Hospital Ship USNS Comfort Set to Depart for Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Relief
NORFOLK, Va. — The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort is scheduled to depart Norfolk, Va., on Sept. 29 to support relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
Comfort is scheduled to depart with 522 medical personnel and support staff, and 70 civil service mariners. The medical personnel will include a full spectrum of medical care to include general practice, family medicine, nephrology and pediatrics.
Comfort’s primary mission is to provide an afloat, mobile, acute surgical medical facility to the U.S. military that is flexible, capable and uniquely adaptable to support expeditionary warfare. Comfort’s secondary mission is to provide full hospital services to support U.S. disaster relief and humanitarian operations worldwide.
The hospital ship has one of the largest trauma facilities and when activated can transition to full operating status in five days, which includes a crew of civil service mariners, Navy medical personnel. The ship maintains 5,000 units of blood and has up to a 1,000-bed capacity. The hospital is equipped with four X-ray machines, one CAT scan unit, a dental suite, an optometry and lens laboratory, physical therapy center, pharmacy, angiography suite and two oxygen-producing plants.
Comfort’s has been deployed for multiple theater security cooperation missions including Continuing Promise, and operations Unified Response, operation Iraqi Freedom, and operation Noble Eagle. Comfort also was sent as relief to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, providing treatment for 1,500 people.
Comfort is the second of two Mercy-class hospital ships. A converted San Clemente-class supertanker, Comfort was delivered to the Navy’s Military Sealift Command on Dec. 1, 1987.