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Marines in Iwakuni and Camp Fuji are about to get a crack at the Corps’ “most coveted duty.”

After passing through Okinawa last week, the Marine Security Guard Battalion Screening Team of Quantico, Va., will hit both locations on the final legs of a Pacificwide tour aimed at finding qualified candidates for U.S. Embassy assignments around the globe.

“We are looking for that well-rounded Marine,” said Gunnery Sgt. Edward Owens, battalion recruiting, advertising and screening team chief. “We would like all available Marines to attend,” including officers and senior enlisted, to “give our leaders the tools to ensure the proper Marines are applying and being recommended for this duty.”

Marine security guards safeguard classified information and protect U.S. citizens and property at 141 U.S. diplomatic and consular facilities worldwide.

Another 18 such sites are expected to open by 2007, Owens said. Because of that expansion, he said, the team hopes to find at least 140 Marines ranked sergeant and below for each of five classes held per year. Those Marines must remain single for the entire program.

Also sought: 20 detachment commanders ranked E-6 or E-7, who can be married with up to four dependents.

Male and female Marines from every occupational specialty are eligible but all must be U.S. citizens able to obtain a top-secret clearance, meet the Corps’ body-composition standards, score 90 or higher on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test’s General Technical portion and have no tattoos that are excessive or in poor taste.

Owens said the 10- to 15-minute screening consists of a verbal questionnaire examining several areas in a candidate’s history, including finances, medical, substance abuse, criminal and suspicious activity, legal issues such as divorce and child support and mental state of mind.

“We are also there to ensure all paperwork is complete and accurate to include the commanding officer’s checklist, financial worksheet and current security-clearance status,” he added. “Finally, we are there to mentally prepare those Marines found qualified … for the rigors of the course and the program.

“Most potential MSGs are within the top 10 percent of their battalion or squadron. They are usually the go-to guy within the command,” able to make “a good decision in a split second.”

“Most of all,” he said, “they must be able to turn from temptation, lead through a crisis and represent the United States of America with pride and integrity.”

“Many guards land on a faster promotion track and move into State Department careers after the military,” Owens said. The program “can open many doors of success that most young men and women never knew existed.”

Those recommended typically receive orders in about two weeks, he said.

After training, the guards are given three 12-month tours, usually on different continents. The school’s top graduates may pick the posts of their choice.

“Not everyone can be an MSG — based on the clearance requirements, unique assignments and the required personal character,” Owens said. “But for those who can and do have a successful tour … it will prove to be a life-changing assignment.”

Marine Security Guard Battalion screening

Friday: Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station, 8 a.m., base chapel.

Monday: Camp Fuji, 9 a.m., Camp Fuji Community Center’s multipurpose room.

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