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New JBSA mission partner protocol advisor/liaison looks to unite mission

By Minnie Jones | 433rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs | Nov. 10, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —

Bernadette Gast, the new Joint Base San Antonio mission partner protocol advisor/liaison, hopes to be the missing link for a unified JBSA protocol mission. 

Her first order of business was to call a mission partner “Protocol Huddle” Oct. 30 at the Gateway Club at JBSA-Lackland for all the protocol directors, chiefs, protocol leads and those working in protocol offices as an additional duty.

During this meeting, attendees had the opportunity to meet other JBSA protocol members, discuss office configurations, ideas, the mission, protocol roles between JBSA and the 502nd Air Base Wing, and how to collectively support the JBSA team and everything else related to protocol.

Gast also introduced Kellie Washburn, 502nd ABW chief of protocol. Washburn’s role is to support the 502nd ABW command team, specifically Brig. Gen. Caroline M. Miller, 502nd ABW and JBSA commander, which unifies 11 geographically distinct locations.

“Kellie Washburn and I are the classic ‘dynamic duo,’ and with her team, we exemplify the 502nd ABW’s mission statement ‘unrivaled installation support and service to enable mission partners success,’” Gast said. “This is what we strive to do, together, every day!”

One important thing they will bring to the table is much-needed satellite offices that will provide direct access for wing and group protocol offices across JBSA to specific items to support a visit or event. These satellite offices will eliminate team members driving to JBSA-Fort Sam Houston to pick up protocol items, such as special flags and articles for upcoming events. The JBSA satellite offices will be located at the JBSA-Lackland Annex at building 5301 and at the JBSA-Randolph Annex office in building 1048.

“Since a lot of mission partner protocol offices do not have specific items to support a visit or an event, the 502nd ABW protocol offices will have those items readily available to be checked out,” Washburn said.

The support does not stop there. The JBSA liaison and the 502nd ABW Protocol offices will also manage flags flown over JBSA for retirements or other special occasions through combined efforts.

Another initiative the team will introduce to the group is more quarterly JBSA mission partner protocol huddles that will bring refresher training, discussions on new guidance from the Department of Defense, and mock hiring boards to prepare protocol professionals for the next level of their career.

“I hope to continue this amazing relationship between the 502nd ABW and all protocol mission partners’ offices,” Gast said. “Together as a team, we can help each other share information, resources, best practices and anything to improve our processes and continue to build strong relationships.”