Wright-Patt recognizes new Protocol Officer Training Certificate Program graduates

  • Published
  • By Kayla Prather
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Protocol professionals are known as connectors for all links behind the scenes. These diligent civilian Airmen take the lead whenever distinguished guests officially visit Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

They observe and maintain military traditions, all while showing respect to base heritage and paving the way for future generations to be proud of their legacy at WPAFB.

In early May, select protocol professionals took part in the Protocol Officer Training Certificate Program through The Protocol School of Washington, hosted at the National Museum of U.S. Air Force. This training prepares protocol personnel from all over WPAFB, as well as the Air Force, to deliver the highest quality of professionalism, improve critical thinking and decision-making skills, and create higher collaboration within and outside their organizations with consistent event delivery.

“The course covers the foundations of protocol from precedence and honoring concepts to seating, ceremonies and forms of address through practical exercises and team-building activities,” said Anthony ‘Lj’ Littlejohn, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and Air Force Research Laboratory chief of protocol. “For some of our staff, it will provide a new way to look at things they do every day, and for our newer team members, it will provide a solid basis for their professional growth.”

Capabilities learned in the course provide a framework for creating and orchestrating events, ceremonies, VIP and international visits, official entertaining and planning critical meetings. International methodologies and best practices outside of the USAF are introduced in order to broaden students’ knowledge and perspective.

“The core of this training is focused on creating experiences for invited guests to connect emotionally and build professional relationships,” said Pamela Eyring, The Protocol School of Washington president, who spent seven years as WPAFB Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command protocol chief. “It works to individualize and create amazing experiences with consistent delivery that is appropriate for the circumstances and culture.”

These professionals receive in-depth training on protocol precedence and positioning methodologies, use of titles and forms of address, seating strategies, event and VIP visit management, escorting dignitaries, planning various ceremonies, personal diplomacy and service, logistics and more.

“This training is paramount to advance ongoing initiatives in support of Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall’s “Seven Operational Imperatives” and the chief of staff’s vision to broaden the horizon of community engagement,” said Jay Berry, WPAFB Installation Protocol director.

“In order to make these initiatives happen, people with needs to be met visit WPAFB – this is where protocol comes in,” said Omar Alvarez, 88th Air Base Wing chief of protocol. “We create an environment where distracting worries are removed, which allows for a distinguished visitor or mission partner to remain focused on the important tasks at hand.”

Following the course, 21 protocol professionals walked away with a certificate of completion and heightened knowledge on how to apply their newly sharpened skills.