Marine Corps basic training is the place where civilians are transformed into Marines. Physical exercise and memorization of the Marine Corps policy and creed are practiced on a daily basis. There are two bases where recruits may undertake basic training. Parris Island, South Carolina, is perhaps the most notorious and romantically known of the two, while San Diego, California, is referred to as the "Hollywood" base. Basic training consists of 12 weeks of training.
While the Parris Island base is the most well-known for many people, the training is the same in San Diego. Those living in the eastern part of the United States are most often placed at Parris Island, while those from the western states are typically sent to San Diego. A request for either base can be made at time of enlistment; however, it may not be recognized. In the end, the Marine Corps will do what it sees as the best option for the corps.
For those wishing to join the Marine Corps, physical training is recommended prior to enlisting. Recruits failing to attain corps standards while in basic training will be placed in a special platoon. This platoon will stress physical fitness and the recruit will not be allowed to leave the platoon until full physical fitness requirements are attained. Marine Corps basic training is considered by many the toughest of all of the military services in the United States.
Once entering the reception station at whichever base the recruit is assigned to, all civilian articles of clothing as well as personal items are confiscated. The recruit will only be allowed to posses Marine Corps issued property and clothing. These items will be issued at the time of arrival and the recruit's hair will also be cut. The recruit will be issued everything that will be needed to complete basic training. Even military-issue eye glasses will replace contact lenses and civilian glasses for the duration of training.
Marching, hand-to-hand combat tactics as well as marksmanship with the rifle will be taught during Marine Corps basic training. The proper terminology for common items will be learned. For example, the words toilet, wall and window are replaced with head, bulkhead and porthole. Severe physical encouragement will accompany any misuse of the proper terminology. Drill instructors are not allowed to physically punish recruits; however, punishment in the form of physical training is allowed to motivate those who are not able to readily grasp the concept of Marine Corps principals.