Articles

5 things all Marines need to know before standing White House duty

Marines Security Forces provide guard services for nearly 125 embassies throughout the world. They consistently monitor their assigned grounds and are well-trained to react to any emergency situation that may arise.


The Marines must have a top-secret security clearance, no visible tattoos in uniform, and are required to have a clean disciplinary service record.

White House duty can come with an amount of danger, and the Marines need to constantly be at their best — especially the selected few who guard the West Wing at the White House.

Related: Here's what it takes to be on the Marine silent drill team

For those Marines interested in guarding the POTUS, check what it takes to stand watch at the most famous doors in the world.

1. Your schedule can be insane

If the POTUS is working long office hours, they'll be guarding the entryway the entire time. Typically, the Marines rotate guard shifts every 30-minutes and remain on post until he's concluded his work day.

Whenever the president flies in-or-out on "Marine One," a Marine will be at the bottom of the steps to greet him.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama waves to the crowd prior to departing the U.S. Capitol during the departure ceremony at the 58th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2017. (Source U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos)

2. You're constantly being watched

The White House is consistently being filmed and/or photographed by various people. Marines are required to stand as still as possible, maintaining their discipline while in the public eye. There's no laughing, smiling, or talking while manning the distinguish post.

"If you have an itch on the nose just suck it up," Sgt. J.D. Hodges humorously explains.

This Marine stands completely still as a news camera records footage.

3. Passing out isn't an option

Marines are known for their solid statue, but they need to keep the blood flowing by wiggling their toes surreptitiously — and they make sure not to lock out their knees.

Passing out isn't an option.

This Marine stands guard outside the West Wing door in the December cold. (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

4. Only break your bearing in a real emergency

Discipline is hugely important when it comes to guarding our nation's leader. The Marine should only react to specific situations and not overreact to minimal ones.

Stone cold during a minimal issue. (Image via Giphy)

Also Read: This is what it's like to be a secret service sniper

5. You were selected for a reason

Reportedly, thousands of Marines apply to be White House sentries, but only four stand guard at one time. This working detail is considered an honor as the sentries represent themselves, their country, and their president.

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