Embassy guard duty offers new career opportunities

7 Oct 2013 | Lance Cpl. Brendan Roethel

The 2013 Defense Authorization Act signed by President Barack Obama in January, approves the addition of 1,000 Marines to become Marine security guards.

Plans to increase the size of Marine security guards were under way at the time of the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, resulting in the deaths of four Americans. Marine security guards were not assigned to the post in Benghazi when it was attacked, but is believed Marine guards could have helped protect against or prevented the attack. 

The Corps works directly with the State Department to determine locations Marines will guard. State Department officials recently announced 50 more embassies Marine guards will protect. Marine security guards are currently posted at embassies and consulates in 137 countries, with a total of 152 compounds being protected. 

Those interested in MSG duty will have to meet with their career planner to begin the screening process. After screening, if the Marine is eligible for the assignment and can receive a top-secret security clearance, they can receive orders to attend the Security Guard School at Quantico, Va. MSG school conducts five class sessions per year training more than 450 Marines. This process takes approximately six to nine months to complete.

“At the school Marines learn to provide security for their post and how to react to terrorist acts as well as a variety of emergencies such as fires, riots, demonstrations and evacuations,” said Staff Sgt. Bryna Crawford, career planner for Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31. 

Upon graduation from MSG school, Marines in the rank of E-5 or below are standard security guards and receive 100 points toward their cutting score. These Marines then serve two separate 18 month tours at different embassies, one of which will likely be a post in a third world country.

“At their station Marines on MSG duty are responsible for an embassies' interior security, normally the lobby or main entrance,” Crawford said. “They will primarily protect classified information and equipment vital to the national security of the U.S.”

“Our guards are the cream of the crop,” said Col. Michael Robinson, the commanding officer of the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group. “They are among some of our nation’s finest Marines and are the example set forth by our nation to represent the maturity, moral character and judgment our Marines possess.”

For more information contact your unit career planner.