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Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego

Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego is responsible for enlisted Marine Corps recruiting, overseeing the 8th, 9th, and 12th Marine Corps Recruiting Districts.

This facility also handles basic recruit training for enlisted personnel and is the home of the Marine Corps Drill Instructor School. Situated on over 500 acres, the Depot shares some of the same land as San Diego’s Lindbergh Field airport.

Learn more about Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, including information on essential services, base transportation, lodging for TDY and PSCing personnel, childcare, and inprocessing.

Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego History

After a decade of discussion and planning, the Marine Corps opened Marine Corps Base, San Diego, in 1924 as its permanent presence here.

The mission of training new Marines would become a part of the operation beginning with World War Two, and in 1948, following the war’s end, Marine Corps Base, San Diego was officially renamed Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego. During the Korean War, the Depot expanded to accommodate eight battalions, with more growth coming during the Vietnam era.

By the 1970s, the mission expanded to include recruiting operations, and the Depot was ultimately designated Headquarters of the Marine Corps Western Recruiting Division. In the 21st century, MCRD San Diego operations include training recruits, recruiters, and drill instructors.

Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego Surrounding Area

San Diego offers plenty for entertainment, major league sports, and beach combing. Family-friendly options include the San Diego Zoo, Olde Globe Theater, and the La Jolla Playhouse.

Fans of military history will want to see the USS Midway Museum, featuring self-guided tours through around 60 exhibitions and an impressive number of restored vintage aircraft.

Balboa Park is home to the San Diego Air & Space Museum, which features flight simulators and other options.

Those who live in San Diego will soon get the urge to explore other parts of California, including Los Angeles. When planning such a trip, don’t forget about transportation issues related to rush hour, tourist season, weather, and wildfire concerns before visiting the Hollywood sign, movie studio lots, or the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego Mission and Units

MCRD San Diego handles enlisted recruiting for Marine Corps Districts 8 through 12. Approximately 20 thousand recruits are unprocessed and trained here every year.

The base also trains recruiters and drill instructors from the western two-thirds of the United States. Important missions and units have included, but are not limited to:

  • 2nd Marine Corps District
  • 8th Marine Corps District
  • 9th Marine Corps District
  • PACTACLET – Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team
  • Marine Corps Recruit Training Regiment
  • Marine Corps Recruiters School

In-Processing and Check-In

All inbound troops PCSing to the area must check in with their gaining unit command support staff. If you are coming to the base to receive training, follow the check-in procedures given to you before TDY travel and report to your training unit on the date and time specified in your orders.

Child Care

The military community in the San Diego area is quite large. Due to size and demand, a Regional Child Care Resource and Referral Office manages the combined waiting lists for six childcare centers in the San Diego area.

CDC options are available at Naval Base San Diego, Naval Base Point Loma, MCRD, MCAS Miramar, Naval Medical Center, and the Murphy Canyon housing area.

Call for more information: 858-577-4144. You can learn how to get on a CDC waiting list, documents you must hand-carry to enroll in CDC programs, and more. See the Military Child Care official site at https://militarychildcare.com to learn more.


The San Diego military community is large, and the demand for military housing is high. Military Family Housing in the San Diego area is described as the ”largest housing complex network in the world” for military families.

Be prepared to occupy off-base or off-post housing for some time before you are offered a home on-base.

Check in to the Family Housing Welcome Center upon arrival to the San Diego area, and be sure to review the CNRSW Family Housing Welcome Center or contact the center at 619-556-8443 for information on waiting lists and other concerns.

Related: Basic Allowance for Housing Calculator


The MCRD San Diego Commissary is located at:

Chosin Avenue
Bldg. 16
San Diego, California 92140
(619) 725-6310

PCS and TDY Lodging

Depot Transient Billeting provides temporary lodging for those PCSing or coming TDY to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. Priority is given to those traveling on PCS orders and you may find additional options for temporary housing at San Diego-area Navy Lodge facilities at Naval Station San Diego and Naval Air Station North Island.

Visit the Navy Lodges and Marine Corps Lodges official sites for more information and reservations.


If you are PCSing or coming on temporary duty orders to the Depot, you’ll likely fly into the San Diego International Airport or the nearby McClellan-Palomar Airport. Rush hour and other variables can complicate your commute from the airport to the base or to temporary lodging; coordinate your PCS or TDY with a sponsor or your gaining unit or school before you begin travel.

Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License

The State of California has strict laws for vehicle emissions, safety, cell phone use, and other issues. All new arrivals, military or family members, must comply with California’s minimum insurance coverage and vehicle registration laws.

Currently serving military members stationed in California may be exempt from the California vehicle license fee for any privately owned personal-use vehicle registered in California. All vehicles on MCRD San Diego must comply with 100% ID checks, searches, and other security measures as the mission dictates.


There are no DoD schools on board MCRD San Diego. Contact the MCRD San Diego School Liaison Office at 619-524-8032/8104 or (DSN) 312-524-8032/8104 to get help with school choice issues, new registration, and transfer requirements.

Be advised that local school districts here may operate on alternative schedules. Your child’s school schedule could be on a typical September-June calendar, year-round, or “4-track” system.

Colleges and Universities

The MCRD Education Office serves MCRD San Diego in Building 111. Contact them about continuing education courses available aboard the Depot by calling 619-524-8158 or 619-524-1275. Nearby colleges include, but are not limited to:

  • San Diego State University
  • University of California – San Diego
  • San Diego University
  • San Diego Community College System (Mesa, Miramar, City)
  • Grossmont-Cuyamaca Colleges
  • Southwestern College

Related: Ultimate GI Bill Guide


Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego
4025 Tripoli Avenue
Personal & Professional Development
Bldg. 14
San Diego, CA 92140

  • 619-524-5732
  • 619-524-5298

Important Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego Contact Numbers

  • Comptroller (619) 524-8771
  • Dental (619) 524-4005
  • Depot Inspector (619) 524-8797
  • Depot Pool (619) 524-5851
  • Emergency 911
  • Equal Opportunity Advisor (619) 524-8730
  • G-1 Administration (619) 524-8735
  • G-3 Operations (619) 524-8828
  • G-4 Logistics (619) 524-8830
  • G-6 Communications (619) 524-0018
  • Income Tax Assistance (619) 524-6881
  • Medical (619) 524-1565
  • School Liaison Office (619) 524-8032
  • Voting Assistance Office (619) 524-8738

Related: Ultimate Military Benefits Guide

About the author

Editor-in-Chief | + posts

Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.