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Protocol: Little office with big mission

Master Sgt. Robin Debaghy, 60th Air Mobility Wing superintendent of protocol, makes sure the flags are positioned correctly for an Air Force event Aug. 25 at Travis Air Force Base, California. Details such as flag placement, where each person should sit at a table and little-known requirements are taken care of by Protocol specialists to ensure events are following proper protocol.

Master Sgt. Robin Debaghy, 60th Air Mobility Wing superintendent of protocol, makes sure the flags are positioned correctly for an Air Force event Aug. 25 at Travis Air Force Base, California. Details such as flag placement, where each person should sit at a table and little-known requirements are taken care of by Protocol specialists to ensure events are following proper protocol.

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - If you have ever attended a formal Air Force event, such as a promotion ceremony or an induction ceremony, you may have noticed how an ordinary room can be changed into a well-decorated, perfectly put together space for a special occasion.

The Protocol office at Travis Air Force Base, California, is a small team of four detail-oriented, outgoing individuals from different careerfields who work behind the scenes to make sure each important event goes off without a hitch.

“My definition of Protocol is always presenting and displaying the proud traditions and customs and courtesies of the Air Force in the most dignified and professional manner, while adding that extra ‘touch of class’ to any event,” said Master Sgt. Robin Debaghy, 60th Air Mobility Wing superintendent of Protocol. “My favorite part of Protocol is seeing a project come together from start to finish as well as having the opportunity to work with many different agencies across the base and being part of an amazing team.”

Working for the Protocol office is a year-long assignment involving a selection process in order to qualify for the job due to the face time with high-ranking distinguished visitors and the amount of attention to detail that is required to be successful.

“A ‘typical day’ in protocol is a spectrum,” said Staff Sgt. Anson Winsor, 60th AMW protocol specialist. “It could range from answering phone calls all day and making reservations to not seeing anyone until Friday afternoon because of all of the squadron, group and wing events (that week).”

Protocol specialists are selected from a variety of careerfields. Second Lt. Christopher Dowlearn is originally from the Force Support Squadron, Master Sgt. Robin Debaghy is from the Aerial Port Squadron, Senior Airman Danae Bogenrief is from the Civil Engineer Squadron and Staff Sgt. Anson Winsor is from the Communications Squadron. 

Winsor will return to his job as an asset manager after completing his year with Protocol.

“Protocol is different (when compared to the communications squadron) because I don’t have to worry about computer issues or network issues,” said Winsor. “Protocol is similar because it is a customer-service based job much like being a client systems technician.”

Debaghy will use her Protocol experience when she returns to her job as the superintendent of expeditionary readiness.

“Protocol will benefit me by enhancing my communication and organizational skills,” said Debaghy. “It will also allow me to pass on my knowledge to others and assist them in their careers.”

Protocol is a small shop with a big mission.

“When asked, I tell everyone to apply,” said Winsor. “You get to work in a close, intimate environment and the camaraderie established between everyone here makes coming to work worth it.”