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A Ship Called Comfort - Navy Humanitarian Mission to Latin America

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Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) sails off the coast of Virginia shortly after getting underway from Naval Station Norfolk to start a multi-month humanitarian assistance deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean. Sailors aboard Comfort expect to provide medical treatment to approximately 85,000 patients in a dozen countries. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joan Kretschmer)


    "USNS Comfort’s humanitarian mission is a major component of the president’s “Advancing the Cause of Social Justice in the Western Hemisphere” initiative.  Comfort will visit 12 Central American, South American and Caribbean nations where its embarked medical crew will provide free health care services to communities in need.  The mission offers valuable training to U.S. personnel and provides the region a mobile, flexible, and rapidly responsive afloat medical capability for a number of missions and training opportunities." - SouthCom's Description of the mission of the USNS Comfort

This operation is amazing in it's scope and benefit to our neighbors to the south.  If you read the above caption, the Comfort was going to treat 85,000 people, and as of mid-August, they had completed:

    178,137 consultations with 45,094 patients during visits to just six countries.
    Conducted 510 surgeries
    Completed 18,110 dental procedures
    Dispensed 53,022 pharmaceuticals
    Issued 10,735 eyeglasses and...
    Treated 6,467 animals

The ship's medical staff has also partnered with Project Hope -- an international, nongovernmental heath organization -- to conduct more than 700 training sessions for approximately 20,000 students.

Biomedical technicians from the Comfort have conducted 287 repairs on medical equipment for local health care facilities; and Seabees (Navy Engineers) have conducted more than a dozen construction and restoration projects at local schools and health care facilities during the deployment.

I could go on and on.

There are so many wonderful things that the USNS Comfort is doing right now that it's tough to put it all in one post.  I'm going to try using a few different mediums. 

Below is a Fox News report on the Comfort from July 25th.

   

Below is a story via the DoD on the USNS Comfort:

USNS Comfort Brings Free Medical Care to Latin America

Medical personnel aboard the USNS Comfort hospital ship are providing free medical care to thousands of people in Nicaragua as part of a four-month humanitarian assistance deployment to more than a dozen Latin American and Caribbean countries.

The Comfort sailed out of Norfolk, Va., June 15. Before arriving in Nicaragua, personnel aboard the ship provided medical care to more than 55,000 patients in Belize, Guatemala and Panama... 

You read the whole piece here.  Here's graphic depicting the ship (source US Navy/SouthCom):

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And one more cool thing about the Comfort...it's Captain keeps a blog!

More photos after the Jump.

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U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Karl Kish, a chaplain, carries a patient off Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort onto a boat while under way in the Caribbean Sea July 1, 2007. The patient will be transported back to Guatemala after receiving medical care aboard the ship. Comfort is on a four-month humanitarian deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean providing medical treatment to approximately 85,000 patients in a dozen countries. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Joan E. Kretschmer 

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Civilian mariners operate a lifeboat used to transport crew and patients from the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) to Belize City, Belize. Comfort is on a four-month humanitarian deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean to provide medical treatment to approximately 85,000 patients in a dozen countries. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Karsten)

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Lt. Cmdr. Catherine Rockwell, attached to the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), provides veterinary care to a pet at Medical Center Morales. Comfort is on a four-month humanitarian deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean to provide medical treatment to patients in a dozen countries. While deployed, Comfort is under the operational control of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and tactical control of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 24. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Karsten)

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Patients wait outside the Miguel Grau School, for medical care provided by medical staff attached to the Military Sealift Command (MSC) hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) in Salaverry, Peru, Aug. 8. Comfort is on a four-month humanitarian deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean to provide medical treatment to patients in a dozen countries.  Photographer: Petty Officer 2nd Class Joan Kretschmer, Navy Visual News Service.

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Capt. Joseph Rusz and Hospitalman Latoya Coaxum, both attached to Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), provide dental care for Jean Seide at Hopital De L'universite D'etat D'Haiti. Comfort is on a four-month humanitarian deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean providing medical treatment to patients in a dozen countries.  Photographer: Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua Karsten, Navy Visual News Service

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An MH-60S Seahawk, from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28, prepares to transport cargo from Military Sealift Command (MSC) supply ship USNS Saturn (T-AFS 10) to MSC hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). Comfort is on a four-month humanitarian deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean providing medical treatment to patients in a dozen countries.  Photographer: Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua Karsten, Navy Visual News Service.

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A utility boat approaches Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) while at anchorage. Comfort is on a four-month humanitarian deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean providing medical treatment to patients in a dozen countries. Photo by Navy Visual News Service. 

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