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Protocol puts wing's best foot forward

Lorri Welsh, 90th Missile Wing Protocol chief, briefs Col. Stephen M. Kravitky, 90th MW commander, Aug. 11, 2015, in his office on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., on the up-coming visit of the deputy chairman of the joint chief of staff  to F.E. Warren. The protocol office is in charge of providing behind the scenes support for formal ceremonies and distinguished visitor trips. (U.S. Air Force photo by R.J. Oriez/Released)

Lorri Welsh, 90th Missile Wing Protocol chief, briefs Col. Stephen M. Kravitky, 90th MW commander, Aug. 11, 2015, in his office on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., on the up-coming visit of the deputy chairman of the joint chief of staff to F.E. Warren. The protocol office is in charge of providing behind the scenes support for formal ceremonies and distinguished visitor trips. (U.S. Air Force photo by R.J. Oriez)

Senior Airman Alex Gunter, 90th Missile Wing protocol office, carries American and Air Force flags out of the wing headquarters building on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Aug. 10, 2015, on his way to set up for a retirement ceremony that day. Part of protocol’s job is the attention to detail at ceremonies, and other events, that can make the difference in rendering the proper respect dignity to an event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield/Released)

Senior Airman Alex Gunter, 90th Missile Wing protocol office, carries American and Air Force flags out of the wing headquarters building on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Aug. 10, 2015, on his way to set up for a retirement ceremony that day. Part of protocol’s job is the attention to detail at ceremonies, and other events, that can make the difference in rendering the proper respect dignity to an event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield)

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- Historically military events have certain traditions and procedures that must be met. These range from resources the base offers to the position of the flag during a ceremony.

On Warren, the 90th Missile Wing Protocol Office controls the reigns, showcasing the best Warren has to offer and ensuring events are handled properly.

The Protocol Office consists of less than half a dozen workers who accomplish their tasks in the background, allowing others to enjoy the event or their visit.

"We work behind the scenes, supporting the wing during anything that is formal or ceremonial," said Senior Airman Alexander Gunter, 90th Missile Wing Protocol. "We are the masters of ceremonies for any military event you can think of."

The office plays puppet-master during events, coordinating each piece. All military members in protocol are working temporarily outside of their original office.

The team is made up of 2 permanent civilian jobs and 3 rotating military positions. Military members perform a tour in the office, leaving their normal duties and adding their unique backgrounds to the office.

"It's a good thing that we come from different shops," Gunter said. "You get a whole breath of experience from people who want to be in this office."

The team takes their job seriously, something that can be seen in their work ethic and heard from their peers.

"They are very committed to making sure what they do is correct," said Capt. Alexander Foos, 90th Missile Wing executive officer. "I see them as a mechanism in the 90th Missile Wing. They are diligently working whenever a task is in front of them."

The office performs various tasks, such as supporting promotion ceremonies and retirements, with the largest portion consisting of caring for distinguished visitors.

"Anytime somebody important comes to Warren, we will review the itineraries, see where they are going and ensure [everything is] hospitable," Gunter said.

Distinguished visitors range from high military leadership to key individuals in the local community.

"When we have a high visibility leader, like Gen. Welsh or Secretary James, all [the base has] to do is focus on the mission here," Foos said. "We get to present what we're doing at the wing and don't have to worry about [the logistics] because protocol has already taken care of that."

"We will normally tag along on these trips to make sure if anyone needs anything we're there to provide support," Gunter said.

Other events the office manages are civic functions, which allow base leaders to interact with community leaders.

"Civic functions, usually dinners, are used to enhance community relations," said Lorrie Welsh, 90th Missile Wing Protocol Office chief. "It's important for the wing to stay connected with the people in the community and it's our job to provide the opportunities for them to come together."

Welsh previously worked within the 90th Force Support Squadron; however, after her position was phased out, she joined the protocol office and has been working in the shop for around 5 years.

"I have enjoyed all my years here." Welsh said. "This is a beautiful base. There are awesome people who come and go serving the U.S. Air Force here at F.E. Warren. It's an honor to be able to host guests and help them [learn] about our mission."

Together the individuals in the protocol office have the right skill set to support our mission.

"I really enjoy all the people that work in protocol," Foos said. "They're very personable, easy to talk to and easy to get along with which is really the type of person you need in protocol. They are definitely the right people for that job."