By Pfc. Devan Gowans
SAN FRANCISCO — Marines, sailors and other emergency response proponents packed the lawns of Marina Green Park with static displays for the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief village display in San Francisco, California, Oct. 9, as part of San Francisco Fleet Week 2015.
For the past 35 years, Marines and sailors have flooded the streets of San Francisco for one week each year. SFFW is a week-long event that blends a unique training and education program, bringing together key civilian emergency responders and Naval crisis-response forces.
The HADR village showcased the military’s operating platforms and demonstrated to the Bay Area residents Marine Corps and Navy logistical capabilities that can provide a relief effort in the event of a disaster occurring.
Passersby witnessed logistical armament such as heavy utility vehicles, a field medical facility, and explosive ordnance disposal gear, along with other advanced equipment pertinent to humanitarian assistance efforts. The event also hosted exhibits from civilian first responders in order to strengthen a bond with the military and showcase a cooperative spirit that will play into relief efforts following a disaster.
“The civilian authorities and response agencies know that there is an inevitability that we will be working shoulder-to-shoulder with our armed forces to provide the disaster support that we need to our communities that are affected,” said Jeff Myers, the assistant deputy chief of emergency medical services with the San Francisco Fire Department.
With a history of devastating earthquakes, city officials understand the value of disaster readiness. The resources that will be needed to provide aid will be substantial, and the city is preparing now to ensure that the citizens of San Francisco County are taken care of when necessary.
Throughout the afternoon, the park was bursting with kind greetings between service members, first responders and San Francisco residents eager to express their hospitality towards one another.
As the service members have been displaying what they would do for the people of San Francisco in the event of a disaster, they have been met with positive response, said Master Gunnery Sgt. Michael S. Parker, the senior enlisted advisor of Headquarters Regiment, 1st Marine Logistics Group, 1st Marine Division.
“The citizens have been very warm and open to the [Marine and sailors] out in town and strong community relations, as well as a solid support for military and government is what we are trying to build upon,” said Parker.
As the military and civil emergency services offer a visible presence in the San Francisco community, the service members and first responders want the Bay Area residents to understand that they are here for them, will provide for them, ensure their safety and respond to any disaster as appropriately as possible, said Sgt. Mark Moreno, a law enforcement officer with the San Francisco Police Department.