Marine Corps Boot Camp is undoubtedly one of the toughest basic training programs in all of the U.S. Armed Forces. Broken in to four phases, 1st phase, 2nd phase, 3rd phase, and 4th phase, you will be tested both mentally and physically for the duration of your stay. If you are considering joining, read on for a glimpse at the Marine Corps Boot Camp Schedule for 2023.
Here is the Marine Corps Recruit Training Schedule | Week-by-Week Guide (Updated for 2023). I urge you to read this article in its entirety! Plus, I have a FREE gift for you at the end.
The United States Marine Corps Recruit Training
At 13 weeks and more than 70 training days, Marine Corps Boot Camp is not only the longest basic training of all the Armed Forces, but also the most demanding.
Marine Recruits do not have the luxury of weekends off or even the ability to leave base like the other Branches of the Armed Forces. Recruits will be under constant supervision from there Drill Instructors day and night.
Recruit training consists of the following:
- Physical Fitness
- Close-Order Drill
- Rifle Marksmanship
- Marine Corps History
- Marine Corps Rank Structure
- Marine Corps Knowledge
- Combat Tactical Medical Care
- Swim Qualification
Before earning the Title United States Marine, all Recruits must complete “The Crucible.” This main event is designed to push all Recruits to their breaking points. The will endure sleep deprivation, long hikes, rigorous physical activity and very limited food during the 54-hour event.
From the day Recruits step onto those yellow footprints, the pain and suffering begins. There is no wasted time and many Marines will agree that Marine Corps Boot Camp was arguably one of the most challenging experiences of their lives.
Here is the Marine Corps Boot Camp Schedule | Week-by-week Guide for 2023!
Marine Basic Training Requirements
- High School Diploma
- Legal U.S. Residents age 17 to 28
- Able to pass a Criminal Background Check
- No Felony Convictions
- Able to pass the Initial Strength Test
- Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) Test with a score of at least 31 for high graduates or 50 plus for those with a GED
Where do Recruits attend Marine Corps Boot Camp?
All recruits will attend Marine Corps Recruit Training at one of two locations:
- Recruit Training Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina
- Recruit Training Depot at San Diego, California
Where recruits will go will depend on where they enlist. Those that enlist west of the Mississippi will likely attend boot camp in San Diego. Those that live east of the Mississippi will most likely attend boot camp at Parris Island.Whichever location you attend, you will be there for 13 grueling weeks of pain and suffering.
You will be stripped of everything you own and will learn to become a basically trained Marine. It will not be easy, but rest assured that with the right mindset you can and will graduate and earn the title of United States Marine.
Now lets dig into all four phases of Marine Corps Boot Camp. Before we proceed, here is the breakdown of each.
- PHASE 1 (Receiving)
- Recruit receiving
- Physical fitness
- Introduction to close-order drill
- Marine Corps Martial Arts Program introduction
- PHASE 2
- Swim week
Team week & Interior Guard
- First written exams
- Swim week
- PHASE 3
- Field training
- Rifle marksmanship
- 3, 5 and 8 mile hikes
- PHASE 4
- Gas chamber
- The Crucible
- Marine Week
- Gear turn-in & Graduation
Marine Corps Boot Camp Phase 1
Recruits can expect to literally dive right into Marine Corps culture in Phase 1. This Phase of Recruit Training is the longest and recruits will begin their daily physical fitness training, basic Marine Corps Knowledge, and unit cohesion. They will begin learning Marine Corps Martial Arts (MCMAP) and spend a large portion of their time in the classroom learning first aid, Marine Corps History and Marine Corps Rank Structure. Recruits will be expected to memorize Marine Corps Terminology as they will use it daily!
This phase is meant to strip a recruit of all their civilian habits and traits and teach them to become Marines. You will be stripped of everything, even your own name, and will address yourself as “this recruit.” You will no longer talk to your superiors (Drill Instructors), but instead scream at the top of your lungs. You will respond with “Yes, Sir”, “No, Sir” and “Aye Aye, Sir”. Recruits will literally be taught how to do everything as if they were a child learning from the start!
