Marines, sailors from Okinawa conduct disaster exercise in Nepal
CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan – Approximately 40 service members from III Marine Expeditionary Force left today to conduct the first Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief Table Top Exercise with participants from the Government of Nepal, Department of State, multinational observers and other agencies in Katmandu on Feb. 2.
The purpose of the exercise is to increase III Marine Expeditionary Force’s readiness and ability to respond to an HA/DR scenario in Nepal through extensive coordination, training and planning with participating members.
“The TTX will allow us to develop and refine the Multinational Coordination Center (MNCC) concept and discuss how this concept works within the Nepal Disaster Response Framework,” said Maj. Jude Shell the lead 3rd MEB planner for the Nepal TTX.
The exercise will begin with a simulated Alert Contingency Marine Air-Ground Task Force (ACM) Fly Away drill conducted by the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, III MEF Feb. 1.
This is a drill designed to increase 3rd MEB’s ability to rapidly deploy in response to natural disasters and other crises that could occur in the Asia-Pacific region.
Once participants arrive in Nepal, the exercise will begin with the first phase, a Table Top Exercise. The TTX portion of the exercise is a coordinated approach to planning and simulated execution of an HA/DR operation with exercise participants.
“A real HA/DR scenario would involve Marines and sailors from III MEF and major subordinate commands. Testing and evaluating our current ACM procedures allows us to more effectively respond in a real crisis,” said Lt. Col. Steven Himelspach the future operations officer for 3rd MEB.
III MEF’s posture in the Asia-Pacific region allows it to rapidly respond to crises and natural disasters throughout the region, to include Nepal, in order to support and assist partnering nations with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
The second phase of the exercise, the field training exercise, will be conducted in the fall of 2013 which will apply practical application of operations and procedures discussed in phase I.
“In addition to training for an HA/DR scenario, this exercise is an excellent opportunity to build relationships between III MEF, Nepal and participating countries and agencies in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Col. John Ostrowski chief of staff for 3rd MEB.