Sunday, September 8, 2019.
Presented by LCDR (ret) Donna Haase, NC, USN.
Two Mercy-class hospital ships have become prime assets in the Navy’s efforts to reach out to foreign countries and provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. The hospital ships have conducted a number of humanitarian-assistance and disaster-response missions at home and abroad, providing care to more than 550,000 people.
USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), which originally drew most of its medical staff from the Washington area, was transferred to Norfolk, Virginia in 2013 to be closer to the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center, where most of its medical staff now is based. The USNS Comfort’s first humanitarian mission was in 1994 with Operation Sea Signal and Uphold Democracy. In 2017 Comfort deployed to Puerto Rico to support relief efforts after Hurricane Maria, and in 2018 Comfort deployed to South and Central America for Enduring Promise 2018. She just left for another humanitarian mission, Operation Continuing Promise in June 2019. This will be a five-month mission to visit Central and South America with her primary mission to assist countries affected by the Venezuelan refugee crisis who fled their country. The main goal of this mission is to relieve health systems in Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Honduras. LCDR (ret) Donna Haase, NC, USN will present information about the USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), what it is equipped with and its capabilities.