Behind the Scenes

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tori Schultz
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
Parking placards are in place, lodging is reserved, greeting party is on the flightline, and transportation is requested, who finalizes all these last minute details you ask? The office of base protocol.

Protocol's mission is to ensure customs and courtesies are rendered to individuals, flags, and nations when dealing with civilian, military or international gatherings. The protocol office encompasses the knowledge, accumulation and application of established customs in accordance to governing Air Force Instruction 36-1201, Protocol & Air Force Pamphlet 4-1202, Guide to Protocol.

"We dedicate ourselves to specifics that could be overlooked, to ensure the mission doesn't stop," said Staff Sgt. Felicia Benavides, 6th Air Mobility Wing NCO in charge of protocol.

On a daily basis protocol keeps the wing commander updated on special events held by combatant commands, military aircraft arrivals and departures of distinguished visitors and lodging logistics for distinguished visitors staying at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

Protocol also assists with change of command ceremonies, award presentations, promotion and retirement ceremonies, special observances and much more.

"When a DV is visiting MacDill AFB, we take the necessary actions to work hand in hand with their aides to ensure a smooth visit and make sure required agencies have been notified of requirements," said Benavides.

For the protocol office the job begins when they are first notified of an event or DV visit, and doesn't end until wheels are up and people are satisfied. "The most challenging part about the job is choreographing all of the critical elements with the key players; it requires much synchronization and coordination to have a successful protocol execution," said Cleo Ekladyous, chief of protocol.