Recruits will arrive at either MCRD Parris Island or MCRD San Diego late at night. Once off of the bus and on to the Yellow Footprints, Recruits will take an oath. After that all Recruits will be rushed in to Recruit Receiving. This is a final phone call to your parents is made to let them know that you have arrived safely. There is no time to waste and no conversation to be had as you will be given a script to read from.
Next, Recruits are stripped of all personal belonging (hopefully you didn’t bring much) and searched for contraband. Once completed, all Recruits will be issued basic uniforms and toiletries. Everything you brought with will be taken away and everything you will need will be issued at this point.
Once everything is issued, Recruits will then receive their first haircuts. Male Recruits will have their heads shaved bald and females will receive a close cropped cut.
For the remainder of the night, Recruits can expect to do loads of paperwork, undergo all medical and dental screenings, and receive all of their vaccines that are required. Recruits will literally funnel through a gauntlet of medical personnel receiving multiple shots in either arm. Good luck to those who dislike needles!
Recruits can expect to receive zero sleep the first night. They will spend their next couple of days cleaning, cleaning and doing more cleaning. Better get used to all of the cleaning because you will be doing A LOT of it in Recruit Training!
Next is the Initial Strength Test (IST). This includes a mile-and-a-half run, max pull-ups, and max crunches in two minutes. Recruits must pass this IST to begin training. All Recruits should be striving to do MORE than the minimum standards.
This is the day that the Recruits meet their Drill Instructors! All Recruits will now be “picked up” in to their platoons. Once this happens there is no turning back. Contrary to popular belief it is easy to earn the title than to get kicked out of Boot Camp and you get “picked up.”
While this day might be one of the most chaotic days of your life, it is one that you’ll remember forever. This is the day Marine Corps Boot Camp officially begins!
All Recruits will learn about Incentive Training (IT), which is used to correct mistakes and to instill discipline. IT is done in the form of calisthenics that Recruits will do until they’re told to stop by the DI’s. There is a limit in which Recruits can be subject to IT, but only when its done outside. Outside IT can only last 5 minutes, but inside on the quarter deck there is NO LIMITS!
Recruits can expect to do pushups, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, crunches, high knees and any other exercises the Drill Instructors come up with all while screaming at the top of your lungs!
This high intensity and stressful training is designed to simulate the stress of combat. A Recruit will learn to immediately respond all orders, as everything they do is done on count down by their Drill Instructors.
Recruits will have one last amnesty period (last chance to come clean about drug use) and after that is full steam ahead to becoming a United States Marine!
Monday, the start of week one you will be awakened by the sudden screams from your drill instructors. Every little thing you do will be wrong. You will learn to stop once you hear the number “zero!”
Recruits will learn the Marine Corps Core Values: Honor, Courage, and Commitment and will embody them moving forward. Weapons will be assigned. From this point on, Recruits will be responsible for caring for their new best friend, which is their M16A4 Rifle. They will learn the 4 Weapons Safety Rules and memorize the Rifleman’s Creed.
From this point on, Recruits will go everywhere with a sense of purpose (Run!), scream every time they speak, practice Drill in formation with their platoons, and partake in some form of physical activity multiple times a day.
Another large portion of their time will be spent in the classroom, learning Marine Corps Traditions, History, Basic First Aid, Rank Structures, and everything else about the Marine Corps.
Don’t get caught sleeping in class or you’ll quickly find yourself outside in the “pit” with your Drill Instructors who will ensure you never make that mistake again.
On Friday, Recruits will be introduced to the Obstacle Course (O-course) where they’ll receive instructions on how to navigate it before running through it with their platoons.
Recruits will also begin learning the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) which is a combination of various Martial Arts disciplines.
