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The History of San Diego’s Marine Recruiting Depot

Whether one’s visiting the San Diego Marine Recruiting Depot to attend a loved one’s marine graduation or just wanting to learn more about San Diego’s rich military history, MCRD is a great place to visit while in San Diego. MCRD has long been an icon representing San Diego’s proud military culture.

Marines first made their presence in San Diego during the Mexican American War in 1846.  Marines returned to San Diego in 1914 and stayed at temporary bases in Balboa Park and North Island. With the help of Congressman William Kettner, Colonel Joseph Pendleton was successful in establishing a permanent marine training and recruitment depot.

The San Diego Marine Corps Recruiting Depot or MCRD broke ground in March 1919, moving the marine training facility to San Diego from Camp Howard on North Island. MCRD was originally named the Marine Advanced Expeditionary Base in1921 by Col. Pendleton, its founder. A couple years later, MCRD became the home to the Marine Recruit Depot of the west coast. MCRD’s name changed again in 1924 to Marine Corps Base, San Diego, under which it would be called over the following 24 years.

With the onset of World War II, the base functioned primarily as a training facility for new recruits. The former Marine Corps Base in San Diego was changed to the present Marine Corps Recruiting Depot in 1948. The base experienced massive expansion during the Korean and Vietnam Wars to accommodate the influx of new recruits. In the 1970s, MCRD began putting more emphasis on marine recruitment and shortly after became the headquarters for the Western Marine Recruiting Region.

The Marina Inn hotel near MCRD in San Diego is a top choice for those interested in San Diego’s military culture or proud loved ones of a marine graduate.  The Marina Inn offers affordable accommodations, spacious rooms and is a few miles from MCRD and other popular San Diego attractions.

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