The modern cast of disaster relief actors includes host nations, non-governmental organisations, private volunteer organisations, military organisations and others. Each group, civilian or military, has valuable skills and experiences critical to disaster relief work. The goal of this paper is to supplement the study of civil–military relief efforts with contemporary anecdotal experience. The paper examines the interaction between US military forces and other disaster relief actors during the 2005 Kashmir earthquake relief effort. The author uses direct observations made while working in Pakistan to contrast the relationships and activities from that effort with other accounts in prevailing scholarly disaster literature and military doctrine. Finally, this paper suggests that the Kashmir model of integration, coordination and transparency of intent creates a framework in which future humanitarian assistance operations could be successfully executed. Recommendations to improve civil–military interaction in future relief efforts will also be addressed.