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Army Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations Soldiers Deploy in Support of Tsunami Relief Efforts
By U.S. Army Special Operations Command Public Affairs Office

FORT BRAGG, N.C., Jan. 7, 2005 – Soldiers from the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) here have departed Fort Bragg in recent days to augment Operation Unified Assistance, the ongoing U.S. military effort in support of humanitarian and disaster relief work in the Pacific Rim following the Dec. 26 tsunami there.

The command's soldiers are uniquely suited to assist in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. With expertise in the major cultures, languages and societies of the world, civil affairs and psychological operations Soldiers are able to help bridge differences between the military and civilian populations.

Among the soldiers and units deploying are two operational civil affairs teams, one civil affairs planning team and one psychological operations assessment team - a force of approximately 15 Soldiers.

The soldiers comprising the civil affairs contingent are assigned to the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) here, the Army's only active component unit of its kind. The four-person operational teams will provide support in Thailand, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka.

The psychological operations assessment team is composed of soldiers from the 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne) here. The 4th Psychological Operations Group team will deploy to Camp H.M. Smith,

Hawaii, to determine what resources and capabilities can be leveraged by the group's Soldiers to increase the effectiveness of U.S. military aid to survivors of the tsunami.

The wartime mission of civil affairs soldiers is to aid in restoring and maintaining public order, identification of existing resources and the equitable distribution of humanitarian supplies and services to help reduce civilian interference with military operations. This combat role is easily adjusted to assist U.S. and allied governments, as well as nongovernmental agencies, in dealing with natural disasters and human suffering.

Psychological operations, or PSYOP, soldiers have a long history of support to humanitarian assistance missions by disseminating information about food, water and medical assistance available from the various aid agencies working to alleviate suffering.

Among the recent missions PSYOP Soldiers have supported include Operation Provide Comfort in Iraq, which assisted Kurdish refugees fleeing the persecution of the former Iraqi regime, and the national relief response to Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

PSYOP soldiers also responded to the devastation in Central America caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 as well as numerous de-mining operations around the world.

Last Updated:
11/30/2005, Eastern Daylight Time
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