April 18, 1983, a building in Beirut, Lebanon was bombed, killing 63 people. Sept. 20, 1984, 24 people were killed when a bomb slams a shopping annex in Aukar, Lebanon. Aug. 7, 1998, buildings in Kenya, Nairobe and Dar es’ Salaam were decimated simultaneously, killing 291 people.
Every one of these bombings targeted a U.S. Embassy in an attempt to disrupt America’s influence overseas, according to the U.S. Department of State.
The U.S. has embassies in order to protect and oversee American interests in foreign nations.
It is the duty of Marine Security Guards to ensure the embassies are safe from any threat, in any place at any time, according to the MSG mission statement.
Marine Security Guards are responsible for the internal security of embassies in 115 different countries.
With so many Embassies, a large number of people are needed to fill the quota.
“We need as many people as we can get right now. If a Marine qualifies, we will use him,” said Gunnery Sgt. Edward Owens, an MSG Battalion Recruiter.
Marine Security Guard is not a primary military occupational specialty, but is a B-billet, or secondary occupation. It is a special opportunity for Marines who are willing to put in a little extra work to travel the world and see a completely different side of the Corps, according to Lance Cpl. Anna Renhard, who recently graduated MSG school.
“MSG is way different than the fleet, we have a mission unlike anyone else’s. The units are small, so you get to know the people you work with real well, real quick,” added Renhard, a former military policeman here.
The school, located in Quantico, Va., is one not to be taken lightly, according to Renhard. The curriculum is broad and intense on every subject. The school is relatively short compared to the amount of information students are required to learn, lasting only six weeks.
“The training is unlike any I have received anywhere else. There is more extensive training in martial arts and close combat weapons, you also get to use almost every weapon a Marine would come across,” said Renhard.
“Marine Security Guards are the most well equipped force, prepared and ready to complete their mission anywhere,” said Staff Sgt. Benjamin Dillon, the career planner here.
To join MSG, a Marine has to be a well-rounded individual, not just in training or physical aspects. They also have to be financially and mentally sound.
“You can’t go into MSG with a whole bunch of debt,” Dillon mentioned.
Included in the screening and interview document for MSG duty is a financial spreadsheet. The commanding officer can make a recommendation based on the financial stability of the Marine.
One requirement that cannot be waivered is sergeants and below cannot have dependents, and single parents need not apply.
Staff noncommissioned officers are allowed to have no more than three dependents. Dependents also have special requirements, which can be found in Marine Corps Order P1326.6D.
Aside from these requirements no one, except for MSG Bn. and the Marine’s MOS monitor can deny a Marine’s request to join MSG.
It may be fairly simple to get accepted to MSG School, the school and the duties assigned to the MSG Marines is no easily accomplished feat, according to Renhard.
This assignment is not something you can jump into lightly. Both Dillon and Renhard agree that if your heart isn’t in it, you don’t need to do it.
“You rely too heavily on your unit members to have someone go into it half-heartedly,” said Renhard. “The quickest way to get dropped is by showing a lack of effort.”
This special duty assignment is offered openly to any Marine who wants to do it, according to the MSG recruiters. Marines just have to look into it and see if it’s for them.
“MSG is a secret everyone should know about and everyone should take advantage of,” said Dillon. “I know that if I wasn’t retiring soon, I would jump at the opportunity.”