Marine Combat Training Frequently Asked Questions

Written by Kevin Webb

Marine Combat Training Frequently Asked Questions

Click Here For MCT Graduation & Family Day Info

What Is Marine Combat Training (MCT)?
Marine Combat Training is a 29-day training that ALL non-infantry Marines go through. Both males and females will go through Marine Combat Training regardless of your MOS. All infantry Marines will go to the Infantry Training Battalion (ITB). Marines arrive at MCT 10 days after their USMC Boot Camp graduation.

Graduation Dates For Marine Combat Training (MCT)
It is easy to figure out when a Marine will graduate from MCT. Your Marine’s MCT graduation date will be on a Tuesday, 29 days after his check-in date or his class-up date (if he is held in a waiting platoon). Check-in dates are on a Monday. Simply add 4 weeks and 1 day to the date that your Marine (or you) classes up, and you’ll have your Marine’s MCT graduation date.

What Should I Take To Marine Combat Training (MCT)?
Here is a complete list of what to take to MCT.

Are Marines Allowed To Have Cell Phones At MCT?
Yes. Take your cell phone and charger. You will have opportunities to use it 2-3 times during MCT. Make sure it is well marked with your name.

How Long Is MCT?
29 days. It was previously only 22 days, but the new schedule is 29 days.

Do You Get Weekends Off At MCT?
On the East Coast you DO NOT get weekends off. If you go through the Weak Coast, I mean West Coast, then you WILL have weekends off. Not sure why.

Do Marines Get Leave or Liberty During Holidays at MCT?
No. For details check out the post regarding MCT Holidays.

What is the Address to MCT East?
Rank and Name
Co._____ Class_____ Platoon_____
PSC BOX 20166
Camp Lejeune, NC 28542 – 0166

Is There an Emergency Contact for MCT?
Call the Red Cross at (877) 272-7337 (toll-free) if you are an Active duty service member stationed in the United States, or a family member residing with them. They will be able to assist you with any emergencies.

When calling the Red Cross, please provide as much of the following information about the service member as is known:
Full name
Branch of service (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard)
Social Security Account number or date of birth

Are You Allowed Off Base During MCT?
East Coast, no. West Coast, yes.

What Weapons Do Marines Fire At MCT?
M16A2, M203 Grenade Launcher, AT4 simulated round, M67 Frag Grenade, M240 Bravo and M249

Can Marines Take Tobacco To MCT?
Yes. You will not be allowed to have it during training, but you can store it with your civilian gear.
Do I Need A Knife At Marine Combat Training?
No. You could probably get away with taking a small pocket knife, but it will most likely get lost or stolen.

Can I Bring My Wife To MCT?
Yes, but only to say goodbye to her! Family, including spouses are not permitted during training until the day before graduation day.

Do Marine Reservists Go Through Marine Combat Training?
Yes. There is no difference in training reservists vs active duty.

Do Marines Leave Straight From MCT To Go To MOS School?
Yes. You will literally get on a bus 30 minutes after MCT graduation and head straight to your MOS school. If you’re flying, then your bus will take you to the airport.

Is There Free Time at MCT?
Hardly. It’s not anything like the “free time” you have at Boot Camp. At MCT, most of your free time will be spent cleaning weapons or sleeping… and sometimes you’ll be doing both of those at the same time πŸ˜‰

Do you do any crawling in the sand?
A Marine could end up crawling in sand at nearly any time in their career, but there is no designated training at MCT that requires it like there was at boot camp.
As for the hikes, what’s the pace like and are they all with the ILBE pack and Kevlar?
The hikes are very similar to the hikes at boot camp. Females have it worse though, because now they have to content with the pace set by the males.

Also, speaking of the kevlar, do you get one that actually fits or do you not have a choice?
You’ll get MUCH better gear at MCT than at Boot Camp. The gear at Boot Camp is not equivalent to what you get in the field, and you’ll very rarely even see a canteen in the fleet. You use a CamelBak instead. Kevlars will fit, and your gear issue will be legit. It’s not like boot camp where nobody cares if your gear works or fits.

