From 1980 – 1982 I was selected and assigned to the Marine Security Guard Battalion for training to become a Marine Embassy Guard. The duties of a Marine Embassy Guard are described as:
“The MSG will be assigned to duty to one of 140 plus MSG detachments around the world. The MSG will provide armed internal security to designated U.S. diplomatic and consular facilities to prevent the compromise of classified information and equipment vital to the national security of the Unites States. As part of the MSG detachment, the detachment members secondary mission is to provide protection for U.S. citizens and U.S. government property located within designated U.S. diplomatic and consular premises during exigent circumstances, which require immediate aid or action. The detachment member will be physically and mentally capable of enduring a direct counter-intelligence and combat environment, master interior guard procedures, be proficient with security, anti-terrorism, and counter espionage tactics. The MSG member must also be knowledgeable in law enforcement techniques, small arms handling and employment, emergency first aid, force continuum, less than lethal application, and entry and access control procedures.”
When I completed training I was assigned to the U. S. Embassy, New Delhi, India (1980-1981). I arrived in New Delhi at 0300, when almost all International Flights arrived due to the heat during daylight hours. I was met at the airport by the NCOIC of the Marine Detachment, GySgt Busby. The drive from the airport to the Embassy was an experience in itself, passing by elephants, camels, cows and other wild life just walking in and along the roadway. I was glad to get some rack time after 16 traveling to get here from the United States, jet lag was just beginning to set in. New Delhi was a great post and even though it was considered a ‘hardship post‘ because of the economic situation I found it to be a great place to work and live. I had the chance to travel to Islamabad, Pakistan with a group from the American Embassy School.
My second post was at the U.S. Embassy, Moscow, U.S.S.R. (1981-1982) I was originally assigned to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia but was asked to go to Moscow at the last-minute due to some staffing issues there. I was more than glad to go to Moscow as it was a place that I always wanted to see. It goes without saying that Moscow and New Delhi were like night and day in comparison. I was going to another ‘hardship’ post due to economic and political reasons. Although there were some restrictions as far as travel I was able to see a lot of Moscow and other areas of the U.S.S.R. Most of the other Marines assigned to Moscow seemed to stay in and around the Embassy and did not show a lot of interest in getting out and seeing the sites when possible. Every chance I got I would get out and about and try my best to experience the people and the culture. During my time there the New Embassy was being built, sort of, so there was a lot of support staff there at the time.
Embassy duty in the Marine Corps is one of the best duties there is. It can enhance your chance for promotion and is considered a must have B billet duty for a career in the Marine Corps. It is very important that any Marine considering MSG Duty, do your homework. Read about the duty, understand what the duty is all about. MSG Duty is not a ‘free vacation’, there are many rules, regulations and restrictions all based on what post you are assigned. To may Marines apply for the duty and for some reason believe it will be a three-year liberty call in an exotic land with exotic people. This duty can help your career but if you fail to follow the rules and restriction it can also ruin your career.