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Why Are The MSGs Of The Marine Corps So Important?

The United States Marines do many things in their pursuit of excellence in the Corps. One of the more unique, interesting and demanding jobs in the Marine Corps is that of a Marine Security Guard (MSG). This video will give you a clear sense of the duties of Marine Security, or Embassy Guards at over 170 U.S. Embassies around the world.

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The quality of Marine involved in this program is necessarily high. These Marines must undergo a vigorous physical and academic training program at the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group School at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia.

At the end of their training, they go through something called “Board Week.” This is part of a rigorous selection process which requires each Marine to go before a board of five Marines that considers their performance during training, as well as a review of their background and personal life. Then the instructors and advisers are given an opportunity to participate the process of determining whether the individual Marine will move on, or not.

A Marine Security Guard is a Marine first and possesses the self-discipline and fighting skills that every Marine must have, but is also trained in policing skills, or something called “response training,” in order to be able to handle a wide variety of situations.

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For the most part, Marine Security Guards serve in countries around the world that are stable. There have been occasions when they have been called on to do their jobs under extreme and dangerous circumstances. Marines have been killed while carrying out their duties as Marine Security Guards in the past.

Many may remember the bloody battle at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon during the Tet Offensive of 1968. In the years since then three Marines have died on duty:

  • Cpl Steve Crowley in 1979 in Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Cpl Robert V. McMaugh in 1983 in Lebanon
  • Sgt. Jesse Aliganga in 1998 in the Embassy bombing at Nairobi, Kenya

Eleven other Americans died in the attack in Nairobi, but Sgt. Aliganga was the sole Marine to die.

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The Marines who are eventually selected to be MSGs are required to be professional and to act in accord with the honor and the dignity of the Marine Corps at all times, meaning both on and off duty.

While serving at their various posts, they provide an air of dignity and confidence in their Dress Uniforms. When off-duty, they are required to wear suits or informal dress wear. After all, they represent the Marine Corps and the United States of America wherever they serve as Marine Security Guards.


The Veterans Site thanks all of those Marines who have served, or those who have served in the past as Marine Security / Embassy Guards. You make us proud by showing the pride of the country and of the Corps all around the world.

Semper Fidelis! Ooorah!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.