Skip to comments.Protocol staff provides first-class service all the way
Posted on 02/26/2008 3:56:59 PM PST by SandRat
2/26/2008 - BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AFPN) -- Although they primarily work behind the scenes, staff in the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing protocol office works hard to ensure distinguished visitors have a positive experience while visiting the base.
Protocol personnel achieve this goal by providing a variety of services to allow DVs a chance to focus more on the mission and interacting with everyone from senior leaders to new Airmen.
"We develop itineraries highlighting the 332nd AEW mission, and particularly, we coordinate visits to locations that the visitor may be able to assist the wing with," said Lt. Col. Karen Darnell, 332nd AEW protocol chief. "Some of these areas include changes in policy, additional manpower, needed training and equipment."
In addition to providing visitors with itineraries, protocol personnel often give DVs their first impressions of Balad when they step off a plane.
"Because we are often the first people to greet the visitors, we ensure Air Force customs and courtesies are perpetuated," said Tech. Sgt. Jay Berry, 332nd AEW protocol noncommissioned officer in charge. "Just these simple actions help tremendously in making sure that the Tuskegee heritage lives on."
The protocol staff also makes sure guests staying for more than a couple of hours are comfortable during their entire time at the base.
"Our office is responsible for coordinating meals, transportation, lodging and a wide variety of other services to DVs," said Master Sgt. William Umphress, 332nd AEW protocol superintendent. "This allows the wing leadership to focus more on telling the Balad Air Base story than having to deal with the more tedious aspects of the visit."
Although these tasks may sound mundane, they are important to the wing's mission.
"Many people think protocol is about pouring coffee and escorting generals around," said 1st Lt. Christopher Mazzey, 332nd AEW deputy chief of protocol. "It's much more complex because we cannot make an event or visit happen without the coordination of all the team players around the base, and we really appreciate everything they do to help us out."
The chief of protocol summed their role up a little differently.
"Protocol is like a big puzzle and I love puzzles," Colonel Darnell said. "The itinerary is the big picture on the front of the box, and working all of the details associated with an itinerary are all of the pieces that need to be put together to make every visit a success."
The protocol team's professionalism and attention to detail have been acknowledged by Air Force senior leaders.
"I have traveled to several bases in the AOR recently and experienced outstanding protocol support at every single stop," said Maj. Gen. Gary McCoy, Air Force director of logistics, during his visit Feb. 15. "The 332nd AEW protocol staff is clearly one of the best! Without question, your team of experts should be teaching protocol at the school house because you definitely have it right."
I’m sorry, but a puff piece on the protocol section is pathetic. More than pathetic, it’s embarrassing.