Located in downtown San Diego, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego is the training center for new Marines, but also new Marine Corps drill instructors and Marine Corps recruiters. This installation has existed for over 150 years and in spite of its comparatively small size has a major role in the development of the future Marine Corps.
Find information about Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego including the main commercial and DSN numbers for the base, information on basic services, base transportation, lodging for TDY and PCSing personnel, and inprocessing.
Mission & Units
MCRD San Diego is responsible for enlisted recruiting for Marine Corps Districts 8 through 12, providing “reception, processing, and recruit training for male enlisted personnel following initial entry into the United States Marine Corps.” Some 20,000 recruits are trained here each year.
This Depot is responsible for training Marine recruits “from the western two-thirds of the United States” but also trains Marine Corps drill instructors and Marine Corps Recruiters. Important missions and units include:
- 2th Marine Corps District
- 8th Marine Corps District
- 9th Marine Corps District
- PACTACLET – Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team
- Recruit Training Regiment
- Recruiters School
As early as 1914, military leaders were thinking about how to establish a permanent Marine Corps base in San Diego. Some high-ranking officials were concerned about conditions Marines endured at nearby Camp Howard on North Island–some complaints led the Navy to approve a Marine Corps base in the San Diego area and come 1924 would open officially as Marine Corps Base, San Diego.
During World War Two, training new Marines was the main focus of the installation, and some sources say in spite of other operations there, recruit training always managed to overshadow other operations. After the war, in 1948, Marine Corps Base, San Diego was officially renamed Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego.
Just in time to expand in support of the Korean War, the installation grew from three battalions to eight, and there was more expansion during the Vietnam War.
In the 1970’s operations at the Depot would expand to include recruiting, with the Depot being designated as the Headquarters of the Marine Corps Western Recruiting Division. Today, the Depot’s operations include training recruits, recruiters, and drill instructors; the installation also boasts some 25 buildings listed on the national register of historic places.
There are other activities operating at the Depot; the Coast Guard also has a presence here, plus the Pacific Area Tactical Law Enforcement Team, MCRD San Diego Command Museum, as well as the Maritime Safety and Security Team.
Main Address And Phone Numbers:
4025 Tripoli Avenue
Personal & Professional Development
San Diego, CA 92140
Important 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
- PAO / Chevron (619) 524-8726
- Pharmacy (619) 524-4057
- PMO Desk Sergeant (619) 524-4202
- School Liaison Office (619) 524-8032
- SMIP (619) 524-6248
- Staff Judge Advocate (619) 524-4110
- Voting Assistance Office (619) 524-8738
- Weapons and Field Training Bn (760) 725-2734
San Diego has plenty of access for lovers of major league sports and tourist attractions abound; the San Diego Zoo, Olde Globe Theater, and the San Diego Padres home games are all major destinations.
The La Jolla Playhouse is ranked as one of THE things to do in San Diego for those interested in the performing arts, and there is a lot of military history in the area including the USS Midway Museum with self-guided tours through around 60 exhibitions as well as static displays of a large number of restored aircraft.
Those interested in space, Space Force, and space-related outings should try Balboa Park, home of the San Diego Air & Space Museum with vintage aircraft from World War One through the Vietnam War. Video game fans will be interested in the flight simulators there.
Local attractions include Seaworld, the San Diego Zoo, and day cruises around San Diego Harbour; you can also book a jet ski outing at San Diego Bay or try one of the San Diego whale-watching cruises.
If you are stationed in San Diego, eventually you’ll want to explore outside the metro area. Los Angeles trips are feasible but you’ll need to take local traffic, tourist season, weather concerns, and other issues when planning a trip to see the Hollywood sign, visit movie studio lots, or have a trip down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego are all major league sports destinations across a variety of leagues and types of sport.
Inprocessing and Check-In Services
On-post, the Branch Medical Clinic and Branch Dental Clinic at MCRD San Diego provides medical care for recruits and regular military members stationed here; families and those who need primary care will use Naval Medical Center San Diego instead–it is listed as being one of the most advanced facilities in the Department of Defense with half a million patients in the San Diego area. Patient services include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Cancer Registry
- Cancer Resources
- Cardiovascular Services
- Cardiology Division
- Cardiothoracic Surgery
- Comprehensive Combat and Complex Casualty Care
- Critical Care
- General Surgery
- Health and Wellness
- Infectious Diseases
- Nuclear Medicine
In case of emergency, patients are not required to contact a primary care manager before getting emergency treatment in San Diego, but all patients who need such services must notify their primary care manager within 24 hours. Call 619-532-6400 for appointments
Due to the size of the military community in the area, there is a Regional Childcare Resource and Referral Office responsible for managing consolidated waiting lists for the six childcare centers located in Metro San Diego.
