Photo Information

U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Brandon Garton, a student taking the Joint Humanitarian Operations Course (JHOC), presents for a group exercise during the course aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, March 22, 2023. The course trains and prepares the II Marine Expeditionary Force Command Element to become a Joint Task Force–Capable headquarters; able to rapidly organize and establish command and control of joint forces to effectively execute potential humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions in joint and multinational environments. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl John Allen)

Photo by Lance Cpl. John Allen

II Marine Expeditionary Force Completes Humanitarian Operations Training

6 Apr 2023 | Courtesy Story II Marine Expeditionary Force

JHOC taught students how to support USAID during the planning and execution of humanitarian support to foreign nations and across a wide variety of humanitarian missions. JHOC is also part of the Joint Task Force training continuum as II MEF prepares for an upcoming JTF exercise later in 2023. Foreign humanitarian assistance is among the list of tasks that a JTF certified headquarters may be called upon to execute.

Foundationally, the course was designed for Marines and other service members to understand the BHA and its mandate to save lives, alleviate human suffering and to reduce the physical, social, and economic impact of disasters. Offered to all military paygrades E-5 and above, Mr. John Williamson, Humanitarian Assistance Advisor, said that the course provided a foundation of foreign disaster response.

Williamson touched on a variety of topics in the curriculum including an overview of the agencies the Marine Corps supports during humanitarian missions, and how to submit and process formal requests from the Department of State.

II MEF Marines were also exposed to historical examples of how a Marine Air-Ground Task Force has supported humanitarian relief operations in the past and then transitioned to training on how they would provide logistical, medical, and engineering support to BHA in future humanitarian operations.

“We discussed two case studies which discussed real-world responses," said Col. Patrick Manson, a student in the course, “[this was] to ensure the students within the course understood the processes to request, and how the DoD-unique capabilities might be leveraged in certain situations."

Col. Manson explains, "after completing the course, you should be able to understand the way a humanitarian assistance request is generated, how the military might provide unique capabilities in support of USAID efforts, and how the military supports wholesale relief efforts.”

The skills gained from the course can be implemented by Marines in their work, especially should the need for a JTF mission arise. As part of a JTF, the Marines would use this humanitarian assistance training to benefit the unit's mission to deliver and provide aid in a chaotic and uncertain environment such as foreign humanitarian disaster. “This training will give them a level of understanding and the ability to use common terms to accomplish their tasks while supporting USAID," said Manson.

This course enhances the II MEF’s role in supporting foreign humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, putting Marines in a better position to effectively serve during a humanitarian mission should the need arise.