SAN FRANCISCO, California -- Marines and sailors with I Marine Expeditionary Force arrived in San Francisco aboard the USS America (LHA-6), Oct. 6. The service members will showcase military capabilities during San Francisco Fleet Week 2014, which is scheduled to conclude Oct. 13.
The event focuses on interoperability training between civil and military agencies to improve cooperation and coordination, as well as increase readiness through a range of humanitarian assistance operations.
San Francisco Fleet week will not only be an opportunity for the Marines and sailors to showcase their military capabilities, but will also serve as a chance to bring together civilian and military personnel to share and develop emergency disaster and humanitarian response practices.
“We’re showing the public the Marine Corps’ capabilities not just the war fighting side, but also the humanitarian side,” said Cpl. Maxwell Gumbinger, a bulk fuel specialist with Combat Logistic Battalion 13 and native San Franciscan. “We’re showing them what we can possibly bring to the city in case something happens.”
Over the years, the Marine Corps has conducted many amphibious operations to include humanitarian aid and disaster response, from hurricanes in New Orleans to the earthquakes in Haiti.
San Francisco’s propensity to experiencing earthquakes and disasters of large scale makes the Marine Corps and its fast-response capabilities an asset to save lives if the city were to be endangered by Mother Nature.
Local disaster response organizations will have the opportunity to train with the best assets the Marine Corps has to offer, making them a better prepared and more efficient in civil-military coordination. One of the assets the Marines will showcase during Fleet Week is MV-22 Ospreys.
Due to its fast accessibility and withdraw from endangered zones, the MV-22 Osprey would be a major asset if San Francisco were ever to be in need of assistance from the crisis response capabilities of the Marine Corps.
“The Osprey is a very flexible aircraft, it can do a lot of things and crisis response is one of them,” said Capt. Chris Conklin, a pilot with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 165.
The week-long event will provide the citizens at the Bay Area the opportunity to connect with service members and learn about the assets that could be brought to the city in case of a sudden crisis.
“We are being ambassadors of the Marine Corps,” said Lance Cpl. Fernando Lopez, a landing support specialist with CLB-13 from Gilbert, Ariz. “A lot of these places don’t have a big military presence and that’s why we are here, to show them what the Marine Corps is all about.
Fleet Week will include events ranging from art exhibits to parades, the showcase of military working dogs and an air show by the Blue Angels.