Photo Information

Capt. Desiree K. Sanchez, protocol director, and Hope Fiorvanti, deputy protocol officer, evaluate details and determine support required for an upcoming event at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., Jan. 13, 2016. The protocol office is responsible for arranging details required to support the Barracks’ hosting missions and ensuring events are conducted with the upmost professionalism, precision and timeliness.(Official Marine Corps photos by Cpl. Chi Nguyen/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Chi Nguyen

Protocol: Coordinators of the Barracks

19 Jan 2016 | Cpl. Chi Nguyen Marine Barracks

Tucked away at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. lies the protocol office; responsible for tasks that vary from coordinating parking spaces to escorting important and influential guests. Behind the scenes the office works diligently to ensure that the presentation of the Barracks and the events are executed flawlessly.


“[Marine Barracks Washington] hosts a multitude of events year round, and we are also responsible for carrying out any other official events as required by the Commandant of the Marine Corps,” said Capt. Desiree Sanchez, protocol director.


The protocol office arranges the intricacies of events that range from the evening and sunset parades to ceremonial events such retirements, wreath laying ceremonies and promotions. The office ensures that each event carries on as smooth and seamless as possible.


Individually, components such as seating arrangements and guest lists seem to be a minor concern. What makes these tasks difficult is the detail that goes into the coordination along with the amount of events that occur. The section also coordinates the reservations for official personnel that visit the Barracks.


“The battalion has so many responsibilities that it really needs someone to solely focus on these events,” said Sanchez.


Distinguished guests such as the President of the United States, the Secretary of the Navy, congressmen, senators and foreign dignitaries have visited the Barracks. Protocol coordinates with the commandant’s protocol directorate and the special project directorate to host these influential guests.


 “We are the [commanding officer’s] subject matter experts on how to interact with distinguished [guests],” said Sanchez.


The protocol office and the guest’s liaison officer identify the support needed to ensure that guest leaves the Barracks with a keen sense of the Marine Corps’ attention to detail, professionalism and dedication to duty.


“Without protocol, the planning process would not be as easy or as smooth because this office  is in charge of coordinating every event,” said Cpl. Lucero Santiago, protocol non-commissioned officer. “I don’t feel this section is important, I know this section is important because protocol is the biggest supporting element for the Barracks.”


Other challenges the protocol office must overcome are unexpected logistical changes, such as adjusting seating arrangements to accommodate guests, shifting the event to an alternate location or cancelling the event due to inclement weather. These changes can occur after events have already begun. The office is currently staffed with three Marines and one civilian who work rigorously to ensure that the Barracks mission is accomplished with the upmost professionalism, precision and timeliness.


Although we put in long hours and often work late nights and weekends, the support the Barracks’ Marines provide is greatly appreciated, said Sanchez.