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Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief

Humanitarian assistance and disaster response are core DOD capabilities, but they are always conducted in a supporting role to assist other U.S. Government agencies. DOD has the assets and experience to deploy necessary relief personnel and resources to all corners of the globe at a moment’s notice—there is no actor better prepared to respond in times of crisis. 

We have seen the positive impact of DOD’s efforts on the broader U.S. Government response to international disasters in a number of cases: 

  • In Operation Tomodochi, after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011—U.S. forces were instrumental in delivering food, water, blankets, clothing, and medical supplies to support Japanese civilian and military partners.
  • During Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, Service Members were on the ground working with the Philippine military to provide essential medical treatment and supplies.
  • During the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, Service Members were involved in constructing treatment centers and providing logistical support to stem the spread of infection.
  • In the aftermath of the devastating 2015 Nepal earthquake, U.S. military personnel were instrumental in supporting relief efforts with transportation and medical treatment, and where previous training exercises with the Nepalese military significant improved their capacity to respond to the crisis. 

These engagements have provided invaluable hands-on experience for service members that helps improve our future contributions to disaster relief efforts. They demonstrate time and again the value of our partnership-building activities, as partner nations have improved their disaster response capabilities after joining U.S. military in training exercises.

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U.S. Army Medical Logistics Command Recognized for Role in Afghan Humanitarian Mission

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U.S. Army Sgt. Jason Smith, a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, talks with a group of Afghan children during an Afghan-led clearing operation on April 28, 2012, in the Ghazni province of Afghanistan. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod)

U.S. Army Medical Logistics Command was awarded a meritorious unit citation for supporting missions in and following the military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. AMLC’s role in the largest evacuation of noncombatants in U.S. military history included support to U.S. coalition and contractor personnel, as well as thousands of Afghans following two decades of combat operations in Afghanistan.

Defense Health Agency Assists Turkey After Devastating Earthquake

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4/19/2023
Defense Health Agency Assists Turkey After Devastating Earthquake

The United States European Command and Defense Health Agency provided medical assistance, logistics, personnel and supplies in the aftermath of an earthquake that struck the country Feb. 6., at the request of the government of Turkey.

Lesser Antilles Medical Assistance Team Successfully Completes Two-Week Medical Mission in Guyana

Article Around MHS
3/16/2023
The Lesser Antilles Medical Assistance Team gathers in front of the medical administrative building at West Demerara Regional Hospital, Georgetown, Guyana. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Sen. Airman Alexus Wilcox)

273 dental patients, 98 surgeries, 87 emergency room patients, and one very successful humanitarian collaboration. Learn more about the U.S. Southern Command's two-week medical mission in Guyana.

U.S. Army, Kenya Defence Forces Offer Medical Services to Remote Kenyan Communities

Article Around MHS
3/7/2023
U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Dorothy Chiaravalle, assigned to 69th Infantry Regiment, 27th Brigade Combat Team, New York Army National Guard, performs a mouth assessment during a medical civic action program at Archer’s Post Sub County Hospital in Kenya on Feb. 18.  (Photo by U.S. Army Cpl. Genesis Miranda)

Providing humanitarian relief at home and abroad is an essential part of the mission of the U.S. Armed forces. From cataracts to cardiac care, see how this two-day medical mission brought dire assistance and education to a Kenyan community.

Dental Team First to Treat Patients at New Redi Doti Dental Clinic

Article Around MHS
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U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Susan Gjekaj, Air Expeditionary Squadron pediatric dentist, operates on a student of the Johan Chelius School in Redi Doti, Suriname, on Feb. 13. Dental personnel from the Lesser Antilles Medical Assistance Team engaged with members in the Lokono and Kalin'a villages to provide extractions, fillings, cleanings and teach best practices for sustaining good oral hygiene. (U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Alexus Wilcox)

The dental professionals of the Lesser Antilles Medical Assistance Team were the first to see patients in a newly opened dental clinic in Redi Doti, Suriname. The Youth Dental Care Foundation’s Redi Doti clinic will serve patients in rural communities, making dental services and preventative care more easily accessible for the region in South America.

DOD Delivers Field Hospital to Turkey

Article Around MHS
2/28/2023
U.S. Naval Forces Europe, in coordination with U.S. Transportation Command, U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command, facilitated the delivery of the Defense Department-provided field hospital, with assistance from staffs in Kelly Field in San Antonio and Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.

United States Marines, sailors, soldiers and airmen worked around the clock to deliver an emergency field hospital from the continental United States to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, as part of the United States' continuing commitment to assist survivors of the catastrophic earthquake.

A Team Approach Strengthens African Partner Medical Capabilities

Article Around MHS
1/11/2023
Military personnel providing equipment under the The African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership

The African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership was initiated to rapidly deploy peacekeeping operations in Africa. Find out how this five-year program culminated in closer partnerships as well as establishing processes required to sustain logistics, medical planning, combat casualty care, and infection control.

Canadian Medical Team on USNS Comfort Completes Continuing Promise 2022

Article Around MHS
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Canadian armed forces personnel aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort

"Continuing Promise 2022" continues to deliver. See how the U.S. Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy integrated seamlessly to provide medical services, and humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief projects in the U.S. Southern Command while strengthening our bond as neighbors and allies.

Enhancing Public Health Interoperability for the Joint Force

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Army Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Hall teaches a class

Members of Army Public Health Command Europe strengthened their partnership with sister services in a U.S. Air Force led Public Health Emergency Management training exercise held at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

Arkansas Air Guardsmen Provide Medical Care in Guatemala

Article Around MHS
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Military medical personnel perform dental procedure

Arkansas U. S. Air National Guard members helped provide medical care in Guatemala alongside United States and foreign military, government and civilian personnel during the Continuing Promise 2022 mission from Oct. 26 to 31.

USNS Comfort Departs Norfolk in Support of Continuing Promise 2022

Article Around MHS
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Military personnel on the Hospital ship USNS Comfort

Continuing Promise medical teams will focus on working alongside partner nation medical personnel to provide care aboard and at land-based medical sites to increase medical readiness, strengthen partnerships, and enhance the combined capabilities of the U.S. Navy and partner nations to respond to public health disasters and humanitarian crises.

USU Alumna Honored as U.S. Air Force Flight Surgeon of the Year

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U.S. Navy Major (Dr.) Courtney Beaver wearing surgical mask

Only three years out of medical school, she tended to hundreds of evacuees fleeing Afghanistan during the August 2021 exodus from Kabul International Airport.

USNS Mercy Completes 17th Annual Pacific Partnership Mission

Article Around MHS
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USNS Mercy returning to port

Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) returned to its homeport on Sept. 30 following completion of the 17th annual Pacific Partnership mission. Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

U.S. Africa Command Special Operations Forces Host Medical Civic Action Program in Ghana

Article Around MHS
10/4/2022
Military medical personnel with local children in Ghana

U.S. Army Civil Affairs members representing Special Operations Command Africa hosted a medical civic action program with Ghanaian soldiers from the 6th Infantry Battalion in Yendi, Ghana, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 1, 2022. The team oversaw the treatment of approximately 1,000 patients during the MEDCAP’s two-day duration.

Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune Doctor Serves With the Pacific Partnership 2022

Article Around MHS
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Military personnel surrounded by family

A dermatologist assigned to Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune has returned from a summer deployment in support of Pacific Partnership 2022. U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander James Contestable served several weeks aboard the United States Navy Ship (USNS) Mercy, a hospital ship based out of San Diego.

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Last Updated: August 25, 2022
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