Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Schriever Sentinel

Behind the scenes: Protocol brings etiquette to the table

By Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely | Peterson-Schriever Garrison Public Affairs

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The Peterson-Schriever Garrison Protocol Offices are responsible for organizing ceremonies and presenting distinguished visitors with the respect and support they need while they are on the Garrison installations.

Although geographically separated by approximately 10 miles, the Peterson Air Force Base and Schriever AFB protocol teams work together to meet their mission requirements.

“We live to negate discomfort,” said Francine Norrod, Schriever AFB chief of protocol. “We take the rules of etiquette for diplomats and transform and translate them to our current culturally diverse, globalized environment. Protocol ensures official interactions are positive, productive and successful.”

Robert Orwig, Peterson AFB chief of protocol, said the Peterson AFB flight-line is the second busiest flight-line in the Air Force for DV’s behind Andrews AFB, Md. Guests range from the Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, all the way to the president.

The offices duties go beyond ensuring dignity and respect is given to a DV, they are also crucial in the safety of visitors.

“We’re often behind the scenes, and sometimes it’s better if we go unnoticed,” Orwig said. “We coordinate security, K-9 sweeps, as well as entry and exit to the flight-line. We’re heavily involved in the safety of DVs who come to Peterson.”

Protocol doesn’t just do visits, however. The protocol offices are also charged with coordinating retirement and promotion ceremonies as well as special events like ribbon cutting ceremonies and more. However, as it has with many other career fields, COVID has impacted operations.

“Nationwide COVID precautions limited travel, visits to units and numbers of individuals allowed to gather,” Norrod said. “Our first event was the retirement of our vice commander, it went really well and was used as a benchmark for events Air Force wide.”

Orwig said the Peterson AFB Protocol Office usually sees 800-900 DVs; however, the number of visitors predicted for 2020 is down to approximately 100 visits.

Additionally, the Peterson Protocol Office is tasked with ensuring families get the proper final goodbye to their loved ones.

“We coordinate dignified transfers when soldiers or Airmen are brought back here,” he said. “Those are always tough, but it’s extremely important it’s done right.”

He also said the office helps organize the ceremony and briefs the family of the fallen service member on what to expect.

To support the geographically separated units, the Peterson-Schriever Garrison Protocol Office will send event plans, scripts and more resources to ensure any event that requires protocol insight goes smoothly.

“Our mission is global,” he said. “We support all of the GSU’s within the Peterson-Schriever Garrison.”

Through the hard work of the P-S GAR protocol offices, their teams are able to ensure each base is presentable and respectable, whether it’s a DV or the family of someone who is retiring, the offices take pride in doing things the right way.

Behind the scenes: Protocol brings etiquette to the table
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