49

    I did MCRD San Diego and Pendleton in 1968 and the mountains were tough force marches but I still was not in the shape I needed to be in for the aggresive patrolling we did in the mountains of South Vietnam, I Corps in the Laotion border area.

  • Dom Flamiano

    Parris Island! OohRah, the sand fleas are killer and there is literally no escape from the swamp surrounded island.  No nice airport nearby and city life.  the real old breed bred there.

  • Cmerriman1488

    For anyone that feels it necessary “The Thinker” posted his name as “Toby Renshaw.”
    No such Marine exists and  no one with the name Renshaw is an officer in my beloved Corps.

    GB&SF killers

  • cplM

    i do believe the comic on terminal lance sums it up nice…

  • OohRah

    Its not a question of real marines east or west…its there is real marines and there is pogs

  • Ooh Rah

    its real marines east or west….its there is real marines and pogs

  • USMC8795

    Well, as many of you have already noticed, the “Thinker” is not a Marine. Most likely, it’s a wanna-be security guard at his local mall that has his high-and-tight, and makes up stories about his experiences in our beloved Corps.

    Despite the fact I got my BS degree while enlisted, and utilized as many of my benefits as I could, the college degree is worth only a fraction of the skills learned as a Marine. Employers look at the experience as a Marine more than what a degree means. Loyalty, dependability, punctuality, leadership, independence, et al are traits that are part of our training as Marines. None of these traits can be measured from a diploma.

    Sgt USMC, Ret

  • Dex

    Isn’t that the Truth…