There are multiple options for care in centers located on board Naval Base San Diego, Naval Base Point Loma, MCRD, MCAS Miramar, Naval Medical Center and the Murphy Canyon housing area. Waiting lists apply but you may be placed on the list as soon as you submit an application.
Call for more information: 858-577-4144, you can learn how to get on the most appropriate waiting list, what to hand-carry to enroll, and more. You can also visit https://militarychildcare.com for information about options, waiting list submission deadlines, and more.
All those PCSing to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego are directed to track and manage their household goods shipment to the Depot via the Defense Personal Property System at Move.mil. There are MWR storage options in San Diego–be sure to ask your sponsor if you are concerned about needing storage space for household goods while trying to find a home.
Dependent And Retiree ID Card Renewal, Replacement, New Issue
All ID card services are managed by the MCRD San Diego Visitor Center, with no appointment needed. All documentation required for services at the DEERS/ID Card Center “must be original or certified true copy” and you may be required to present two forms of unexpired photo ID acceptable to the center.
For services, all family members must be accompanied by the sponsor OR a “verified ID card application (DD Form 1172) signed by the sponsor” or a valid power of attorney. Call 619-524-8741 to learn more or to make an appointment.
There are no DoD schools in the area. Parents will send school-age children to one of 47 local independent school districts; this can be a lot for new families to take in. Fortunately there is an online tool–the San Diego Unified School District school finder, which can help parents find the closest district near them based on zip code of the family home.
Call the MCRD San Diego School Liaison Office at 619-524-8032 or 619-524-8104 for assistance with transfer requirements, deadlines, paperwork you should hand-carry, and more.
Sailors and Marines who aren’t used to the California military community may be surprised to find military housing operations here are, like child care and medical care, decentralized and managed on a regional basis instead of a one base, one housing office situation.
The Family Housing Welcome Center at Naval Base San Diego assigns housing or provides housing help to all military families in the San Diego area, including the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. All inbound personnel are directed to check in with Family Housing Welcome Center upon arrival and before entering any legally binding commitments to housing.
Call the Welcome Center at 619-556-8443 to learn more about options including Military Family Housing (MFH) and Public Private Venture (PPV) Housing. There is limited availability for MFH.
Single or unaccompanied military members have the option of living in the barracks or privatized housing; new arrivals must check into the Billeting Office for room assignments or help finding housing in the local area. There is no automatic housing assignment process for single, unaccompanied, or geographic bachelors relocating to the base.
PCS and TDY Lodging
Temporary lodging at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot is provided via Depot Transient Billeting. Lodging priority is given to those traveling on PCS orders. No pets are allowed. There are also options for temporary housing at San Diego-area Navy Lodge facilities, one at Naval Station San Diego and one at Naval Air Station North Island.
A third option may also be available depending on TDY and PCS season, mission requirements, and more–try the Marine Corps Lodge at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (858-271-7111).
Typical taxi, shuttle, and commercial ride-sharing options are available depending on time of day, rush hour traffic, and other factors. Those PCSing or coming to the Depot TDY often travel to San Diego International Airport but nearby McClellan-Palomar Airport may also be an option.
Flying into Southern California can require some planning–coordinate your PCS or TDY travel with a sponsor or your gaining unit or school.
There is no base transportation offered at the Depot, and it’s best to negotiate the price on any taxi or shuttle before committing to the journey if you are traveling to the base from one of the nearby airports.
Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License
All drivers of privately owned vehicles must comply with California motor vehicle requirements including emissions testing, minimum insurance coverage, and vehicle registration. The State of California has more strict emissions requirements than many other states–ask your sponsor about what may be needed to transport your vehicle, or about buying one in-state instead.
Currently serving military members stationed in California are exempt from the California vehicle license fee for any motor vehicle registered in California; this requires the nonresident military owner to be listed as the lessee or registered owner. All vehicles entering and leaving the Depot must comply with 100% ID checks which may be enforced depending on base security levels, current mission requirements, etc.