Friday, January 07, 2005

Embassy Guards, Semper Fi

They also serve who guard our embassies and consulates abroad.

They don't get a lot of headlines, but the United States Marines who guard our embassies and consulates are well admired in the Foreign Service, and vital.

Last month Diplomad expressed his esteem for the young Marine Security Guards in About the Marines . . .:
Watching these guys as they pulled toys out of the big "Marines' Toys for Tots" box in the Embassy lobby and hearing their cheerful shouts of "Oh, cool! Check this one out!" I couldn't help but think, "They're kids. They're just kids. Probably not much older than the orphans to whom they'll give those toys." I kept thinking about my own kids, living safely in the States, and the fact that they're older than these kids, these Marines.

But then I went with the "kids" out to the gun range. Suddenly they became deadly serious. The "kids" disappear; no goofing around; strict discipline and concern for safety kicks in. They certainly know firearms, and treat them with respect and care. It was quite a sight to see the former "kids" deliberately, methodically pumping out rounds from their M-4s -- single shot, three-shot bursts, full auto -- punching out quarter-size groups in targets I can barely see. They don't look like kids anymore.
December 6 last year, the United States consulate in Jeddah was attacked by al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists. Five consulate employees were killed, none American.

As they always do, the Marines performed under fire. An email account of the attack has been circulating around the State Department. It was written by a Foreign Service employee posted in Jedda who was present during the attack. Today the Daily Demarche posts an edited version of it. As you can see, the Marines were cool under fire, and fought intelligently. They accomplished their mission of protecting the Chancery building and the Americans within.

From Jeddah:"Three at the front!", "GAS,GAS,GAS- now!:"
During these first few seconds, Post One alerted the Marines and they grabbed their radios and gear but were unarmed. Post One advised them to stand fast because the terrorists were at the door the Marines were supposed to enter, firing their machine guns at the door. All of a sudden the terrorists ran toward the XXX building. When the area was clear again Post One said "GO GO GO", directing the unarmed Marines to make a break for the back door of the chancery. As the Marines entered the back door, terrorists ran back spraying the door with machine gun bullets.

Read both posts in full.