On behalf of the Department of State and all of our employees serving overseas and at home, I wish the United States Marine Corps congratulations on its 242nd birthday.
The Department and the Corps have a special, historic relationship. U.S. Marines have safeguarded our embassies and consulates since 1949, but our common effort to promote peace and security around the world go back much further. When the Marine Security Guard (MSG) program began 68 years ago, just 83 Marines were deployed. Now, we have 177 detachments worldwide, and we continue to grow.
We admire the Marines for their sense of purpose, dedication to duty, and commitment to achieving their mission. Their viligent protection gives us the confidence to perform our work. We honor their readiness to make the ultimate sacrifice, if necessary, to protect our great nation. Marines represent the very best of what America stands for, and America thanks the Marines, not only on their birthday, but every day.
This past year, MSG Security Augmentation Units (MSAUs) provided invaluable support to Embassy Juba allowing post to operate during a period of sustained civil unrest. Always preparing for the next crisis, MSAU teams conducted 45 pre-deployment site security surveys at posts of concern. These pre-crisis surveys allowed MSAU to rapidly deploy to Nairobi before the recent elections, and to Santo Domingo and Port-au-Prince in preparation for Hurricane Irma. They continue to stand ready to respond to future calls from our missions overseas when they have a need for an increased security presence.
From our embassies and consulates to the front lines, the courage and valor it takes to serve and fight for our freedom is embodied in every Marine’s promise to support and defend the Constitution of the United States with true faith and allegiance. It is this promise that unites us in a bond unique to this great nation.
We continue to face many challenges as we work together to protect our people both abroad and at home, but we know the Marines are always there to ensure America will succeed. For everything you do, we thank you.
Happy Birthday Marines. Semper Fidelis!
Rex W. Tillerson