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United States Marine Corps
283 Blvd De France
MCRD Parris Island, SC 29905
The cost of living in Beaufort is higher than average for the U.S., but housing costs may be high for junior enlisted families.
Access to the Depot is structured on Thursdays and Fridays of graduation weeks in order to accommodate the large number of visitors. Please follow the directions of the PMO Marines at the entrance gate in order to assure the most expeditious access to the base. Also, be advised that the Provost Marshal’s Office rigorously enforces traffic regulations aboard the Depot, please adhere to speed limits and make complete stops at marked intersections.
Beaufort is susceptible to high tides, flooding, and hurricanes, although, they seldom cause severe damage. It is wise to have renter's insurance if renting off-base or living in government housing. A list of insurance companies offering renters insurance is available at the Housing Office.
Cost of community housing (off-base housing) is relatively high in the Beaufort area. This is particularly true for Junior enlisted families requiring two or more bedrooms, who face greater out-of-pocket expense. Beaufort is located in close proximity to valuable resort property and plays host to three military facilities located in a sparsely populated, rural setting.
It is important to hand carry your medical/dental records, copy of official orders, school records (for you and your children), personnel file (SRB), training records, birth certificates, Social Security cards, pink slips/titles for vehicles, resumes, insurance papers, passports, warranties, road hazard insurance papers, and prescriptions.
Information regarding pets:
South Carolina law requires you to turn on your car headlights whenever there is any restriction to visibility while driving. This includes rain, fog, smoke, as well as at dawn and dusk. Due to COVID-19 MCRD Parris Island is currently closed to visitors.
Defense Service Network (DSN) Dialing Instructions
The DSN is the provider of long-distance communications service for the Department of Defense (DoD). Every installation has a special DSN number and the numbers vary by world-wide location. In order to place a call using DSN, the caller must be using a military phone on an installation. Cell phones cannot dial DSN numbers. When dialing a DSN number from a United States installation to another United States installation, it is unnecessary to dial the DSN 312 area code. When dialing a DSN number to/from overseas locations, the DSN area code must be included. The operator can be reached at commercial (719) 567-1110. Please note that long distance charges may be incurred.
We make Marines by recruiting quality young men and women and transforming them through the foundations of rigorous basic training, our shared legacy, and a commitment to our core values, preparing them to win our nation’s battles in service to the country. Parris Island also serves a dual role as the headquarters for the Eastern Recruiting Region.
Technological advances balanced with environmental concerns have enabled the island to grow into one of the most efficient and picturesque military reservations in the world. The Mission Statement for Parris Island is "We Make Marines" as evidenced by a sign on the Gen. E. A. Pollock Causeway inside the gates of Parris Island – the only way on or off the base.
During 1715, an Englishman named Colonel Alexander Parris purchased the large island and eight small surrounding islands. Until the Civil War, plantation life flourished here. Marines were first stationed on Parris Island in 1891, in the form of a small security detachment headed by First Sergeant Richard Donovan. His unit was attached to the Naval Station, Port Royal the forerunner of Parris Island. Donovan's unit was highly commended for preserving life and property during hurricanes and tidal waves that swept over the island in 1891 and 1893. Military buildings and homes that were constructed between 1891 and World War I form the nucleus of the Parris Island Historic District. At the district center are the commanding general's home, a 19th-century wooden dry dock and a turn of the century gazebo -- all of which are on the National Register of Historic Places.
On Nov. 1, 1915, Parris Island was officially designated a Marine Corps Recruit Depot. Prior to 1929, all transportation to and from the island was by ferry from Port Royal docks to the Recruit Depot docks. In that year the causeway and a bridge over Archer's Creek were completed, thus ending the water transportation era. The causeway was dedicated as the General E. A. Pollock Memorial Causeway in April 1984.
From 1941 through 1945, 204,509 recruits were trained here. At the time of the Japanese surrender, more than 20,000 recruits were aboard the Depot. On February 15, 1949, a separate "command" was activated for the sole purpose of training female recruits. This command has since been designated the 4th Recruit Training Battalion and is the only battalion in the Corps to train female recruits. The Korean conflict began in 1950 when 2,350 recruits were in training. From then until the 1st Marine Division was withdrawn from Korea, Parris Island drill instructors trained more than 138,000 recruits. During March 1952, the peak training load of 24,424 recruits was reached. The recruit tide again flooded during the years of the Vietnam War. A peak training load of 10,979 was reached during March 1966. Today, about 19,000 recruits are trained at Parris Island each year.
Personnel assigned to MCRD Parris Island include about 2,200 marines and sailors and 360 civilians.
The USMC Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) is located on Parris Island and several smaller islands approximately 4 miles south of the City of Beaufort, South Carolina. Beaufort is a high cost military town, which is home to three different military installations. The primary activity at MCRD is the training of Marine Corps recruits. The facility covers more than 8,000 acres, including more than 4,000 acres of salt marsh and tidal streams.
Marine Corps Recruit Depot is accessible by traveling either north or south on Hwy I-95. MCRD is approximately 45 miles from Savannah, Georgia and 90 miles from Charleston, South Carolina. Each of these cities has airports and car rentals available to travel to MCRD PI. If driving to Parris Island please follow the signs toward Beaufort and/or Parris Island paying close attention as some of the signs are small or obstructed. Law enforcement officers patrol construction sites closely so please watch your speed. The base operator's phone number is 843-228-2111.
There are no shuttles or public transportation from Charleston International Airport or Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport to MCRD Parris Island. If you need transportation from either airport upon arrival, please contact, The Depot Officer of the Day at 843-228-3712.
From Charleston International Airport To MCRD Parris Island
Leaving airport get on I-526 (Mark Clark Expressway) heading South. When I-526 ends, take a right at the stop light. This will put you on US17 South. When you come to Jacksonboro you will veer to the left (still on US17 South) following signs to Beaufort. You will stay on US17 for approximately 50 miles altogether. At Garden's Corner, you will take a left on Hwy 21 South towards Beaufort. Take a right on Parris Island Gateway (Hwy 802). Follow Hwy 802 until the exit for MCRD Parris Island.
Beaufort from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport or from I-95 Northbound to MCAS
Leaving the airport get on I-95 North. Take Exit 8, Beaufort/Hilton Head to the right. Take left toward Beaufort on Hwy 170. After crossing Board River Bridge, merge to the right on Savannah Hwy. Then merge right onto Hwy 802, Parris Island Gateway. Take the exit to MCRD Parris Island.
From I-95 Southbound to MCRD Parris Island
On I-95 South, take Exit 33. Hwy 21 combines with US 17 North. Follow signs towards Beaufort. At Garden's Corner merge right onto Hwy 21. Take a right on Parris Island Gateway (Hwy 802) at first light after MCAS Beaufort. Follow Hwy 802 until exit for MCRD Parris Island.
To assist you in navigating Parris Island, we offer a FREE tram service to and from major locations on base during our peak hours only on graduation weeks. Please look for the tram stop identification signs and wait there for pick-up and drop-off.
Tram Hours of Operation:Trams run continuously between stops. Approximate wait time is 20 minutes.Wednesday: 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.Thursday: 6:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.Friday: 6:30 - after Graduation