CHAIRMAN’S TRIP REPORT | MCESG HQ MARSHALL MEMORIAL CERMONY | QUANTICO, VA – 9 FEB 2018
Marine Corps Embassy Security Group “In Every Clime and Place” Quantico, VA ~ 9 February, 2018
I want to give a review of some recent activity I was engaged in regarding MEGA & MCESG (aka MSG Bn.) Friday, 9 February 2018. The Board of Directors was invited by the Command of Group to attend a Memorial event for Corporal James C. Marshall Marine Security Guard Detachment Saigon – 1968 marking the 50th anniversary of his death during the Tet Offensive. I was joined by Sandy Mackey (MCESG Lasion) and Vince Downs (Secretary) as ‘honored guests’ while six members of the Saigon Detachment were the ‘Guests of Honor’ for the memorial event.
I traveled the night before and met with Sandy for breakfast before heading to the command where we met up with Vince. We had a brief meeting with Frank Baker, Executive Director of the school as well as the Administrative head from the Pentagon, Mr. Smith and a very brief introduction to Col. Michael C. Taylor Commanding Officer, and LtCol. Jonathan Y Sabado, Executive Officer prior to heading up for the memorial.
Outside the front doors of the ‘Embassy’ schoolhouse inside the compound which is commonly referred to as ‘Fortress America’ there was an assembly of two platoons of Marine Students flanking the Flagpole and a ceremonial bell as well as tented covering for the guests and staff of the command. Sandy, Vince and I took our seats and shortly thereafter the event commenced. The ceremony was direct and to the point. Col. Taylor described the situation and result of Cpl. Marsh’s actions that night in 1968. There were six members of the Saigon Detachment from that night during Tet present and they laid the wreath in Marshall’s honor. Taps was played and the bell was rung twelve times for Marshall and the others who have fallen while out on the program. This will be repeated on coming days when the other eleven were killed and a formation will be held and the name or names of the fallen will be read so that the Marines in the current class understand the legacy they are about to step into if they successfully complete the course.
Following the outdoor event Sandy, Vince and I were hosted in conversation by many of the Command and instructor staff as well as a short walking tour of the schoolhouse. All in all this day was a giant leap forward in the relationship between MCESG and MEGA. During conversation with Col. Taylor he asked about my posting while I was on the program. I replied with Beijing & Beirut. He excitedly told me he had previously served in Beijing as well and I asked him when. He was the Marine Corps Attaché at the U.S. Embassy Beijing, China (2008-2010), to which I replied I beat him there by over 20 years. We each laughed but at the same time realized we had walked some of the same ground. Once again, not to my surprise I find out just how small the Corps is and how we are interconnected with some of the most amazing people on the planet.
Although this trip was fast and furious and bracketed by challenging travel to and from Quantico, I am so glad I went and am proud to have represented the membership of MEGA.
There will be subsequent memorials held through the year and I would encourage any of you that have the interest, ability and mind to attend one in person to let me or Sandy know so we can get you on the guest list. We have a fantastic and energetic point of contact and the Command is grateful for our attention & attendance at these types of events.
Thank you for your interest in reading this far; it is my honor to represent you Marines.
Chairman of the Board, MEGA