The following information is compiled from multiple places on the web, including the official USMC OCS page, and is cleaned up a little with directions added and so forth.
If it leaves any question unanswered, please leave a comment on the bottom of the page and we will update!
Family Day and Graduation take place on the last two days of training. Family Day gives candidates’ loved ones the opportunity to hear about Officer Candidates School from the Commanding Officer and allows for time to meet the candidates’ training staff and ask questions. The candidates are granted liberty for the afternoon and are free to show their families around the OCS grounds, known as Brown Field. Graduation is a formal ceremony and parade that takes place the morning of the final training day.
Don’t miss Family Day or Graduation. It will be one of the proudest moments of your life.
Family Day Schedule: Morning at OCS
Family Day begins with the Family Day Orientation, which is an informal, hour-long presentation covering an overview of officer candidate training given by the Commanding Officer of OCS, who will also take questions. After the Orientation, candidates will be granted liberty during which they may show their guests around the grounds of OCS, Marine Corps Base Quantico, or otherwise spend time with their guests in the local area.
Lunch at the Clubs
Immediately following the Orientation there will be a luncheon nearby at The Clubs at Quantico where families and friends will have the opportunity to meet the Marines responsible for their candidates’ training. Click for directions to the Clubs of Quantico. Candidates will purchase tickets for this luncheon in advance, so friends and families are encouraged to talk to their candidate a few weeks prior to Family Day. Tickets are approximately $12.00 for ages 13 and up, $6.00 for children ages 6-12, and children 5 and under are free.
Guests typically dress very casually for Family Day. Restrooms and handicapped parking are available. Parking will be available on Brown Field, OCS. Transportation will be provided from OCS to The Clubs at Quantico. Signs will be posted aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico to direct guests to OCS, as well as Marines directing traffic and parking. Driving directions to OCS can be found here. The obstacle courses and equipment on Brown Field, OCS is off limits.
Graduation and Commissioning Information
The Graduation Parade takes place at Officer Candidates School on the final day of training: the day after Family Day. For those candidates who successfully complete the course and choose to accept their commission as Second Lieutenants in the United States Marine Corps, the Commissioning Ceremony takes place at the National Museum of the Marine Corps (NMMC). Information about NMMC can be found on their website, www.usmcmuseum.org/ The Graduation Parade recognizes those candidates that have met the challenge and successfully completed training. For many guests this will be the first opportunity for them to observe a Marine Corps function. During the parade, the top performing candidates will receive awards, the Commanding Officer and Reviewing Officer will each address the guests, and the candidates will pass-in-review. The parade will take place on the Parade Deck of OCS and last approximately one hour. Guests will sit in the bleachers.
Guests are encouraged to check the weather as the Graduation date approaches and dress appropriately, as the ceremony is outside. Unless there is significant rain, the parade will go as scheduled.
Once the parade is complete, the candidates will move directly to the armory to return their weapons. Upon completion, the candidates will move to a location to change into their commissioning uniform and have an opportunity to link up with their family and friends.
Blankets or ponchos may be available for guests, weather appropriate, as well as refreshments. Please return the blankets and ponchos to the provided bins after the parade.
We encourage friends and families to check the OCS website for updates on Family Day and Graduation as the time approaches.
Families often bring OCS graduation gifts to their candidates. it would be a good idea to wait until later in the day to give any gifts. Check out our OCS Graduation Gift Guide here.
The Commissioning Ceremony
The Commissioning Ceremony is a formal ceremony where the candidates will transition from their status as a candidate to that of a Second Lieutenant in the US Marine Corps. The ceremony takes place at the National Museum of the Marine Corps and lasts approximately 30 minutes. Limited seating for the ceremony will be available to include handicapped seating, and there is plenty of standing room for all guests. Following the ceremony, the new Lieutenants will conduct their own ‘pinning ceremonies’, where individuals of their choosing will pin the gold bars, the insignia of a Second Lieutenant, on their uniform. At that time they will also receive their first salute, traditionally from an enlisted member of the armed forces whom they have chosen and asked to do so. Often, Staff Noncommissioned Officers from their staff are requested to give the first salute as they play a significant part of the development of the individual from a candidate to a Marine officer.
Parking at NMMC
Vehicle parking at the NMMC is extremely limited therefore we ask and strongly encourage that guests utilize the bus service provided by OCS to and from the NMMC. Buses will begin transporting guests of OCS to the NMMC immediately following the graduation ceremony. Information about the NMMC can be found on their website, www.usmcmuseum.org. The NMMC houses two dining facilities which family and friends can patronize to eat lunch wihle waiting for the arrival of their candidate for the Commissioning Ceremony.
Following the Commissioning Ceremony, all Second Lieutenants will be free of their obligations to Officer Candidates School. Those who will be attending The Basic School (TBS) immediately after OCS will be required to check in at TBS that evening.
For any of these events, or any other issues, coordination beforehand is always appreciated and will enable OCS to best take care of any special circumstances. If you have any concerns about these events, particularly regarding VIP or handicapped seating, please first ask your candidate and encourage them to send those questions up their chain of command.
Families often bring commissioning gifts to their new Second Lieutenants. it would be a good idea to wait until later in the day to give any gifts. Check out our OCS Commissioning Gift Guide here. For graduates of OCC–Officer Candidates Course–who will be attending TBS directly, you might want to check out our TBS gift guide.
Where Should the Family Stay?
Any hotel in the Quantico area would be fine. Morning traffic on weekdays is very slow northbound, so unless you’re only staying over the weekend, try within a few miles to north of base. Any hotels in this google search are in the right area.