Were the females treated differently/badly and do you have any advice/tips for us females?
The females were treated with respect. Most of the instructors are males, but there are some female instructors. They still treat you like a Marine though. Don’t expect there to be a softer tone or method of dealing with female Marines versus male Marines.

2011 MCT Graduation Dates (pdf)
Camp Geiger Map (pdf)
MCT Hotels (pdf)
MCT Restaurants (pdf)
Directions to MCT (pdf)

About the author

Kevin Webb


  • My boyfriend’s report date for MCT was a Tuesday. Will he graduate in 28 days then? (report on November 23 and graduate December 21?) His MOS school doesn’t begin until January 5. Will he be able to come home for the holidays or does he have to go to Pensecola anyway?

  • I have a question, what “research” are you referring to? I would understand that you feel a sense of pride coming for SOI East but to consistently state that MCT training in SOI East is somehow easier than the West is misleading at the very least and sheer hubris as it’s worst. I took the time to write this because I trained in the West after boot, then was an instructor on the East before it became a b-billet. I’m trying to make a stand and let you know that if you are going to consistently berate an entire training regiment you ought to have the experience from each side.

    0369 1/1 “Right Of Line First Of Foot”

  • My information is based on the over 100 Marines that I have interviewed specifically regarding MCT east and west coast schedule.

    The main argument is based on the fact that the east coast gets ZERO days off. They train for 29 days straight, while west coast gets weekends. The reason for this leads me to the next major factor.

    The east coast has to hike each day out to their ranges. During our range week, Marine hike anywhere from 3-5 miles a day just to get to the ranges. This is on top of schedule hikes and PT. Because the east coast ranges are further away, they do not have the choice to take days off.

    The ranges in on the west coast are right behind the barracks, from what Marines have told me.

    Semper Fi!


    • Brandi,

      Yes they can receive mail at MCT, but it’s honestly pointless to send mail. It might be received once or twice during the 29 days, but unless it is a critical piece of information that he needs, I wouldn’t worry about sending mail. Between the time spent in the field and in the class room… there is very little time to worry about mail. It’s not like boot camp in this regard, where you have free time every night to write home.


  • hello, so i just booked my flight to go to MCT graduation for March 1, my brothers check in date was Feb 1, 2011. So i looked on the website for graduation dates and it says since check in date was feb 1 that grad was march 1 2011. i just wanted to make sure thank you πŸ™‚

  • My girlfriend is at MCT East and will be graduating Feb. 22. How long is she expected to be in MOS school, and is that time dependent on her job. Thanks

  • My son is scheduled to be at MCT West (California) March 22nd, 2011. But the March 22nd start date states it’s Kilo Company. He was in Hotel Company when in bootcamp. This may be a stupid question, but do they change companys in MCT? Thank you. πŸ™‚

  • My son checked in on March 21st but actually his first day was March 22nd. What would be his graduation day? and family day is held the day before? is that correct?

  • My husband left March 21, 2011 for MCT in NC so I take it he is graduating April 19, 2011. But my question is how do I find out when he has to report to his MOS? Will he find out in MCT or do I need to get ahold of admin. or his recruiter?

  • My b/f just got to MCT yesterday 5/31 and I just got a call letting me know he was choosen for “Guard Duty”. Is there a way to tell what his company info and what not for mail is? He told me he wasn’t sure since he isn’t really part of a company yet…

  • One thing a friend at work brought up is “do they check the females for pregnancy?” when they go through medical on arrival. He related some stories from the Army about it, but they were far-fetched.

    Point being, do they check for that there? Just seemed like a common-sense thing to do, and what would happen to female marines testing positive? Dunno, my friend brought up good questions, but these seemed un-asked.

    Better questions will be had, I’m sure.

