Airmen learn Air Force protocol
By Senior Airman Bruce Jenkins, 139th Airlift Wing
/ Published March 11, 2016
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Airmen from the 139th Airlift Wing attended a week long protocol course at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base in St. Joseph, Mo., on March 8-11, 2016.
Maggie Bonner, a protocol special event manager and international relations for the U.S. Air Force Services Agency, taught the course and has been teaching protocol for 59 years. Her story tells of having to memorize the protocol instruction because of her dyslexia, in which she says, is the reason for it all.
"At that time I was a clerk, and I had to type the protocol for each ceremony," Bonner said. "I was dyslexic and I memorized each one so I would not have to turn away from the computer screen and read."
Protocol is a system used to properly portray etiquette, customs, and courtesies for U.S. Air Force ceremonies. Although protocol training is taught military wide, each branch of service has their own uniqueness to the way ceremonies are performed. 36 members of the 139th Airlift Wing attended the course.
"Protocol is a way of life, it teaches customs and courtesies that structure your behavior," says Bonner.
Ceremonies include change of command, assumption of command, funerals, conferences, and social events. Hosting a distinguished visitor is also required to use a form of protocol. Protocol follows Air Force Instruction 34-1201.
"Everything is a ceremony, even using the bathroom requires you to follow a certain ritual," said Bonner.
The training also consists of a simulated ceremony the class will perform to reflect what they learned.
1st Lt. Kalonie Taylor, 139th Force Support Squadron officer in charge, says she enjoyed the course and feels it is important the training should be disseminated across the base.
"This is why we put our boots and straps on," said Taylor. "The training is invaluable and I can pay it forward by being a mentor to someone and showing them protocol."
Bonner has taught this training in different countries and to some foreign military units.
"I believe that we are all human first, and everyone is entitled to live comfortably and at peace," says Bonner.