About the Author: Michael Coady serves as Marine Security Guard Branch Chief, Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
Today, we honor the men and women who have served so honorably and with great courage in our armed forces, helping to defend the nation's citizens and interests throughout the world.
But this November 11, we in the State Department should pay special tribute to those service members who have helped protect and defend our diplomatic missions abroad as members of the Marine Security Guard program.
More than 1,100 Marines now serve in 150 diplomatic posts in 138 countries, helping to protect classified information and equipment and to safeguard the lives of the people who work there.
The skill, devotion to duty and country, and valor that the Marine Security Guards bring to these diplomatic posts has been a comfort to many of us in the Foreign Service, especially those assigned to U.S. Embassies in high-threat or hostile environments. We know that in times of crises and emergencies, our colleagues the Marine Security Guards will be there to help us protect the nation's secrets and embassy personnel.
The bonds between the Marine Security Guard program and the Foreign Service are strong and enduring. That relationship, and the MSG program itself, continue to grow. This past year we welcomed two new MSG detachments into our State Department family, and we expect at least eight more detachments over the next five years.
As part of our commitment to the MSG program, the Department of State is helping design a new Marine Security Guard training facility in Quantico, Virginia. The new installation will replicate the State Department's new embassy compound design and will provide training on the most advanced security equipment that we have at our embassies worldwide.
And some of those Marine Corps veterans who once served so honorably in the Marine Security Guard program have returned to the Department of State as Foreign Service officers, civil servants, and contractors, including many of my own colleagues here in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. So in some instances, we can truly say that we are one with the MSGs.
This Veterans Day, let us remember all who have served the nation through their military service. But let us also especially thank those who have served as Marine Security Guards, for they are part of our State Department family.