Before the weekend is over, Recruits will complete the Combat Fitness Test (CFT) which is designed to test a Marines Combat Fitness capabilities to include, including a fireman carrying a buddy, dragging a buddy, throwing a mock grenade, sprinting, low and high crawls and carrying ammo cans.
While the CFT only lasts a couple of minutes at most, you’ll feel like your lungs are going to explode out of your chest by the time you’re done with it! The CFT is a literal kick in the ass.
Week 2 will consist of even more PT, MCMAP, Classroom time, and just sheer chaos (the chaos never stops). Recruits will be introduced to the Pugil Sticks where they will be put up against other recruits to battle it out. You’ll want to be as aggressive as possible because everyone’s watching and you don’t want to stand out in a bad way (get your ass kicked).
Drill will continue, as it is an essential part of daily life as a recruit. Recruits literally march everywhere they go. Tight elbows!
Close Order Drill is a large part of Marine Corps Boot Camp. It is designed to build unit cohesiveness and discipline. Your bodies will hurt, your voices will be hoarse and you’ll be tired like you’ve never felt. Keep in mind you’re growing and you will slowly begin to get stronger and better at everything you do!
In the Classroom, during week 2, Recruits will learn Combat Care and Marine Corps History. Recruits can expect their days to look something like, Physical Fitness (PT) and MCMAP in the mornings and classroom time after lunch, followed by drill and cleaning. Keep in mind that there is plenty of free time throughout the day. If one Recruit slips up, gets in trouble or just does anything to set off one of the DI’s everybody is paying for it.
Recruits will begin week three with the introduction to the confidence course, which I’m sure you may have seen pictures of.
This course includes the stairway to heaven, the slide for life, and the tough one. These obstacles are designed to test you both physically and mentally.
Physical Training will continue and recruits do the circuit course, which consists of 2×400 sprints and more exercises which include dips, military presses, and pull-ups!
I.D. Cards will be issued during this week as well as the first visit to the dentist. For those recruits that haven’t yet had their wisdom teeth removed I would HIGHLY suggest you do so before you leave for Basic! They will remove them in Boot Camp if you don’t and I can assure you the healing process is NOT fun. I witnessed it firsthand from a few guys in my platoon.There is not much time at all for days off and therefore your healing time will be minimal.
Friday will consist of a strength and endurance run as a unit. Consisting of 800-meter runs (1/2 mile) with strength stations in between recruits will do squats, mountain climbers, pull-ups, ammo can lifts, and push-ups.
Be prepared to drill even more than usual this week. The Senior Drill Instructors will inspect their platoons in preparation for Initial Drill on Saturday. Disappoint your senior Drill Instructor and there will be hell to pay.
Initial Drill is a tool used to test the performance of your Drill Instructors. How well you drill as a platoon directly relates to how well the Drill Instructors are doing their jobs.
Make them proud!
Marine Corps Boot Camp Phase 2
Phase 2 will begin with Swim Qualification and the Confidence Course. This phase will reveal which recruits pushed themselves in Phase 1. Those recruits that didn’t will most likely be pushed back a Phase if they can’t keep up!
Keep in mind that the pass rate for Marine Corps Boot Camp is 80%, but often times Recruits may get sent back a Phase or two due to injuries or failure to keep up.
Week 4: Swim Week
This week is the first week that Recruits can and will be dropped to another platoon. You’d better hope this isn’t you, because typically this is a two week setback!
Where are my Iron Ducks at? Those folks that are afraid of the water?! This week might just be your least favorite experience in Recruit Training!
Week 4 of USMC Recruit Training is Swim Week. Your Drill Instructors will be with you every step of the way demonstrating each event before forcing you to do it. Recruits will swim 50 yards with a ruck and tread water in their cammies for 15 minutes.
Those recruits that can’t swim will receive special instruction in the shallow end of the pool before doing everything else in the deep end. It is highly advised that you learn to swim before leaving for Boot Camp, but if not you will be taught how to swim by the instructors.
