Through the years, military forces are being employed in Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW). For an operational commander and staff, these operations present significant challenges: in many areas they are relatively unfamiliar, complex, involve a wide variety of agencies and are often protracted in duration. The term MOOTW describes a range of operations too diverse to analyze effectively. This reflective essay focuses on a particular form of MOOTW, in this case Humanitarian Assistance (HA).
HA operations, like other forms of MOOTW, pose special concerns to commanders, staffs and forces especially to medical officers. This essay examines the nature of such operations, and argues that the development of appropriate measures of effectiveness is crucial to success. It presents a summary of concerns and lessons learned through experiences or happenings in military field. It associates the lessons and how the author cope up with the dilemmas she encountered.
It summarizes the realization of that experience and how it changed the way she perceived things after. According to the Joint Doctrine for Military Operations Other than War, Humanitarian Assistance operations relieve or reduce the results of natural or manmade disasters or other endemic conditions such as human pain, disease, hunger, or privation in countries or regions outside the country (Joint Pub 3-07) In the U. K. , the term “Humanitarian Assistance” includes disaster relief, food aid, refugee relief and disaster preparedness.
It generally involves the provision of material aid (including food, medical care and finance) and advice to save and preserve lives during emergency situations and in the immediate post-emergency rehabilitation phase to cope with short and longer-term population displacements arising out of emergencies. It was the 26th of September 2009 when our country was taken by surprise as a serious weather disturbance wreaked havoc in the metropolis and nearby areas.
Rain fell relentlessly, turning streets into raging rivers that swept away mud, garbage, properties, and even lives. It was the nightmare the Filipinos wish to forget, the tropical storm “Ondoy. ” The citizens in the areas affected by the terrible storm were in dire need of rescue and help, as their houses were submerged in floodwater and raging flood kept them from reaching safer grounds. The Filipinos were in danger, their health were compromised, the young children started to get sick because of lack of food, shelter and the basic needs.
At the very height of the storm, the men and women of the Armed Forces of the Philippines especially the Medical Corps, left the safe confines of our headquarters and were mobilized to respond to the needs of the victims. Amidst heavy rain and hard terrain, we tried our very best to carry the task of saving lives and serving the countrymen. We, in the medical corps group gave a series of medical missions, relief operations and attended different women and children of their medical needs. We tried to spread the light of hope in those very gloomy days.
We came, armed not with guns but with medical implements and a strong resolve to heed the call of the times. I am personally moved by the situation wherein someone asked me in soft clear voice “Ma’am hindi ka ba napapagod sa trabaho mo? ” It was 10 in the evening and we are all wet because of the flood, we haven’t had our dinner. In both circumstances I as a commander, without some means of gauging the dynamics of the situation, is likely to lose my situational awareness and orientation to the detriment of the mission.
I may have scolded the mother asking me questions like this. But instead because of this incident, I remember my medical internship few years back. I have always asked my self, “Why am I here? Why am I depriving myself of sleep, food, and comfort that the rest of my non-medical friends are enjoying? And what? End up being scolded during conferences for not doing enough? ” What’s in it for us, military soldiers? What wakes us up every single day?
Makes us wear that heavy and bulky BDA and even smile every time the people around us greet? What makes us work even when we are dead tired. I have learned through this experience that it’s definitely not money –because we would’ve earned a lot more and faster in the corporate world. It’s definitely not the spotlight or the hierarchy, because we all know that you’ll be bad-mouthed by your juniors if you treat them badly. It is because of the simple joys of giving yourself to serve others.
All of these simply for the joy of seeing these people in torment fell better. All for alleviation of the suffering of the people we have sworn to protect. This is an ultimate expression of love – dying in order that others may live. Now that we are learning the different operations in MOOTW, my heart has a soft side to Humanitarian Assistance operation. This is because of tons of personal experience as a Medical Corps in Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center.
Even my own research study entitled Implementation of Anti Cervical Cancer Vaccination Program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center: An Assessment was in connection with Humanitarian Assistance, It is for the fact that, by giving anti cervical vaccination to the female military personnel or the families of the military personnel, I may contribute to the goals of HA operation, which is to reduce the results of natural or manmade disasters or other endemic conditions such as human pain, disease, hunger, or privation.
If the female military personnel or members of the family of the military personnel were free of disease especially of cervical cancer, they would not worry much of their families and with this, they would have the full concentration of protecting their country and their countrymen. In summary, the following reflections and concluding comments are offered for consideration.
First, method of effectiveness, central to planning and decision making in war, have a similar place in MOOTW especially in Humanitarian Assistance operation. In both circumstances the commander, without some means of gauging the dynamics of the situation, is likely to lose his or her situational awareness and orientation to the detriment of the mission. Second, while doing this reflective paper, I’ve been aware of my true value.
This profession brings out the best in me—chivalry, discipline, team spirit and loyalty. This profession is not about a means of livelihood but to have a heart that overflows with patriotic spirit. A good soldier is not a mere brute but a cultured man fired with the highest love for his motherland. His love is so intense that he is prepared to offer his life gladly for the sake of his country. A soldier never shirks responsibility even in the midst of darkness, flood and hunger.
He fights in most difficult terrains, on hills and mountains, in plains and forest. The defense of the country is his primary mission. The life of a soldier is a noble life. He has the opportunity of making the highest kind of sacrifice – that of laying down his life for his country. Winning war is not only done by fighting with both hands and high caliber munitions. It can be attained and supplemented also by other aspects involving life and property. Word Count: 1,214.