- U.S. Army captain Mark Handloff, son of Dr. Robert Handloff and Donna Lewis of Thompson, recently graduated from the U.S. Army's year long Civil Affairs Qualifying Course (CAQC) held at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
He was then immediately assigned to the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade stationed at Ft. Bragg.
The mission of Civil Affairs is, in brief, to win hearts and minds. Civil Affairs units help military commanders by working with civil authorities and civilian populations in the military commander's area of operations to lessen the impact on civilians and non-combatants of U.S. military operations during times of war, peace or some other contingency.
CA officers inform the local commander of the status, needs and wishes of the civilian population and also assist in coordinating military operations to better accommodate the needs of both civilians and the U.S. military.
With their expertise in local languages — Captain Handloff has mastered conversational Arabic, cultural understanding, and civil matters, they are the principal unit — the "brains" — in assisting a commander in the conduct of civil and military operations.
They may also serve as liaisons — sometimes in dangerous places — once hostilities have ceased but peace has not yet been won.
Once hostilities have ended, CA officers may then assist both in the distribution of aid and supplies and the construction of small scale projects to facilitate the return of civilian authority. This is all in keeping with the Civil Affairs motto: "Secure the Victory."
Captain Handloff received his commission as 2nd Lieutenant following his 2009 graduation from Officer Candidate School at Ft. Benning in Georgia.
After a training program in field artillery, in 2010 he was deployed to Khost province in Afghanistan for a year.
During his deployment, his work with the battalion staff officers interacting with Afghan officials and his experience running an Afghan TV station encouraged him to transfer from field artillery to Civil Affairs.