MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. (Sept. 30) --
The Marine Corps Embassy Security Group gave briefings to Cherry Point Marines at the station chapel Sept. 14 in search of Marines interested in becoming embassy security guards.
Marine security guards are tasked with providing security for more than 150 American embassies around the world.
“They have to be able to work in an independent environment, have initiative, be self starters, self motivators, and independent thinkers,” said Sgt. Maj. Patrick Kimble of MCESG. “Some people say MSG duty is the best kept secret in the Marine Corps, and we want to change that. We want people to take advantage of the program and accelerate their careers.”
In order to apply, a Marine must be eligible for a top secret security clearance, be financially stable, complete a physical fitness test and combat fitness test, have no history of alcohol or drug abuse, and have a high degree of maturity, judgment, and moral character. Sergeants and below must be single, while staff sergeants and above may have up to three dependants.
If accepted, sergeants and below take part in an intense, seven-week course, and the staff noncommissioned officers have an eight-week course. While at the school at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., the Marines are taught how to keep an overseas embassy secure. Once on assignment, it is a category B military operational speciality or “B billet” for staff NCOs and a special duty assignment for sergeants and below.
Staff Sgt. Daisy Valencia, who is on the group’s recruiting, advertising and screening team, believes that it is a good opportunity for the Marines who apply.
Valencia explained that Marines get the benefit of traveling the world to places most Marines never experience. There is normally more time to take advantage of educational opportunities while on guard duty.
The living conditions provided by the Department of State are very attractive as well, added Valencia. Every Marine gets his own room, and the group can have maids, cooks and drivers.
There can be additional financial opportunities at certain stations. According to statistics cited by Kimble, Marines get $150 per month for special duty pay, and 42 countries rate imminent danger pay.
While the duty has many opportunities, it is also very serious. Kimble was the detachment commander of the American Embassy in Tanzania when it was bombed in 1998.
As part of the recruiting, advertising and screening team, Valencia interviews prospective applicants.
“I get to know who the Marine is,” Valencia said. “I ask myself, ‘would this Marine be a good representative of the U.S.?’”
For more information, Marines can visit the MCESG website at www.marines.mil/unit/mccdc/mcesg/ or contact their unit’s career retention specialist.