At the end of week 4, Recruits will have their Boot Camp photos taken.
Friday will consist of more MCMAP and pugil stick fighting. This might seem like a nerve-wracking time as you are fighting against someone else, but use this time to release some built up anger! Take it out on your fellow Recruit!
On Saturday, the first Physical Fitness Test (PFT) will be completed. This will consist of a three mile run, max set of pull-ups, and a max set of crunches in 2 minutes. It is important to always push yourself on these fitness tests, as your scores may come back to haunt you. Although, this first PFT might not be your best due to the lack of sleep, fatigue and stress that you’re under.
Recruits who fail to pass the PFT will be dropped.
Saturday, Recruits will take to the Obstacle Course.
Week 5: Team Week & Interior Guard
Recruits will partake in intense physical training during week 5 which will consist of the famous log drills. Log drills are where recruits must work as a team to carry the load. Remember, you’re only as strong as your weakest link and you don’t want to be that weak link!
Team week is where recruits will be sent to various locations around the base to assist with cleaning tasks, laundry, and any other random duties, but not so much so as it used to be when I was in. Nowadays, Recruits will maintain a sensitive guard around sensitive locations, and the barracks will be run like a patrol base.
This is supposed to be more tactical and to get the recruits thinking like fleet Marines. If there is one piece of advice I can give you, which will apply throughout the remainder of your military career, someone is always watching.
As a Marine, and even a recruit, you are representing your platoon, your battalion, your unit, and the Marine Corps as a whole. This should not be taken lightly.You should hold yourself accountable, as well as, hold yourself to a higher standard.
This week will conclude with another Combat Fitness Test (CFT) and you’d better make this one count! The CFT consists of an 880 yard sprint, 30lb ammo can lift from shoulder height to over head as many times within 2 minutes and perform a run called the “maneuver under fire” where Recruits are paired up and conduct a series of combat related tasks to include a buddy drag and a fireman’s carry. All of this is done in your cammies!
Week 6 is exciting because you are almost rounding the halfway point!
This week will consist of another PFT, the bayonet course, more pugil sticks, MCMAP training, and an actual written test on Marine Corps Customs, Courtesies, and Traditions.
At this point (for San Diego Recruits only), all Recruits will load up on buses and head to Camp Pendleton to the Weapons and Field Training Battalion.
Marine Corps Boot Camp Phase 3
Week 7: Grass Week
Physical Training will grow more intense, and the hikes 0r “humps” will be longer with heavier packs, but you’ll find the Drill Instructors backing off just a bit to allow you to focus on learning the foundations of marksmanship.
You will learn the proper firing positions that will be used in week 8 (Firing Week) and you will spend countless hours sitting in the grass around a firing barrel “snapping in” on practice targets.
“Snapping in” is essentially dry firing your weapon (practicing that slow and steady squeeze of the trigger) and getting comfortable with the four shooting positions: Standing, Kneeling, Prone, and Sitting. This week is one Recruits will learn to love or hate.
Keep in mind that Grass Week isn’t only done in Basic Training. You will participate in Grass Week every year you are in the Marine Corps because it is required before you qualify on the Rifle Range.
Grass Week is boring, plain, and simple. I won’t even begin to sugarcoat it. The days begin before the sun comes up and they end when it’s down (just as any day does in recruit training).
You will be uncomfortable, fatigued, exhausted, hungry, and just about any other miserable emotion you could feel, but one thing to keep in mind is that it’s week 6, and you’re almost halfway done with Basic Training!
Don’t take Grass Week for granted. Pay attention to the instruction and techniques provided by your instructors. You’ll want to shoot well during Firing Week (Week 8). Which Marksmanship Badge you’ll wear on your dress uniforms will depend on how well you shoot.
You don’t want to be that new Marine, or even a seasoned Marine, walking around with a ‘pizza box’ on your chest (Marksmanship Badge)!
