Over the past several months, I’ve received quite a few emails asking often vague, but sometimes important questions regarding the security industry. Some of the questions I receive are with regards to security jobs, pay rates and job responsibilities. In light of many of these questions, I though I would provide you with a brief overview of the best security job in the world. For those of you under the age of 23, you just may want to consider this for a possible career move.
Many years ago, I was an active duty Marine stationed in California. Initially trained as a Dragon Gunner (wire guided missiles), I eventually made my way over to the Military Police field. It was while working as an MP that I learned of a program simply referred to as MSG (short for Marine Security Guard). Upon first hearing the words “Security Guard”, I immediately lost interest. “Why would a US Marine want to be a security guard”, I asked a senior enlisted Marine. With a half-cocked smile on his face and his eyebrows raised, he simply said “you’re kidding right?” and walked off.
Not long after, my lieutenant came to visit me in the barracks and asked if I’d be interested in learning more about the MSG program. Not wanting to sound too disinterested to the Lt., I said “YES SIR, I’d love to learn more about it”. A few days later, I found myself in an office filling out paperwork for reassignment to the MSGBN Quantico, Virgina. A couple of months later, after having been accepted, I boarded a plane for the long flight across country.
During the two or three months I waited for my letter of acceptance, I spent much of my free time learning about the Marine Security Guard program. Pouring over Marine Corps literature, since websites were not a common luxury back then, I discovered a world I knew nothing about. Embassies, consulates, Ambassadors, RSOs, Detachment Commanders, all new to me and all equally as interesting.
Upon arriving at the Marine Security Guard School, which would last approximately three months, I immediately felt like I had taken a wrong turn that put me back at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot for my first day of boot camp. I was a Lance Corporal (E-3) at the time and I might as well have been a private with no military knowledge. I knew nothing and was reminded of this on a far too regular basis. From Lance Corporals to Gunnery Sergeants, we all found ourselves aboard a sinking ship and there weren’t enough life rafts for all of us.
I remember starting the class with 255 other Marines from all around the world. The first few days were taken up with mundane paperwork, uniform inspections, interviews with other “agencies” and the start of an intensive top-secret background check. Formalities out of the way, school began and my life would forever be changed.
School consisted of classroom work, physical training, more classroom work, cleaning, more physical training, uniform inspections and studying. Six days a week, sixteen hours a day for three months. It was relentless. It was grueling. It was needed to make us into Marine Security Guards. Day after day after relentless day we were taught how to use a wide variety of weapons, learned about various terrorist organizations, learned the art of personal protection and self defense, learned all that could be learned about protection of classified documents and materials and learned even more about protecting an embassy and her staff.
As the months passed, fewer and fewer students were seen sitting in class or running in formation. At first it wasn’t too obvious. But as days turned into weeks and weeks into months, the absence became more noticeable. Friends suddenly vanished. Our student body chain-of-command was routinely replaced and the chow lines moved much quicker. One day I decided to conduct a rough count of the students remaining and, to my surprise, it was 145. When graduation day came, 126 of us stood tall and pround in front of family and friends, proud to have made it through, but even prouder to be called a Marine Security Guard.
Part two in a few days!