With all the recent shit going on in the Middle East and a portion of the Muslim world’s reaction to some obscure film making fun of their religion I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the brave men and women who are charged with guarding our embassies and consulates and protecting the diplomatic staff who reside there.

Those folks are part of a small contingent known as the Marine Corp Security Guard Duty. Back in my days in the crotch, it was simply known as “Embassy Duty”. They currently provide security in about 150 embassies and consulates throughout the world. Besides shining everything that doesn’t move or isn’t nailed down these approximately 1000 Marines are responsible for a variety of duties. Among them are guarding the entrance and lobby of their duty station from intruders, dealing with fires/riots/demonstrations and should the situation take a turn for the worst, conducting evacuations.

Any Marine Recruiting Officer worth his or her salt will try and sell prospective Marines on the benefits of travelling and seeing the world all on Uncle’s Sam’s dime and while that might sound all well and good it takes a drastic change in ones lifestyle if they find themselves in some shithole of country where they’re under constant threat of attack.

For enlisted (non officers) potential candidates must be between the rank of E-2 through E-8. For you civilians out there that means you must have attained the rank of Private First Class through the rank of First Sergeant. If you’re an E-5 or below you must be single and have no dependents. If you’re an E-6 or above you’re allowed up to four dependents including your spouse. Regardless of rank, you must all be eligible to qualify for a Top Secret security clearance, have no tattoos that are visible while you’re wearing your uniform and have no-record of punishment under the UCMJ within the past year. I think it would also probably a good idea to at least have a working knowledge of the language of the country you’re in.

From the Halls of Montezuma,
To the shores of Tripoli

Those are the first verses of the Marines’ Hymn and they are taken quite seriously by those who are selected to fulfill their post.

Once you’re accepted for embassy duty and after you attend training school you can expect to spend at least one year in your current station. You’ll then be deployed to another station for another year and after that’s over you can expect to be deployed a third time for yet another year. Usually at least one of those deployments is considered a “hardship post”. Think some third world armpit/shithole. After successful completion of year two, you even get to wear a ribbon honoring your service!

For what it’s worth during my time in the suck I was asked if I was interested in applying for the position and attending the training school. After speaking to some fellow jarheads I was told it wasn’t worth it. While it might lead to a fast track for promotion and would certainly look good on a resume once I was discharged all of the bullshit and spit and polish that went with it just wasn’t worth the effort. In today's world, especially in the Middle East I think they're faced with an almost impossible task. For a small contingent of Marines to guard and protect the embassies and staff against a bunch of raging lunatics with no access to a huge amount of fire power is pretty fucking daunting.

If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven's scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines

Those are the closing lines of the Marines’ Hymn. At the time, you weren’t allowed to sing it until you earned the title by graduating from boot camp and maybe it was some sort of brainwashing but when we were called on to sing the damn thing those words were among my favorites.

That in no way is meant to cast aspersions on the fine men and women from all walks of life who toil in far off lands, risking their lives day in and day out. For their service to this nation, I am deeply grateful.

Semper Fi Marine!



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