Security Tips and Recommendations

Marine Security Guard – Part One

MSG Detachment 300x232 Marine Security Guard   Part OneOver 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!

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9 Responses »

  1. Is there an age limit?

  2. When I was in the Marine Corps, I don’t believe there was an age limit. However, it is very hard to get into until you have served at least a couple years as a Marine. The MSG duty is a special assignment and most of the commands you would serve under would want you to work in whatever you were initially trained as. For example if you are an infantryman, your Battalion probably wouldn’t be very quick to sign off on your move to another MOS or unit until they felt they got their money’s worth out of you.

  3. I am a MSG in Iraq right now, If you are a Sgt and below you can sign up for MSG. I know a Marine that was a PFC with less than 8 months in the Marine Corps and now is LCpl on the MSG program

  4. Im a Sgt MSG right now. And its amazing from reading this article just how the standards of this program have dropped terribly. The current class for new MSG’s is just over 20 Marines! Ive been very successful on this program, so im not bitter in that regard. However, this program is NOT what its advertised as, at least not anymore, and I believe that is the reasons Marines dont want to do it anymore. The truth is coming out. I advise any Marines interested in this program, seek out and talk to reliable former MSG’s. And just a heads up, our command held a meetings instructing us to only tell potential future MSG’s the good about the program, and allow them to find out the “truth” as they said when they sign up for it. That tells you something about it right there. I love the Marine Corps, but I hate lies!

  5. If a Marine was to attend MSG school and suffer an injury while in class would the Marine be sent back to his parent unit until fully recovered and come back to school? Or Is the Marine processed into some kind of holding unit to recover fully and still be living on quantico and start a new class once healed to full duty? Or is he immediately dropped from the program and sent back to the fleet and when back to full duty he has to start a package all over again?

  6. I started the MSG school Jan ’71, when it was still at Henderson Hall. Our class started with 157 and graduated 53. Rank? I entered the school as a LCpl with less than 6 months in grade, graduated as a Cpl (being #2 in the class may have helped that), picked up Sgt first time, and was selected for Staff before my EAS. Viet Nam may have helped and my primary MOS was 2857/2851, also quick for rank. All in all, great duty, would not have traded it for anything.

  7. I have served as a BSG Marine as well and when I enlisted in 2004. When I initially enlisted I got the MOS 0311 (rifleman) 8152 (BSG) I’m not sure how they are doing things now. If you are thinking of enlisting and this is something that you want to do, talk with a recruiter. You will have to take on a job in the infantry field in order to get in the BSG program. If you are currently serving talk with some NCO’s or Staff NCO’s that have served in that billet and they will direct you on what needs to be done.

    Semper Fi

  8. Quick question. I have smoked marijuana since Ive been in the Marine Corp and wanna do MSG. But Ive also been “saved” and live for Christ which means I remain sober and quit drinking let alone illegal drugs. Do u get a polygraph test anytime for the screening and if so would they ask about my drug use since Ive been in the Corp?


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