Kadena Air Force Base, Okinawa, Japan -- Ready, rapid, responsive. 3D Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) Marines conduced a Joint Humanitarian Assistance Survey Team (JHAST) flyaway to Exercise KAMANDAG 2 in the Republic of the Philippines 27 September, 2018.
The team conducted the drill via a United States Marine Corps C-130 from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 152, Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Air Wing out of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Iwakuni, Japan. The Marines flew from K5R Airfield, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, to Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA), Subic, Luzon, Republic of the Philippines.
Upon arrival, the team integrated with the rest of the MEB staff already in country in support of Exercise KAMNADAG 2.
The JHAST is the command team and leader for the United States military response during times of crisis. When U.S. military assistance is requested or required, the JHAST deploys within 12 hours to the affected area and establishes an initial assessment of the crisis.
After, it sends its analysis back to its headquarters in Okinawa, Japan, who respond with follow-on echelons of Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) capable, mission-tailored personnel and equipment support based on the requirement.
“Within the Marine Corps, 3D MEB is the most ready of all Marines,” said Brigadier General Christopher A. McPhillips, Commanding General 3D MEB.
3D MEB needs to be ready to respond to a crisis at a moment’s notice, whether to defend U.S. strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific region or to help countries that ask for assistance after a devastating event. The mission to deploy the JHAST comes from the MEB’s higher headquarters, from U.S. Indo-Pacific Command to Marine Forces Pacific and III Marine Expeditionary Force.
While assuming the duties of the Alert Contingency MAGTF (ACM), 3D MEB maintains a constant posture of readiness to deploy. When tasked, it receives personnel and supply augmentation from ground combat element, aviation combat element, and logistics combat element units to support.
3D MEB also conducts ACM drills at least twice a month to make sure that the Marines on duty are prepared, including accountability and muster drills with full gear loadouts.
“Our goals for 3D MEB this year have been primarily to foster security in the region by being the Alert Contingency MAGTF,” McPhillips said.
In November of 2013, Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines and left a wake of destruction in its path. Approximately 90 U.S. Marines and Sailors from 3D MEB’s JHAST and ACM teams answered the call of Philippine government by providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to the victims of the typhoon, assisting with receipt of relief supplies from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as assisting with the transportation of those supplies to the affected areas.
Since 2006, the United States has provided military forces to aid the Philippines in relief operations seven times.
Through training exercises like KAMANDAG 2, 3D MEB has built strong rapports with other nations. Whether conducting drills in the field, helping build schools, or responding to real humanitarian crises, 3D MEB is always on call in the Indo-Pacific region.