You will wrap up week 7 with an 8 km hike or what Marines like to call, “hump”.This will be done in your body armor, kevlar helmet, rifle, and your pack. You will be carrying roughly 45 pounds of gear.
The Drill Instructors will ensure you are keeping at least one arms distance from the recruit in front of you and make sure your feet are moving!
Week 8: Firing Week
Week 8 is all about the range.
This part of Recruit Training should be exciting. Recruits will finally be able to use the skills learned in week 7 and put rounds downrange! Did you know that Marines qualify at the longest distance of any other Branch in the Armed Forces?
Recruits should expect by now that PT must be done first thing in the morning. The Drill Instructors will also use every bit of downtime to ensure you’re all getting in your IT training as well! (No that this NEVER stops either.)
The Rifle Range will consist of 3 days of live fire and 2 days of Rifle Qualification.
Recruits will fire from the 500, 300, and 200 yard lines. Starting at the 500 yard line, Recruits will 10 shots at once before being scored. From their Recruits move to the 300 yard line, then the 200. No longer will recruits be in a seated position and instead will be firing form a barricaded position while wearing a flak and kevlar the entire time.
Recruits can use whichever firing position they chose at the barricade.
Saturday, Recruits will undergo their longest hike (hump) yet at 13 km (8 miles). Failure to complete the hike or keep up may result in a Recruit getting dropped.
While the hikes might seem short, they will be difficult with the added weight and fatigue Recruits will be feeling. These hikes will continue on into the Fleet Marine Force and may be even longer.
Week 9: Field Week
This is the week that everything will start to come together. Your transformation into a full-blown Marine finally begins.
At this point in training, Recruits will have a solid two months of hardened physical training under their belts and their platoon will be as cohesive of a unit as any other. All of the hard work that is endured throughout the last 8 weeks will finally start to feel like it’s paid off.
Recruits will be stronger, both mentally and physically, and their endurance will be light years ahead of what it was when they arrived at Recruit Training.
In the previous week on the Rifle Range, the Drill Instructors may have lightened up a little, this is normal. The Range is stressful enough as it is and combined with the added pressure Recruits are already under in Boot Camp, the last thing you need is one flying off the handle with a loaded weapon.
That’s the truth.
But, rest assured your Drill Instructors are back, full force in week 9!
Recruits will be challenged on the field courses, including combat assault, low crawl, barbed wire, and various other challenges that simulate a battlefield.
Rifle Qualification will be completed this week with Table II the last 2 days of the week, which focuses more on combat-oriented scenarios. Scores will be tallied and totaled together with Table I Rifle Qualification.
You’ll want to shoot your very best on both Tables I and Table II because your score will be worn in the form of a Rifle Qualification pin on the chest of your dress uniforms for everyone to see!
You don’t want to be the one rocking a “pizza box” when you show up to your first unit! A “pizza box” is a term we Marines call the Marksmanship Rifle Qualification Badge (See below).
Mind you, the one above is not real, but rather a joke, but looks similar to the actual Marksmanship badge.
Seriously though, strive for the Expert Badge on the range.
Saturday will consist of a final written exam and another Combat Fitness Test (CFT).
Week 10: The Crucible
Arguably one of the most important events in Recruit Training, The Crucible is where you earn the title of United States Marine.
Monday, Recruits will face the Confidence Chamber, aka the Gas Chamber. Recruits will learn how the gas mask works in a real setting. Yes, there will be CS gas and yes, you will be required to break that seal!
Most recruits panic at the burning sensation of the gas and the feeling that you’re going to suffocate. It may seem impossible, but you can actually fight through the pain of it all, believe me! At night, Recruits will hike 5km to their campsite in preparation for The Crucible!
This 54-hour event will not be easy. Recruits are sleep deprived and will operate on a 24 hour operations cycle. They will be required to complete a series of team building tasks in their squads. All Recruits will be given two and a half MRE’s (Meal Ready to Eat) for the whole 54 hour event and a total of 45 miles of marching will be done!
