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Cousins Exemplify USMC and DSS Partnership
by U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Hailey Music
May 31, 2022

Blood is thicker than water. For these two cousins though, their family bond is further strengthened by their similar experiences while a part of two distinct government organizations.

U.S. Marine Corps veteran, William “Jack” McDowell, reunited with his cousin, Diplomatic Security (DS) Assistant Secretary Gentry Smith, at his residence in Long Beach, California on May 5, 2022. This get-together exemplifies the long standing partnership between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS).

U.S. Marine Corps veteran, William “Jack” McDowell (left), reunited with his cousin, Diplomatic Security Assistant Secretary Gentry Smith, at his residence in Long Beach, California on May 5, 2022. This get-together exemplifies the long standing partnership between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Diplomatic Security Service. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Soline Skrzypczak)
U.S. Marine Corps veteran, William “Jack” McDowell (left), reunited with his cousin, Diplomatic Security Assistant Secretary Gentry Smith, at his residence in Long Beach, California on May 5, 2022. This get-together exemplifies the long standing partnership between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Diplomatic Security Service. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Soline Skrzypczak)

DSS is the law enforcement and security element for the Department of State.

Smith discussed the responsibilities of DSS such as conducting investigations domestically and abroad on matters of travel documents, human trafficking, counter terrorism and protecting national security.

“From the aspect of diplomatic security, we take great pride in our role and in our mission to provide a safe and secure environment for the conduct of diplomacy abroad,” said Smith.

With about 280 locations at embassies around the world, DSS works directly with the U.S. Marine Corps’ Marine Security Guard (MSG) program. McDowell was a commander in this program many years ago.

From his time as a MSG, McDowell served at embassies in different locations around the world offering him the opportunity to witness, first hand, the relationship between the Marine Corps and DSS.

“There was an occasion when I worked with one gentleman called a Technical Security Officer.” McDowell recalled, remembering some of the interactions Marines had with the DSS.

Smith elaborated on the partnership between the two organizations by stating how Marines are the first faces people see when entering a DSS location abroad.

“It is long and quite intimate,” explained Smith. “The Marines have served at our embassies for over 100 years.”

Having the chance to sit down together, the cousins caught up on their careers and achievements.

“My wife and I went to his inauguration when he became and ambassador some years ago and that was impressive to me,” recalled McDowell. “The whole family from New Jersey, Maryland and Washington were there.”

Looking back at his over 30-year career within DSS, Smith described how much it meant to have someone like McDowell to look up to.

“To have someone like that to support you through your career has just been a tremendous thing,” said Smith.

The partnership between the U.S. Marine Corps and DSS mirrors the relationship between Smith and McDowell. The two show how uniting towards one common goal can lead to partnerships that last.

“It kind of gives us something common to talk about, it’s pretty neat,” said McDowell. “We’ve come full circle I guess.”

 U.S. Marine Corps | Diplomatic Security Service

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