Joining the United States Marine Corps requires one (or more) trips to the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). Once you have gone through initial questioning phases with your recruiter and have discussed your options, your recruiter will set an appointment for you to go to the nearest MEPS. At a very minimum, you make a trip to MEPS for initial processing, then the second trip to MEPS for final processing on the day you ship out to Boot Camp.
After finishing at the MEPS, candidates follow one of two options: “Direct Ship” – This means that a candidate will leave for Boot Camp in a matter of days versus months. Delayed Entry Program (DEP) – This means that a recruit is committing to Boot Camp at a time in the future, generally within one year.
While in the DEP, you will be encouraged to join in activities at the local recruiting office including meetings, classes and physical activities. Once you and your recruiter determine a ship out date, you will then prepare for boot camp. You will report to your recruiter on the day of your ship where you will be sworn in if not done already with any other recruits. When all other processing has been concluded, you will then all be picked up by Greyhound Bus and transported to MCRD San Diego to embark on your journey in becoming a U.S. Marine of 1st Battalion, 5th Marines.