The very next day while sitting out on the bleachers in the hot sun with our platoon, our Gunnery Sergeant began to read off a small list of names. We were told that a legal officer wanted to talk to us individually. With my stomach pushing at my throat I began to review my past to see if something might have triggered such a request. Could it be that the 100 round bandolier of M-60 rounds that I took on the sly and shipped back to my friend in Indiana and somehow became exposed in the U. S. Postal system?
The gunny proceeded to tell us that we were selected for an elite assignment and that very few Marines could qualify and with a 30-35% attrition rate it is the highest drop out rate of any Marine Corps school.
Being that I admired the Marine Corps Officers, I knew I had to be attentive and on my best behavior. As I entered into the small waiting area with carpet on the floors I was joined by a handful of other Marines.
One Marine that stuck out in my mind was this slothful four eyed guy from Canada who slacked back in his chair and fell asleep while waiting for his turn to be interviewed. I didn’t bother to wake him up because if he didn’t care why should I. I concluded that the more that losers expose themselves, the greater chance I’d have getting ahead. When the Officer (a Colonel) called me in I realized the importance of the moment. I wasn’t going to miss out like I knew the other Marine had opted to do, buy being indifferent and slothful during this rare privileged opportunity.
The interview went very well as he asked me questions concerning national security, loyalty to the nation, family matters, and personal obligations and goals. A few days went by and I had orders to fly to Henderson hall barracks in Arlington Virginia which backed up to the Arlington cemetery. The school was a stones throw away from the Pentagon and just around the corner from the Marine Corps Memorial and tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
At 18 years old this was big stuff to me since I had never been exposed to the Diplomatic Corps of Washington D.C.
Henderson Hall was a barracks that was built back in the 40’s. It was the Head Quarters of the Marine Security Guard Battalion (MSG). There were so many cockroaches that had infested the building that it was just common knowledge that there were too many to fight so we lived with them. These roaches ranged from a half inch to three inches. If you squished one of the big ones you had to clean it up.
Everyday at Henderson hall was a calculated preparation for equipping us for becoming Embassy Guards. The training included time being spent at the State Department, weapons familiarization and qualification in Quantico Virginia, twice a daily physical fitness training, foreign espionage awareness and spy techniques, and a wide variety of specialty courses to prepare us for the world of secrecy and diplomacy. The transition of being trained for combat for 6 months and then the next day finding myself rubbing shoulders with the diplomats of our nation was somewhat fascinating and a challenge. I loved it and looked forward to my first assignment.