Smooth operations for Twilight Tattoo takes planning
Planning Twilight Tattoo involves a lot of components and key personnel on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va.

JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. (Aug. 20, 2012) -- Planning a Twilight Tattoo involves a lot of components and key personnel on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. Led by a team of personnel from the joint base Directorate of Plans, Training Mobilization and Security, "We are the centerpiece to put everything and everybody together for use of installation properties," said Rodney Smith, DPTMS lead operations specialist.

"In the event of rain, we use Conmy Hall," said Smith. "We make sure it's all clean, the air conditioning is working and everything is good to go in case [the tattoo] is held there."

Summerall Field has been the outdoor location for the majority of tattoos held for the first year on the Fort Myer portion of JBM-HH. "We make sure the grass is cut. In July, the United Service Organizations wanted to put a [mobile] van on [Summerall] field, so we allotted them a spot," said Smith.

He said DPTMS also determines the location of the mobile toilets at the weekly summer pageant on the base.

Smith explained DPTMS coordinates with Department of Public Works regarding the electrical and grounds maintenance for the tattoos.

"We also task Directorate of Emergency Services on what we need to do blocking off parking lots," said Smith. "On the outside, they take care of the roads themselves."

Five federal civilian employees make up the DPTMS team working on Twilight Tattoo. Smith said everyone in this department works together to ensure that everything is in working order for tattoo on the night of the event.

"When Twilight Tattoo moved this summer from the previous location held on the Fort McNair portion of JBM-HH," Smith said, "Everything was different [on JBM-HH]. Because it had been on McNair, everything there was in place -- the electricity, parking and planning.

Smith said when tattoo was moved to Summerall Field it became a challenge. The field is the main parade field. They wondered what would be the damage to the field? Also leaving the bleachers and the big projection screens there, there would be issues when large ceremonies were held on the field.

He said new electrical cables had to be installed to support the tattoo at Fort Myer.

DPTMS also coordinates the practice times for The Old Guard Soldiers and The U.S. Army Band to practice on Summerall Field.

Since Conmy Hall is always clean and prepared for a tattoo performance, in the event a weather call is made to move the weekly tattoo inside, Smith said the only major difference is in seating arrangements.

"Parking arrangements are already in place. Outdoor bleacher seating normally has sections reserved and Military District of Washington public affairs office is responsible for that as well as getting information to the folks on the buses," said Smith. "There also are people who come on their own to the tattoo so there is a section for those guests. Conmy Hall seats about 1,200 people. We always have a cushion when it rains, since not everyone will show up."

Arrangements are also made for people with physical disabilities. Smith said there is an area in front of the bleachers, so guests in wheel chairs have access and can easily watch a tattoo performance.

"We have handicap ramps we can use if needed. However, most of the curbs here are handicap accessible," he said.

The free performance is open to the public and scheduled for the next two Wednesday nights in August. Plan on attending one of the remaining shows before having to wait until next year. Check the U.S. Army Military District of Washington's Twilight Tattoo website for schedule details at

Page last updated Tue August 21st, 2012 at 08:14