Photo Information

The Blue Angels fly over Marina Green, San Francisco, during the San Francisco Fleet Week 2014 Air Show, Oct. 11. In partnership with the U.S. Navy, the Marine Corps is a force perfectly designed and suited for both crisis response and maritime security. No forces are more suitable to addressing emerging humanitarian assistance and disaster relief needs than naval amphibious forces.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Caitlin Bevel

Marines save day with Humanitarian Assistance Village

14 Oct 2014 | Lance Cpl. Caitlin Bevel The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Marines established the San Francisco Fleet Week 2014 Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Village in Marina Green, Oct. 11-12, to showcase for the San Francisco community the tools and resources the Marine Corps has to offer in the event of a major natural disaster.

“Almost all of our logistics systems and equipment are ideal for responding to a disaster,” said Maj. Stefan Sneden, the Defense Support of Civil Authorities officer, I Marine Expeditionary Force. “Because we are designed to operate in austere environments, we have a lot of equipment that is perfectly suited to doing this job.”

The village featured several pieces of equipment that were used just last year for disaster relief in the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. 

“We used the [Tactical Water Purification System] in the Philippines, and we used a lot of our other equipment to move supplies around for the Philippine government,” said Sneden.

The TWPS is a system that cleans local water sources for use. It can purify approximately 12,000 gallons of salt water per hour or 15,000 gallons of fresh water an hour and support approximately 20,000 people a day.

“We can actually purify water out of the bay or out of the ocean for drinking or cooking,” said Cpl. Steven Piercy, a water support technician with Combat Logistics Battalion 13.

Another system that an earthquake in San Francisco might knock out would be the power. Unfortunately, power is necessary to maintain communications and organize the movement of supplies.

“The [Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy Network System] produces 300 watts of power continuously,” said Cpl. Lucas Rife, a generator mechanic with 7th Engineer Support Battalion. “It can power a few small phones or computers.”

Once communications are up and running, supplies can be distributed to the areas where they are needed. One of the most important and sought after supplies after a disaster is food. To answer this need, the Marine Corps has the Expeditionary Field Kitchen.

“If there was an earthquake, and they had no resources to get food we can move this thing pretty quick,” said Lance Cpl. Diante Chappell, a food service specialist with Headquarters Regiment, 1st Marine Logistics Group.

Once it has arrived, the EFK can be set up in 45 minutes by just five Marines and feed anywhere from 500 to 1,000 people per meal.

“We can bake, boil, fry or sauté,” said Chappell. “We’ve cooked some of everything out of this kitchen so we can feed the public.”

The Village showcases many of the abilities that Marine Corps coordinates with the city of San Francisco to be as prepared as possible.

“Behind the bigger public events there are a lot of fleet week events with the Department of Emergency Management and FEMA Region Nine that the Marine Corps participates in for disaster response preparation,” said Sneden.

While the Marine Corps works with the city’s government, the village gives individual Marines the opportunity to show the people of San Francisco what job they do and how they contribute to providing these capabilities.

“I think this is a face the Marine Corps needs to be showing the American people, that in the event of a disaster we aren’t just people with a bunch of tanks and artillery pieces,” said Sneden. “They need to come see their Marines and see what we can do to help them out.”