Humanitarian Efforts


(Army National Guard in Honduras – 304th Public Affairs photo)

If you read the cartoons today, you will notice that several of them mention volunteerism. Cartoonists around the country have agreed to include a theme of service today, as part of a national focus on helping out in our communities.

Almost lost within the labyrinth of a Department of Defense organizational chart is the Office of Humanitarian Assistance, Disaster Relief and Mine Action. It is a multi-service group that organizes, “…humanitarian assistance projects as part of training missions overseas. Typical projects include medical, dental, and veterinary care in rural areas, well drilling, and construction of basic sanitation facilities.” (From the DSCA website)

A little-known organization, and unremarkable words.

But its actions speak volumes. A quick scan of the organization’s website shows images of humanitarian efforts in more than twenty different countries around the world – in Asia, Central America, South America, Africa and Europe, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
(U.S. Marines in Liberia – USMC photo)

All around the world, military servicemen and women donate their time to improve the lives of those less fortunate, and leave behind better facilities, better quality of life, and good will.

During times of crisis, the U.S. military is frequently the first on the scene to render assistance and provide live-saving support. Whether the disaster be an earthquake, tsunami, hurricane or something more sinister like a terrorist attack, it is often the American Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Airman, and Coastguardsman that responds.

On a more informal basis, commands everywhere sponsor programs to help their communities. Troops volunteer to build houses, read to children, clean up trash-strewn beaches, and more.

The don’t do it because they are told to do it. They do it because of a much more basic reason.

They do it because they care.


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