  • My husband is n mct. Right now n i was told because his mos school is overr 9 months it will be accompanied. Now how do I set up everything who will move us will they give him time 2 help us move

  • I went through boot camp at Parris Island and MCT at Camp Pendleton (I’m a freak, I have only known one other Marine to do this and we were both reservists) back in 2003. We got Sundays off only and then only for 6-8 hours depending on the week.

    We checked in on a Tuesday (actually I checked in a couple weeks before hand and found out quickly that east and west coast schedules are not in sync so I sat in holding waiting to class up – back then not as many guys going through boot camp and we didn’t start every week in the winter, I was the last winter company to go through Parris Island that year – we started 55 and graduated 48 including our pick-ups. My platoon at MCT was 98 for comparison – they were from a “summer company”. My brother’s winter platoon at Parris Island 6 years later had about 100 in it.) The next day we went to supply and hiked 5k to the field. We hiked 10k back on Saturday night. Sunday off and trained by the barracks for a couple days then did bus ride to the field. until saturday night when we were bussed back. Sunday off. Monday was a 15k hike to the field for the FEX. Bussed back on Wednesday. Graduated thursday. I was in holding for a night because they lost my medical records and also the admin guys were completely lost as to why I wasn’t going to Pensacola for an A school first since I was in the 6100 field.

    Back then MOLLE gear was pretty new (God I would have killed for an ILBE pack – one of my instructors had a commercial pack similar to what would become the ILBE) and the only people with camel baks were guys who were competitive distance runners and had bought them on their own. Yes, I had to put my MOLLE pack together – ask some older Marines about the nightmares some guys had with that – I never understood why though. Loved my LBV and the flak they gave me. Kevlar was no better or worse than what I’d gotten at Parris Island – the newer ones they have now with padding are MUCH more comfortable.

    We were allowed tobacco so long as the instructor for a given class authorized it – all of them did and we could smoke or chew anytime we weren’t in some activity. I don’t use tobacco but whatever.

    One thing I was completely ill prepared for coming from the east coast – hills. They are everywhere. My senior warned me about them. PTing in the hills at Pendleton never suited me – I’m not naturally athletic AT ALL and PTed for 3 hours a day to scrape by with a first class for my of my time in the Corps. The climate was nicer though. Didn’t enjoy waking up in a ranger grave every morning with 10 tarantulas in my sleeping bag either.

  • Hi Kevin, thanks for setting up this site. My son started MCT this week and literally broke his arm on the first day,
    we got a call from him last night. He is scheduled for surgery at Pendelton this Friday the 18th. He said the healing time would be roughly 10 weeks. How will this effect his schedule and what will he be doing while his arm heals? Will he have the opportunity to maintain his conditioning as much as a broken arm will allow? Thanks for your time.


    Peter J Maniak

  • Good afternoon Mr. Webb I was just wondering do Marines in SAC Rehab get some sort of holiday time off i.e. Christmas? My Son is at Camp Pendelton right now in SOI SAC Rehab after getting dropped from MCT for fractures in his hip, so since Christmas is coming up I was wondering if he gets any leave time? Or does he stay there for the holidays?

    • Unless he is on hospitalized bed rest, he should get holiday liberty, but not leave… meaning that he will have free time, but will likely not be able to travel back home. Did he get any leave for Thanksgiving?

      He might not have any leave built up either, since he likely just used 10 days after boot camp, but I am not 100% positive.

      Has he not received any details from his command yet?

      Good luck and have a Merry Christmas!

      Kevin Webb

  • Since you have a page for MCT should you not have one for ITB, I understand you probably do not have the best knowledge of ITB but I am sure you could find that knowledge through some one.

    Gray 0311 Squad Leader
    3/3 “America’s Battalion”

    • Gray,

      It’s in the works. I am interviewing people and getting written first-hand accounts to compile the article properly.

      If you’re interested in answering some questions, then please let me know.

      Semper Fi!

