Base History \ Arrival
MCRD San Diego
The Marine Corps Base at San Diego is surrounded by evidences of the Spanish heritage of southern California. The picturesque architecture may be seen, not only in the city, but also in the permanent buildings of today’s Marine Corps Recruit Depot. This is a natural consequence of the fact that California was a Spanish possession for nearly three centuries.
Westward expansion of the United States brought the Marines into their first contact with San Diego. The town was seized by a landing party of seamen and Marines from the USS CYANE on July 29, 1846, shortly after war had broken out between the United States and Mexico. It was in this operation that the U.S. flag was first raised in southern California. Sixty years later, on December 19, 1914, Colonel Joseph H. Pendleton reported by telegram to Marine Corps Headquarters that the Marine Barracks, San Diego, had been established that day.
After World War II, the principal activity on the Marine Corps Base proper was that of the recruit depot. Official cognizance was taken of this fact in the form of re-designation of the base, effective January 1, 1948, as the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego.
The MCRD Command Museum, located in Building 26, boasts one of the most extensive and comprehensive displays of Marine Corps historical items in the United States. Please call 619-524-4426 for hours and special program information, or visit the website.
MCRD San Diego, nestled on only 506 acres of the same territory as San Diego's Lindberg Field airport, is located in downtown San Diego. San Diego is indeed a military town - with several large Navy and Marine Corps installations calling San Diego County home. The cost of living is high in part due to the flourishing tourist industry as well as the limited capacity for the expansion of housing. If arriving by car from the I-5, take the clearly marked exits for the Depot. The main entrance is on Witherby Street, which crosses under Pacific Highway as it approaches the base from the East. Alternate gated entrance points are on Washington Street to the South, and Barnett Avenue to the North.
The base operator's phone number is 619-524-1011.
Physical restrictions have allowed for few changes at the Recruit Depot in recent years, but training procedures and techniques have been modified to take in the recruit prospects and produce the highest quality graduate, a basic Marine. Drill instructors have been chosen with extreme care and thoroughly indoctrinated in the procedures required to assure the proper mental and physical training of each recruit. The drill instructor utilizes example and other leadership techniques to gradually bring his platoon from the recruit status to that of a Marine ready for whatever may be required of him. The San Diego Recruit Depot produces Marines possessed of the best of past experience together with the mental and physical dexterity provided by the latest Marine instructional techniques and equipment.
As always, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at San Diego and its allied installations in the San Diego area have stood ready, with the rest of the Marine Corps, to do their part in honoring the tradition of their service as being "the first to fight."