Marine Corps Boot Camp Terminology and Acronyms

There are literally thousands of acronyms in the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and all branches of the military and there are hundreds of new terms to learn. This reference is a starting point for recruit families—those that are most important to learn during recruit training. After graduation, there are additional resources with more terminology on the primary web site for But these are the most important to learn at this time.

For information on the structure of Recruit Training Battalions, Companies, and Platoons click here.

Terms to Know:

Terms to know

Marines receive classroom instruction aboard Bridgeport, California, Jan. 14, 2015.
—(USMC photo by Lance Corporal Kaitlyn Klein).

Marine Corps Motivational Sayings

Semper Fi Short for Semper Fidelis, Latin for "Always Faithful"
OORAH! Motivational statement in acknowledgement or agreement (aka OOH-RAH)

Terms about the Depot

MCRD Marine Corps Recruit Depot, also called "The Depot"
PI Parris Island (MCRD PI)
SD San Diego (MCRD SD)
RTB Recruit Training Battalion
Plt Platoon
DI Drill Instructor
SDI Senior Drill Instructor
CO Commanding Officer
CG Commanding General
CMC Commandant of the Marine Corps
MRP Medical Rehabilitation Platoon
PCP Physical Conditioning Platoon

Graduation Terms

Parade Deck Graduation: ceremonies take place on the parade deck. Do NOT walk across the parade deck.
Moto Run Graduation: the last battalion run taken together on Thursday morning prior to family day
Viewing Stands Graduation: the bleachers for families to sit on during ceremonies

Training Terminology

IST Initial Strength Test
PFT Physical Fitness Test
PT Physical Training
IT Boot camp term, extra attention and extra PT
Quarter Deck This is where you get IT'd
Ink stick Pen
Lead stick Pencil
Knowledge School book/notebook
Guidon Platoon flag

Titles of Recruit Training "Jobs"

Guide In charge of the entire platoon, carries the guidon
Squad Leader In charge of the squad
Scribe The recruit who keeps notes and records for the DI
House Mouse Makes sure the cleaning supplies are put up and the "Duty Hut" is clean, usually more than one recruit

Orders, Acknowledging Orders

As you were Resume what you were doing; correction
Aye, aye A term used by a subordinate to a senior in acknowledgement of an order
Carry On An order to resume previous activity after interruption

Marine Corps Gear

Weapon M16-A4 (NEVER called a gun)
Canteen/water bowl Water bottle
Moon Beam Flashlight

Clothing/Personal Property

Cover Uniform headgear
Blouse Any shirt that is part of the Marine Corps uniform
Trousers Pants
Go Fasters Running shoes
Skivies Underwear
Portholes Glasses (also referred to as BC glasses where the BC can stand for Boot Camp or Birth Control - Birth Control because they are so ugly there isn't a chance of...well, they're that ugly)


Chow Meal time, also the food itself
Hydrate Drinking water (a critical component of recruit training and being a Marine)
Hygiene Shower (or any other way to clean yourself)
Drill Marching
Swab Mop
Mini Grinder Little bit-o-hell (moving bunkbeds to one side so they can drill with weapons)

Space, Direction, Buildings

Rack Bed
Squad Bay Where they sleep (also referred to as "the house" or barracks)
Duty hut Office (Room in the Squad Bay where the DI staff has a desk, computer and a cot- the DIs are with our Recruits 24/7 they do not knock off at 5pm and get to go home)
Head The bathroom
Whiskey Locker Closet in the squad bay where cleaning supplies are kept
Foot Locker Recruits store their gear in a footlocker at the foot of their "rack"
Overhead Roof/ceiling
Bulkhead A wall
Porthole Window
Hatch Door
Ladderwell Stairs
Port Left
Starboard Right
Bow Front
Aft Back

Other Terms

T-Day Training day
H-day Holy day
Doc FMF Corpsman (FMF = Fleet Marine Force)
EGA Shop, purchase Marine Corps Clothing and Support Our Troops at the same time!
Marine Parents and the Marine Corps
Recruit Parents
Whats After Boot Camp
After The Corps