The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island, S.C. can be concisely summed up in three words seen prominently on this sign over a main road and a water tower in a central part of the base.
This important place where each year thousands of recruits receive intense basic training and indoctrination into the ways of the storied fighting force dates to the early 1900s.
America's only other Marine Corps facility like this is located in San Diego.
Parris Island is about 30 minutes north of Hilton Head near Beaufort, so it was not too out of the way to stop for a few hours on our drive back to the Charleston area.
Being Sunday, the base was pretty quiet, not much traffic or activity. But we did some see some units out marching and doing drills.
This was on the parade grounds where recruit graduation ceremonies are held.
There were units of women recruits and instructors on the grounds. This was an impressive sight seeing the orderly and precise way they went about their military exercise.
Seeing these troops in action was a bonus! I wasn't sure what we might be able to see on Parris Island, other than the museum, which my online research indicated it to be open on Sundays.
More on that fine museum to come.
I asked him if it is OK to stop and take photographs on the base and he answered in the affirmative. So that was good news!
We received directions to the museum and were on our way.
There is visitor parking by the parade grounds so before going to the museum we stopped to walk around some and observe the activities.
We did see some men drilling, in front of their barracks, I believe.
I am comfortable on military facilities, having grown up an "Army brat."
The posts I lived on or near included Fort Carson, Colorado, Fort Stewart, Georgia, Fort Belvoir, Virginia and Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana (which I believe was closed a number of years ago).
I was born in what was then West Germany when my father was stationed there.
Back at the parade grounds is this statue of the famous U.S. Marine flag raising on the Pacific Island of Iwo Jima in 1945 during World War II.
Iwo Jima was a fierce and bloody five week battle in which the Marines suffered more than 25,000 casualties, including 6,800 killed.
An estimated 18,000 Japanese were killed.
Following are a few other statues and monuments around Parris Island.
I was glad to visit on this quiet Sunday afternoon. There was no traffic to worry about and I felt comfortable stopping and taking photographs, as the guard at the entrance said it was OK to do. But still, on a military facility, there can still be some unease for us civilians.
Click here to see the brief creed.
Parris Island Museum.
There is much more inside than one might think looking at the building from the outside. Admittance is free. There is a donation box, to which I gladly contributed.
the Revolutionary War.
This display of drill instructors includes audio to give a visitor the sense of being "addressed" by a tough DI.
President Franklin Roosevelt visited Parris Island in 1943, which was at the height of training men for service in the Pacific especially.
Dozens of photos and descriptions are included, from Lee Marvin and Captain Kangaroo himself, to astronaut/U.S. Senator John Glenn and "Maude" TV actor Bea Arthur.
This displays tell how the design was the work of a construction worker who was part of a crew building a bridge in the area during World War II.
His name was Wheeler Humbert and his contribution is told briefly in this display.
Wheeler worked on the drawing in his spare time, seeing it as a tribute to the thousands who had been trained for war on Parris Island.
This was a neat bit of "trivia" that I found very interesting.
His work would grace the Parris Island entrance for years, and the eagle, globe and anchor would become synonymous with the mighty U.S. Marine Corps.
Driving around the base is also time well spent.
Here are some driving directions provided by Parris Island.
I definitely hope to re-visit Parris Island in the future.