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PANEL SEVEN—Partnership

Heroic Partners in Crisis. As a reliable line of defense and support in U.S. embassy emergencies overseas, MSGs have protected State Department classified information and equipment against anti-American riots and demonstrations and have helped evacuate U.S. diplomats and their families during times of extreme crisis. MSGs have extinguished fires in U.S. embassies and helped save countless lives of U.S. Government personnel threatened by civil unrest, earthquakes, and floods. The courage and support of the MSGs has been constant in every situation.

True Partnership Under Fire. On January 31, 1968, the U.S. Embassy in Saigon was hit by a stealth nighttime enemy intrusion. Some 20 Viet Cong, armed with lethal weapons and explosives, breached the Embassy compound perimeter walls and attempted to force their way into the chancery. Heroic action by the Marine Security Guards successfully halted the assault and prevented entry into the Embassy. One Marine was killed. RSO Leo Crampsey (center of photo) grabbed a weapon and joined in the pitched battle alongside the MSGs. Shown with Crampsey immediately after they repelled the attack are MSG Staff Sergeant Leroy Banks (left) and Captain Robert J. O’Brien, MSG Officer in Charge/Detachment Commander (right). This historic incident, part of the Viet Cong Tet Offensive, reflected the close kindred partnership at a post between RSOs and MSGs.

TIMELINE: As the troubled decade of the 1990s drew to a close, Diplomatic Security and the U.S. Marine Corps entered the sixth decade of their formal partnership. The threat environment facing international diplomacy persisted, and still bigger challenges lay ahead. Even as a more robust State Department program of embassy upgrades and new construction moved forward, the brazen ingenuity of terrorist assaults remained formidable. More than ever before, DS RSO teams and their MSG partners recognized that vigilance, partnership, and precautions are keys to ensuring that U.S. diplomacy can continue to operate safely and unhindered.

July 1999: The U.S. Ambassador to Germany shakes hands with a U.S. Marine Security Guard as he arrives at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin. (AP/Wide World Photo)

Jordan: The Marine Security Guard team in Amman, Jordan, participates in a racing competition. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo)
September 2001: Britain’s Prince Charles signs the book of condolences at the U.S. Embassy in London, in remembrance of those who died in the 9/11 terrorist atrocities against the United States. To the right of the Prince is the U.S. Ambassador and a Marine Security Guard. (AP/Wide World Photo)

Jordan: The Marine Security Guard team in Amman, Jordan, participates in a racing competition. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo)
September 2001: Britain’s Prince Charles signs the book of condolences at the U.S. Embassy in London, in remembrance of those who died in the 9/11 terrorist atrocities against the United States. To the right of the Prince is the U.S. Ambassador and a Marine Security Guard. (AP/Wide World Photo)

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future