Recruits will be extremely fatigued, tired and exhausted, but still required to perform despite all of this.
Once The Crucible is concluded Recruits will officially be handed their Eagle, Globe, and Anchor and called United States Marines for the first time!
This moment is indescribable and one that you will remember and cherish for the rest of your lives. As I sit here writing this I get goosebumps thinking back to the day I earned the title over 12 years ago.
As new Marines, you will be treated to a Warriors Breakfast, where you can eat as much of anything you want from the chow hall. What makes the Warriors Breakfast so special is not the food believe it or not. It’s finally being able to have an actual conversation with your Drill Instructors. For the first time, you can talk like a human being with your Drill Instructors.
It’s such a surreal experience and one you’ll only understand when you experience it for yourself.
Phase 4: Being A Marine
Week 11: Marine Week
It’s official, you can now call yourself Marine for you have earned the title and the right to do so.
This week will focus heavily on learning how to be a Marine in the Fleet Marine Force.
You will continue Physical Training, take a trip to the Museum to learn more about our beloved Corps, and earn your Tan Belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.
New Marines will also learn to exit a helicopter (not a real one) by rappelling and fast roping from the tower. If you hate heights you’ll love this..
Marines will have the Company Commanders’ Inspection to ensure they are ready for graduation. By now, they are used to the heat, discomfort, and standing at attention for hours on end so it shouldn’t be a problem.
Week 12: Graduation Week
Monday will consist of graduation practice.
Tuesday, new Marines will have a liberty brief followed by “Warrior Preservation”, which is a seminar on preserving the history and traditions of the Marine Corps. Warrior Preservation is designed to encourage you to uphold your values as a Marine and conduct yourself as such both on and off duty.
Wednesday is prepared for the Battalion Commander’s Inspection. The day will be long and you will be standing at attention for a large portion of it. The day will end with a final cleaning of your weapons before being turned into the armory.
Thursday is a big day!
Marines will start it off with a Battalion moto-run before starting Family Day! This will be the Marines last run of Marine Corps Boot Camp with their Platoons so cherish the moment and enjoy it!
This is also the first time you will see your families since you shipped off to Basic Training.
The moto-run is the Marine Corps’ way of showing off its newly disciplined and trained Marines! The whole battalion will run around the base screaming motivational cadences and showing off for the families in attendance.
The emotions will be overwhelming!
The night before graduation Marines will host what is called a “gong show”. You will laugh and joke with your Drill Instructors and share funny stories and moments you remember during Basic Training. It’s a great way to end your experience with your Drill Instructors, but sad at the same time.
You’ve gone through so much with them and endured so much hardship that you’ll almost feel sad leaving them. Friday is the day you’ve long-awaited!
Marching across that Parade Deck in front of all those cheering families and loved ones is an incredible feeling. You simply have to experience it to understand it!
That’s a wrap!
Once graduation is completed you will be released on 10 days of “boot leave”. You’ll be able to head home with your families for some long-awaited relaxation time. Take it easy, don’t party too hard, and stay out of trouble!
If you’ve stuck around for this long I’d like to thank you.
I would also encourage you to follow your dreams!
You are reading this for a reason and one reason only, you are curious!
Joining the Marine Corps is not for the faint of heart.
It will likely be one of the most challenging things you have ever done, but I can assure you it will be worth it!
There is no better feeling than being able to call yourself a United States Marine and be a part of the world’s greatest fighting force.
Grab your FREE copy of the Marine Corps Knowledge eBook!
Thanks for stopping by!
Sergeant (Marine Corps Veteran)
For The Corps
Before you leave, here are some Articles you NEED to Check out!
- What To Ask Your Military Recruiter? Ask These 20 Questions!
- Are You Considering Joining The Marines in 2022? | Don’t Fall VICTIM To This!
- Where Do Marines Live After Boot Camp? | Here Is EVERYWHERE You Will Be Going After Basic Training!
Visit the For The Corps YouTube Channel for more content!