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    The Team behind the Scenes: How ceremonies keep traditions alive

    The Team behind the Scenes:  How ceremonies keep traditions alive

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Carolyn Hart | Sgt. Jeniffer Kaplan, ceremonies noncommissioned officer with 1st Cavalry Division,...... read more read more

    “Being a part of this team is very unique,” explained Master Sgt. Polly Anna Schmidt, the protocol noncommissioned officer in charge. “You take these people who work in different career fields all throughout the Army, and you kind of stick them in a high visibility position and expect that they won’t fail--- and these Soldiers don’t.”
    The protocol team is responsible for every ceremony that happens on 1st Cavalry Division’s Cooper Field. They are in charge of rehearsals, parking and anything else that happens behind the scenes to make these events a success.
    “One of the most challenging parts of my job is working with the many different people it takes to set up these events,” said Sgt. Jeniffer Kaplan, ceremonies NCO. “As a sergeant, it’s my job to let sergeants major and other high ranking individuals know their places and cues, and sometimes it can be daunting to stand on that field and give direction.”
    Since 1971 there are approximately 45 ceremonies on Cooper Field every year. While the attendees enjoy the pageantry and historic elements of these ceremonies, the team that puts it together is hard at work behind the scenes to ensure even the smallest details are not over looked.
    “A lot of people don’t realize we handle everything all the way down to the parking,” explained Sgt. Alexander Ruger, ceremonies NCO. “I take care of the parking situation and make sure our VIPs have designated parking. These are small details that matter.”
    Because these Soldiers all have their military occupational specialty, which have nothing to do with ceremonies, they are expected to learn while on the job. After being interviewed for the position, these Soldiers then show up and get to work.
    “I’m an Abrams tank systems maintainer, so this could not be further from my field,” said Staff Sgt. Samantha Caldwell, protocol NCO with eight years in the Army. “I love my actual job, but this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. And working with this group of people is the best part of this job.”
    The Soldiers who make up the protocol team all share in the idea that it is a special opportunity to be the team chosen to ensure the 1st Cavalry Centennial celebration is a success.
    “It is a huge deal that this is the group of Soldiers in charge of ceremonies during this time,” said Schmidt, who is on her way to the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas. “Every ceremony on Cooper Field is high visibility and a big deal, but anything happening during the centennial is going to be legendary. This is the right group of people to do it.”
    To say that the attention will be on 1st Cavalry Division on its 100th birthday on September 13 is an understatement. And while the division is on display, all eyes will be on the ceremonies and celebrations happening on Cooper Field, making the job of these Soldiers all that much more important.
    “It’s great knowing that we’ll be a part of history,” said Caldwell. “I know that all the time and energy it’s going to take to get us to the Cav birthday is going to be worth it when the public gets to be a part of that moment in history.”



    Date Taken: 08.19.2021
    Date Posted: 08.20.2021 18:10
    Story ID: 403654
    Location: KILLEEN, US 

    Web Views: 47
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