On December 21, 1972, at 12:29 AM, Managua, Nicaragua, was devastated by a 6.2-magnitude earthquake. Eighty percent of the city was damaged, 5000 individuals died, and 20 000 more were injured. At that time, I was Director of Civic Action and Disaster Relief for the US Military Southern Command headquartered in the Panama Canal Zone. Later that morning our initial team arrived to survey the damage and initiate relief efforts. That Saturday still stands out in my mind because of the rapid and efficient response of the US military. Requests were communicated to the United States, and by the next morning transport planes were landing to bring operating rooms, medical equipment and supplies, drugs, and additional personnel. Hours after the planes landed, facilities were in place to begin treatment of the injured. Medical staff from the United States integrated easily with local medical physicians and military medical staff from the Southern Command, as well as international volunteers such as Peace Corps nurses.