higgs1634 wrote:I joined the Marines after my freshman year at MSU... on a bit of a whim.
I don't know if I'd say they were the best years of my life...but I'm not sure what I would've traded them for. Or course, my time in was while we were between our Middle east excursions. I spent the entire time (other than boot camp and schooling) out of the US and the vast majority of it as a Marine Security Guard. For some reason while i was on the program there was an unusually large attrition rate at MSG School (which already had a pretty high wash out rate) as well as a higher than usual number of guys getting booted off the program for some sort of shenanigans while on duty. Because of the shortage, and because of the African Embassy bombings driving a ramp up in embassy security needs, I had the opportunity to extend my tour and was able to spend way more time on the program than most people.
I'd like to thank the American taxpayer for allowing me to live very well in some pretty exotic locales. For those who don't know, Embassies and a few of the larger Consulates are protected by Marines. Watch standers are junior Marines...Lance Corporal to Sergeant. Watchstanders are required to be single and are housed either on the embassy compound in apartments or (as was my experience) in a large house nearby the embassy/consulate (think fraternity house...full of Marines). Houses are staffed with cooks, housekeepers, full time driver with dedicated embassy vehicle (watchstanders were not allowed to drive). Owing to their size, the houses are usually in the more swanky areas of town and every Marine House has a bar (in some countries, it's the only place to get booze) and large parties to raise funds for the Marine Ball every year. So, they were social centers of the the ex-pat community. Not just for parties, but for movie nights, trick or treating/haunted houses for the kids, and breakfast with Santa...etc. From what I hear, post 9/11 some of that has been curtailed. So, all in all, a pretty sweet life....in between other US embassies being truck bombed, massive scary protests, IEDs planted on the compound walls, US ally embassies being bombed nearby, and people lighting themselves on fire or otherwise going berserk in the Visa line that is. As the saying goes...the job was a 1000 hours of boredom and 30 seconds of sheer terror.
Met two US Presidents, a Sec Def, a Sec of State, various ambassadors and diplomatic VIPs, some high profile Congress critters, a few b list celebrities, went heli-snowboarding in Central Asia, got to go to quite a few black tie events, concerts, VIP/after hours/backstage tours of World Heritage type places due to embassy connections, and I was involved in a couple of things I'm (as far as I know) still not allowed to talk about- which really weren't that exciting...but it sounds cool when I say that.
We hung out with the embassy Marines in Honduras and had a blast....what a night (from what I remember).......