      Kevin Webb

  • I found your site very helpful, but I think the west coast has just changed policies. My son is there right now and I have received two 2 minute calls from him, while he was waiting in line for an ordered haircut, both times. He is hiking everywhere, to the ranges and back etc. And he must not be getting weekends off, because he has not called. The two times he called, were on the weekends, but he told me he only had a short time of liberty before he had to report back (about an hour and a half), and during the liberty, he had to get a haircut, buy supplies, and buy himself something to eat. He told me the lines were out the door around the building, there was no way to have time to buy anything. He said he was leaving for two weeks in the field, with no baby wipes and other supplies, because of the lines. After two weeks, he called again, in line, same story. I have not heard from him since and he is scheduled to graduate Tuesday. This leads me to believe that West Coast policy has changed. And let us not forget the HILLS!

    Thanks for creating this site.

  • Thanks so much for setting up this website. It is great to get the correct information when you are a new Marine parent and have so many questions. I had not heard from my son since he first went into MCT and am relieved to know that this is the standard schedule.

    Also, thank you for your service to your country.

  • its offensive that you think marines from the west coast are any less than marines from the east you are all in the same boat and just the place you live decides where you end up for training these people are your brothers in arms and you should respect them period. unless you didn’t learn respect in which case your drill instuctor or you yourself didn’t do a very good jobb.

  • My son is currently in MCT in NC, east cost. We have not heard from him at all in 3 weeks. We are going to suprise him on graduation day. We live in NY and it is a travel but we can’t wait to see him for a bit before he is off to MOS. I just have to wonder why they do not let them have time to call home on the East. They already suffered this in bootcamp and became a Marine, I just wish they would give them a bit of time to connect with family. I also just want to say thanks to all the Marines who have served!!

  • Marine wife, don’t worry, the west coast thinks the east coast has it easy. πŸ™‚ West coast has freaking mountains. My husband did MCT as a stundent on the east and is an instructor now on the west. He says the west is much more physical. It’s a boys club and they each have to feel the best. But in all seriousness, Kevin the West Coast has changed. The students do not get off base liberty anymore. The only liberty now is the last two Sundays they have a few hours if the instructors grant it.

  • we havent heard from our marine in three weeks and we dont even know what platoon he is in can any one let us know what platoon he is in. He is in camp lejuene pfc isaac caudill any answer please

  • would like to fine out what platoon our son is in he is in camp lejuene north carolina and would like to find out what day he gradaute from mct in feb/ 2013

  • Am I allowed to send medicine in a care package to my marine? He has injured his knee and has a chest cold but refuses to go to medical.. Am I allowed to send general things such as aspirin, nyquil, etc?

    • No. You can only send cough drops. Any other medicines will likely be confiscated. He is better off just going to medical. I think 99% of my platoon was in medical at least once… he should be more concerned with his chest cold turning into a pneumonia or bronchitis.

      Semper Fi!

      Sgt. Webb

  • I am debating whether to fly from CT to my daughter’s graduation on April 23rd but I’m trying to get details on the graduation itself. My ex-wife has received some information in the mail but what she’s told me is very sketchy. I’d like to know whether we will be able to spend any time with our Marine, what is actually planned for the day, the length of the ceremony, when I should plan to arrive and fly home, etc. Mostly I’m wondering whether it makes more sense to miss the graduation and rather wait to fly down to Pensecola to spend a weekend with her after she arrives at her MOS. Do most parents attend MCT graduation?


  • So my husband is graduating MCT on May 14 and from there he’ll go straight to his MOS school and I was just wondering if i would be able to go with him? His school is a year long and we’ve heard multiple times that if his school lasts more than 6 months they will provide housing.

  • I am having a really difficult time trying to figure out how to send letters, like the correct way to address them.. Help?!

  • My boyfriend graduates MCT the two day before Thanksgiving. Does anyone know if he’ll have the time to spend the weekend or so with his family? Or does he have to go straight to MOS?
    If anyone knows, thank-you I’d appreciate it

  • My husband left for mct last Tuesday and he didn’t know he could wear his wedding ring there so can I send it to him? And if I do can I just send it in the box or what?

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