SAN FRANCISCO - Marine firefighters from I Marine Expeditionary
Force and personnel from the province of Bohol, Philippines, trained
for Urban Search and Rescue with the San Francisco Fire Department
at Treasure Island, California, Oct. 10, 2014.
three-part training was part of San Francisco Fleet Week 2014 and
focused on skills needed to rescue survivors in the aftermath of an
earthquake or major disaster.
“They're moving and lifting
heavy objects, learning some basic shoring techniques, and
breaching, breaking and coring through concrete structures,” said
Chief Warrant Officer 3 William Waugaman, a firefighter with I MEF.
The Marines involved in the exercise had a lot to take in over
the course of the training.
Marine firefighters with I Marine Expeditionary Force lift a slab of
concrete for urban search and rescue training with the San Francisco
Fire Department at Treasure Island, Calif. on Oct. 10, 2014 ...
during San Francisco Fleet Week 2014. Interoperability training
enables civil-military agencies and personnel to share techniques
and procedures, which also gives them the opportunity to gain
understanding of the roles, responsibilities and capabilities of
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Caitlin Bevel)
“We, as the Marines, have been tasked by the MEF
commander to assist the civil authority in recovery and
resilience,” said Waugaman. “We are fostering trust and
confidence with the San Francisco firefighters, learning
their skill set, and becoming familiar with their tools and
However, the Marines weren't focused on
just learning a few new tricks. Throughout fleet week, they
are working to build real relationships with their civilian
counterparts and the people of San Francisco.
want to show the people what we do every day. We're war
fighters, but we're also in support of the local authority,”
said Waugaman. “We need to be able to make those liaisons
with a high level of trust so that we can get right into the
fight and do the most good we can.”
Many of the
participants shared Waugaman's sentiment, including
representatives from the province of Bohol, Philippines, who
are also taking part in the USAR training and fleet week.
“We seized fleet week as an opportunity for us to be
active participants in the process, especially for the
medical and emergency services training for humanitarian
assistance,” said Gliceria Doloritos, executive assistant
with the Philippine province of Bohol, Office of the
Governor. “I have learned a lot about the interoperability
between agencies here in the United States working with the
fire department and watching the Marines working with other
The province of Bohol currently has
relatively limited interoperability between their civilian
and military resources and is using their experiences in San
Francisco to expand on what they know.
something that's not necessarily new to us, but we can
identify a number of approaches and strategies to really
strengthen our way of thinking about working with different
agencies in our locality,” said Doloritos.
explained that one of the things they wanted to learn was
how the Marines approach the logistics of moving resources
from place to place and then supporting the system and
resources already in place.
“We don't have the luxury
of logistical resources to move people and materials,” said
Doloritos. “But what we're more interested in is the way you
do things here and how we can redefine these things so
they're more acceptable to us in our local environment.”
The Philippine representatives accepted the invitation
to participate in fleet week partially because of their
recent history with disaster and their experience with the
American military's approach to humanitarian assistance.
“In my province where we were hit by a 7.2 earthquake,
although there was not much visibility of the U.S. Marines,
we always felt the support of the United States and their
people,” said Doloritos.
Doloritos added that one of
the greatest assets the Philippines has when trying to
recover from a major disaster is a large number of people
willing to go to the extreme to help each other, and the
more they learn, the more effective those people can be.
“I think we're just fortunate enough to have friends
like the people of the United States of America, who are
more than willing to assist us not just in the aspect of
development, but also in humanitarian support,” said
Participating in fleet week gave both
nations a better understanding of how they can work together
in different scenarios and how to support each other,
explained Doloritos. He added that they are thankful for the
United States' support, the invitation to fleet week, and
the opportunity to learn.
“In the overall scale,
we're so thankful, not only to the City of San Francisco,
the fire department, the police department, the armed
forces, the Navy, the Marines, the Coast Guard, but I think
we should be more thankful to the whole brave and humble
people of the United States of America,” said Doloritos.
He said he agreed with the idea of Mayor Ed Lee, the
Mayor of San Francisco, that to move into a new project or
start something different, we have to start with
By U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Caitlin Bevel
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