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Hospital Ship USNS Comfort in Latin America: Enduring Promise Medical Assistance Mission

The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) will provide medical assistance to Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras October - December 2018, as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative. For this mission, U.S. personnel will work alongside partners to provide medical assistance based on the needs identified by each host nation. This marks the hospital ship's sixth deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean since 2007 and reflects the United States' enduring promise of friendship, partnership, and solidarity with the Americas.

Watch: Overview of USNS Comfort mission to Latin America 2018 

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U.S. Navy Sailors shift colors as hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) departs Panama City, Panama.
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PANAMA CITY, PANAMA (Oct. 18, 2018) - Electronics Technician 2nd Class Michael Maschek (left), from Springdale, Ark., and Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Derek Coburn, from Virginia Beach, Va., shift colors as hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) departs Panama City, Panama. Comfort is on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative. Working with health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras, the embarked medical team will provide care on board and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems caused partly by an increase in cross-border migrants. The deployment reflects the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity with the Americas. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman J. Keith Wilson/Released)
Personnel practice adjusting a four-point harness during helicopter familiarization training in an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter.
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181018-N-RU084-1002 PANAMA CITY, PANAMA (Oct. 18, 2018) – Paula Dal Din and Alicia Paz, with the White Helmets Organization in Argentina, and Claudia Portugal, a service member with the Peruvian military, practice adjusting a four-point harness during helicopter familiarization training in an MH-60S Seahawk, assigned to the “Sea Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). Comfort is on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative. Working with health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras, the embarked medical team will provide care on board and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems caused partly by an increase in cross-border migrants. The deployment reflects the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity with the Americas. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Aaron Bewkes)
Lt. Carolina Garcia-Leahy, from Caracas, Venezuela, answers questions in Spanish to partner nation and non-governmental organizations during boat embarkation familiarization training aboard hospital ship USNS Comfort.
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PANAMA CITY, PANAMA (Oct. 18, 2018) – Lt. Carolina Garcia-Leahy, from Caracas, Venezuela, answers questions in Spanish to partner nation and non-governmental organizations during boat embarkation familiarization training aboard hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). Comfort is on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative. Working with health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras, the embarked medical team will provide care on board and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems caused partly by an increase in cross-border migrants. The deployment reflects the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity with the Americas. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Aaron Bewkes)
A U.S. Navy Sailor  disembarkation procedures during boat familiarization training for partner nation and non-governmental organization personnel aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort.
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PANAMA CITY, PANAMA (Oct. 18, 2018) - Chief Machinist’s Mate William Mills, from Detroit, teaches disembarkation procedures during boat familiarization training for partner nation and non-governmental organization personnel aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). Comfort is on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative. Working with health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras, the embarked medical team will provide care on board and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems caused partly by an increase in cross-border migrants. The deployment reflects the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity with the Americas. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Aaron Bewkes)
A U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman performs an eye exam aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort.
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181016-A-UH336-1003 CARIBBEAN SEA (Oct. 16, 2018) – Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Erin Shelly-Moody, from Bremerton, Wash., performs an eye exam aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). Comfort is on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative. Working with health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras, the embarked medical team will provide care on board and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems caused partly by an increase in cross-border migrants. The deployment reflects the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity with the Americas. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Joseph DeLuco/Released)
The hospital ship USNS Comfort transits south on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America.
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181013-N-LL146-1110 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 13, 2018) – The hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) transits south on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative. Working with health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras, the embarked medical team will provide care on board and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems caused partly by an increase in cross-border migrants. The deployment reflects the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity with the Americas. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Scott Bigley/Released)
Sailors conduct mass casualty training aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort.
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181011-N-SG189-1169 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 11, 2018) - Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Brodie Wilson (left), assigned to Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Forces, and Canadian Forces Master Corporal Kristian Tam, a medical technician, conduct mass casualty training aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). Comfort is on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative. Working with health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras, the embarked medical team will provide care on board and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems caused partly by an increase in cross-border migrants. The deployment reflects the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity with the Americas. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman J. Keith Wilson/Released)
Sailors aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort conduct stretcher bearer training during a mass casualty drill.
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101318-N-FG807-1053 ATLANTIC OCEAN (October 13, 2018) Sailors, aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), conduct stretcher bearer training during a mass casualty drill. Comfort is on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative. Working with health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras, the embarked medical team will provide care on board and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems caused partly by an increase in cross-border migrants. The deployment reflects the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity with the Americas. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Devin Alexondra Lowe/Released)
A Sailor aboard USNS Comfort conducts inspections on an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter.
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181011-N- CF105-1018 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 11, 2018) – Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class Johnathon Pollitt, from Overwand Park, Kan., conducts inspections on an MH-60S Seahawk, assigned to the “Sea Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). Comfort is on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative. Working with health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras, the embarked medical team will provide care on board and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems caused partly by an increase in cross-border migrants. The deployment reflects the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity with the Americas. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Pat Morrissey/Released)
U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS COMFORT departs Norfolk, VA.
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U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS COMFORT (T-AH-20) is on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of U.S. Southern Command's Enduring Promise initiative. Working with health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras, the embarked medical team will provide care on board and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems caused partly by an increase in cross-border migrants. The development reflects the United States' enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity with the Americas(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel E. Gheesling/Released)
Sailors salute the ensign of the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS COMFORT before it's scheduled deployment.
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Sailors salute the ensign of the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS COMFORT (T-AH-20) before it's scheduled deployment. Comfort is on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of U.S. Southern Command's Enduring Promise initiative. Working with health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras, the embarked medical team will provide care on board and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems caused partly by an increase in cross-border migrants. The development reflects the United States' enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity with the Americas. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel E. Gheesling/Released)
Ambassador Alejandro Daneri, president, White Helmets Commission of Argentina, poses for a group photo with members of the White Helmets Commission of Argentina in front of USNS Comfort (T-AH 20).
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NORFOLK - Ambassador Alejandro Daneri, president, White Helmets Commission of Argentina, poses for a group photo with members of the White Helmets Commission of Argentina in front of USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). Comfort is on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative. Working with health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras, the embarked medical team will provide care on board and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems caused partly by an increase in cross-border migrants. The deployment reflects the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity with the Americas. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. CaShaunta Q. Williams/Released)
U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS COMFORT departs Norfolk, VA.
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U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS COMFORT (T-AH-20) is on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of U.S. Southern Command's Enduring Promise initiative. Working with health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras, the embarked medical team will provide care on board and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems caused partly by an increase in cross-border migrants. The development reflects the United States' enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity with the Americas. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel E. Gheesling/Released)
The hospital ship USNS Comfort at anchorage off the coast of Haiti in 2007.
Comfort to deploy to Latin America for medical assistance mission
File photo of the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) at anchorage off the coast of Haiti in 2007. Comfort is deploying from Norfolk, Va., Oct. 11 for a two-month medical assistance mission in Latin America. Comfort will provide care in Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras and Peru. (U.S. Navy photo)
ALL IMAGERY FROM USNS COMFORT MISSION (DVIDS)
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Overview

