Recruit training at Parris Island vs San Diego, according to Marines

It’s a well-known fact that Marine recruits east of the Mississippi go to the flat lands of Parris Island for basic training while those from the west head to sunny San Diego.

What many don’t know is there is a huge rivalry between “Island” and “Hollywood” Marines, and it all boils down to who had it tougher. Although the competitive nature between the two is all in good fun, Marines are known for fighting both big and small battles.

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The iconic “We Make Marines” sign at Parris Island. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Aaron Bolser)

Since the curriculum at both of the training camps is the same, there are a few differences that separate the two.

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“I think the sand fleas give you that discipline because you’re standing in formation and you got them biting on the back of your neck,” Capt. Robert Brooks states during an interview, fueling the rivalry in support of Parris Island.

Capt. Joseph Reney, however, jokes in favor of California:

“San Diego has hills and hiking is hard. I would say San Diego makes tougher Marines.”

Regardless of the training location, both boot camps produce the same product — a patriotic Marine.

Also Read: 5 interesting facts about the Marine Corps birthday

Check out this Marine Corps Recruiting video to hear from Corps’ finest on who they think makes tougher Marines.


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