Family Day, the day before recruit graduation, is a time allotted for recruits to sport around the depot in their new Marine Corps issued uniforms and haircuts after they receive their eagle, globe and anchor emblems.
This is the only day in training where recruits and their visitors may walk the depot freely with few restrictions placed by drill instructors. On this day, recruits will have their final physical training session as a company and receive their eagle, globe and anchors, making them Marines.
The first thing many visitors see is their loved one practicing in the early morning for the following day’s graduation.
Until 9 a.m., recruits do not give any attention to the families observing them; only at the motivational run will recruits be able to face the visitors, after receiving the order “left face” from their senior drill instructors.
Not being able to see his step son for more than eight months, Leroy Heinrich saw him for the first time April 6 at India Company’s motivational run, which was held prior to the Eagle, Globe and Anchor Ceremony.
Many parents were flabbergasted at the changes that took place while their loved ones were in training.
“His whole attitude, his whole being has changed,” said Heinrich, Pfc. Noah Hardt’s step-father. “We can see it in his letters. We saw it happen here.”
Though proud their family members are graduating, some are skeptical at first. Because the United States is a nation at war, a few mothers have been apprehensive to send their sons to boot camp.
Ken Kypietz said Hardt’s mother, Corrine Hardt, didn’t want to see her son leave for training. Since seeing him in his Marine Corps service “C” uniform, Corrine fears have turned to pride in her son’s accomplishments, according to Kypietz.
At the conclusion of the moto run, families gathered in front of McDougal Hall, the depot theater, where Brig. Gen. John M. Paxton Jr., commanding general, MCRD San Diego and the Western Recruiting Region, acknowledged recruits for their efforts and recognized their families for raising men who would volunteer for the duties that distinguish a Marine.
Following the moto run, recruits cleaned up while family members moved to the theater to watch recruit training video to get better understanding of what their loved ones experienced at boot camp.
Shortly after the video, visitors gathered on the bleachers at Shepherd Memorial Drill Field where they witnessed their recruit turn into a Marine during the Eagle, Globe and Anchor Ceremony. After the ceremony, recruits spent time with their visitors until 5 p.m.
One of the recruits who received his Marine Corps emblem and was set free for the day didn’t have any visitors who could make it to his graduation. Even though he didn’t have any visitors, he was elated to have some time to himself.
“I was on cloud nine,” said Pvt. Tebuteb Sidro. Because Sidro’s family is from Saipan, they were not able to fly out for his graduation, but Sidro spent his liberty calling friends and family. Sidro flew home after graduation to see his family in Saipan.
Marines welcome visitors and families to take part in Family Days and recruit graduation ceremonies throughout the year.