Photo Information

Capt. Jonathan Harnden, commanding officer of the USS Bonhomme Richard, speaks during the Senior Leadership Seminar Oct. 7, 2011. Harnden spoke of the capabilities USS Bonhomme Richard is able to bring in terms of disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Mark Garcia

Volunteers, Marines discuss disaster relief

11 Oct 2011 | Lance Cpl. Mark Garcia 1st Marine Logistics Group

San Francisco’s Neighborhood and Community Emergency Response Teams joined military and government officials aboard USS Bonhomme Richard to discuss possible emergency responses and disaster relief in the Bay Area Oct. 7.

The meeting was part of a Senior Leadership Seminar designed to bring together senior military, federal and local leaders. Participants of the seminar discussed in detail different ways local authorities, along with the military, could provide disaster relief in the event of a catastrophe.

“It’s the art of humanitarian assistance to ensure that what is delivered, is what is needed, when it is needed,” said Col. Chet Jolley, 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade chief of staff. “That variable changes with the disaster and the location of the disaster. Whether it’s an impoverished nation that needs everything or whether it’s a modern nation that just needs the necessities – that is the art of humanitarian relief.”

Jolley was one of the guest speakers at the seminar and spoke of the importance of providing humanitarian assistance to people in a timely manner.

“Humanitarian assistance isn’t an exercise where PowerPoint is the end state. You actually have to deliver,” Jolley said. “So individually people need to be able to respond to disasters quickly.”

Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, another guest speaker at the seminar, reinforced the comments made by Jolley saying in times of crisis, leaders must be able to take action. He also went on to say local leaders shouldn’t be afraid to make decisions, because people rely on them when catastrophes affect their communities.

Jolley also covered the importance of events such as Fleet Week and bridging military and civilian capabilities.

“San Francisco Fleet Week is an excellent opportunity for us as a military to come up and talk to people, and for us to better understand how each other work so we can take that back to our organizations and build upon that,” Jolley said.

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