The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) departed Naval Station Norfolk, Va., Oct. 10 en route to South America and Central America where it will conduct an 11-week medical assistance mission working closely with host-nation health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras. The purpose of the deployment is to help relieve pressure on host nation medical systems partly due to an increase in migrants crossing their borders and provide care to the appropriate communities.

The ship’s crew will include more than 200 U.S. and partner nation military doctors, nurses, and technicians. In addition, about 60 medical and dental professional volunteers from non-governmental organizations will be on board to support the medical assistance mission. They will be joined by a smaller team of civil service mariners who will oversee the ship’s operation and navigation.

During the mission, USNS Comfort will visit Esmeraldas, Ecuador; Peru (port to be determined); Riohacha and Turbo in Colombia; and Puerto Castilla, Honduras.  Specific dates for each port visit will be announced several days prior to the hospital ship’s arrival.

The USNS Comfort mission demonstrates U.S commitment to the Americas and is part of a continuum of support provided by U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM).  SOUTHCOM-sponsored civic assistance and humanitarian missions are conducted in close cooperation with partner nations in the region as well as with U.S. interagency partners at the U.S. Department of State and USAID. Similar missions include Continuing Promise, New Horizons, Beyond the Horizon, medical readiness training exercises and the Medical Civil Action Program.

About USNS Comfort

A U.S. Navy hospital ship has the capacity to provide afloat, mobile, acute surgical medical facilities to the U.S. military, and is an optimal platform to provide hospital services in support of U.S. humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations worldwide.

Medical & Dental Services Provided

During each visit, Comfort’s medical team expects to treat approximately 750 patients per day at each medical site on shore, and anticipate conducting up to 20 surgeries per day aboard the vessel. Medical service will include:


  • General surgery
  • Ophthalmologic surgery
  • Dermatology
  • Medical evaluation and treatment
  • Preventive medicine
  • Dental screenings and treatment
  • Optometry screenings
  • Eyewear distribution
  • Public health

Background

This mission marks the sixth time the hospital ship will provide medical assistance in the region. Since first deploying to the region on a similar mission more than a decade ago, the hospital ship has visited 18 nations in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. During those missions, military medical professionals worked with host nation and civilian partners to provide medical treatment to nearly 390,000 people, including more than 6,000 surgeries.

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