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    Relief assistance


    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Porch | A U.S. Coast Guardsmen drops into waters during extraction training as part of the...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Jasmine Higgins 

    28th Public Affairs Detachment

    JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. –Units from across Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, welcomed the Peoples Republic of China’s People’s Liberation Army as it played host to the 11th iteration of the Disaster Management Exchange from Nov. 18-21.

    The DME is a bilateral training exchange between the PLA, and U.S. Army Pacific that focuses on humanitarian aid and disaster response missions, all while improving U.S. and Chinese military interoperability.

    “The Disaster Management Exchange is one of the key bilateral military-to-military events between the U.S. and China,” said Maj. Gen. Stephen Lanza, Commanding General of I Corps and JBLM. “This year we had an opportunity to have an expert academic discussion, review scenarios, and share humanitarian assistance and disaster relief lessons learned from real world events.”

    Before the exchange was officially underway the two nations’ set aside time to further build trust and confidence between the two cultures by allowing the militaries a chance to interact in a relaxed environment by having a cultural exchange.

    The cultural exchange was a day of leisure in which the U.S. Soldiers escorted the PAL Soldiers to Seattle giving them a chance to visit various known locations such as the Seattle Space Needle, Pikes Place Market and various shopping locations.

    “Exchanges such as this not only build positive cooperative relationships and contribute to mutual trusts,” said Lanza. “But they also contribute to a combined ability to respond alongside each other to the potential next natural disaster in the Pacific region.”
    On November 19, The DME was officially in full swing on JBLM, as day one of the exchange began with the two nations’ coming together during an opening ceremony and later getting hands on experience with different equipment used to aid in assisting nations recover from natural disasters.

    “I think the biggest take away I have [from the DME] is the similarities between our two teams,” said Master Sgt. Chris Martin, an Air National Guardsman, 141st Security Forces Squadron, Fairchild Air Force Base. “We have similar equipment. We have similar specialties in what we do. So maybe we have a language barrier, but we have a common language -- in rescue.”

    For the duration of the Exchange, the two nations continued to learn from one another by participating in various joint field simulations and sharing real life humanitarian aid and disaster relief experiences.
    As the DME came to end, the two militaries, combined with the skills sets acquired over the course of the exchange, participated in a joint exchange that simulated a real world natural disaster that encompassed the different scenarios that could transpire while fighting to restore a sense of normalcy to an affected area.

    “So disasters happen all around the world,” said Martin “It’s not confined to China, it’s not confined to the U.S. It’s a situation both of our countries can come in contact with, so it’s great for us both to come together and share different methods of responding to those disasters.”

    On Nov. 21, the closing ceremony marked the end of the Chinese DME held on JBLM, but it was just another step forward in the Pacific Resiliency as the two nations parted ways, but not without competing in a few friendly games of sports.

    “We look forward to the next opportunity to share with our Chinese counterparts in this great bilateral opportunity,” said Lanza.



    Date Taken: 11.21.2015
    Date Posted: 11.21.2015 22:52
    Story ID: 182566
    Hometown: SPOKANE, WA, US

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