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Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa Trains for Evacuation Operations

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Marines and sailors with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa conducted noncombatant evacuation operations training by setting up an evacuation control center aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Nov. 8, 2012.

Instructors with Special Operations Training Group trained the Marines and sailors in setting up an ECC and a humanitarian assistance distribution center for noncombatant evacuation operations.

“We’ve done an engineering tape walkthrough with the leaders, and now we’re doing our first practical application,” said Marty Klotz, a stability subject matter expert with SOTG and a Cincinnati native. Klotz added that this type of training is required for any MAGTF, and the Marines and sailors will be conducting more practical application exercises before becoming certified.

In the morning, Marines and sailors set up a humanitarian assistance distribution center to learn how to distribute food and water to individuals during a crisis such as an earthquake or hurricane, when food and potable water may be scarce.

During a NEO, Marines and sailors would set up an ECC to process American citizens and designated host nation and third country nationals for evacuation from an area of potential danger.

“If something were to happen to an embassy, we’ll basically take American citizens in and get them to safety,” said Sgt. Jacob Kincaid, a combat engineer with Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa and a Charleston, W.V., native. Kincaid added that the day’s training provided a basic understanding of how to set up and run an ECC under conditions similar to those they may face while deployed.

Learning via practical application is the hallmark of understanding how and why Marines and sailors need to conduct things a certain way.

“It’s one thing to read about [humanitarian operations] or hear about it, but it’s another to watch it in the process,” said Kincaid. “Everything we’ve learned is really coming together and it makes sense.”

Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa is currently training for a number of operations they may perform during their upcoming deployment.

Article by Sgt. Amber Blanchard, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit