The Cradle of the Corps is turning 100.
Nov. 1 marks a century since Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island first started churning out Marines, and the depot in Port Royal, South Carolina, is celebrating tomorrow with a flyover of approximately 600 new graduates of “Centennial” Charlie and Oscar companies and a speech by the Corps’ new commandant, Gen. Robert Neller, at a morning colors ceremony.
Since 1915, more than a million young Americans have gone through entry-level enlistment training to become Marines at the Corps’ second oldest post and its longest continually operating recruit training installation.
“We make basic Marines who embrace our shared legacy and who are imbued with our core values of honor, courage and commitment,” Staff Sgt. Greg Thomas, Parris Island's chief of public affairs, said. “These core values are timeless and serve as the foundation upon which we build physically fit and ethically sound warriors.”
About 19,000 recruits — male recruits east of the Mississippi and all of the nation’s female recruits — arrive each year to stand on the yellow footprints.
Over a 12-week boot camp under the attentive supervision of drill instructors, they take part in a variety of activities designed to transform them from civilians into United States Marines, including bayonet and rifle training, martial arts, a confidence-boosting obstacle course, and the infamous 54-hour final field test known as the “Crucible,” as detailed in this Marine Corps informational slideshow.
Such training crafts warriors to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
“The Marine Corps is America’s 9-1-1 force, and Parris Island will continue to take the best and brightest and transform them into Unites States Marines, poised to answer the nation’s call at a moment’s notice,” Thomas said. “War-fighting tactics and techniques may change, but our time-proven training program leads to a mentally tough, morally sound, physically fit Marine.”
Parris Island has long served as a reference point of Marine culture, both within the Corps and throughout the civilian world at large, perhaps most prominently in Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 film "Full Metal Jacket."
Other key events at the Oct. 16 anniversary ceremony include a joint performance by the Silent Drill Platoon and the Parris Island Marine Band, the rededication of two historical monuments, and the opening of two new Parris Island Museum exhibits: “One Hundred Years of Instructing Marines” and “Making 21st Century Marines.”