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News | July 31, 2019

Comfort Departs Costa Rica Following Closing Ceremony

By U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. Fourth Fleet

The hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) held its closing ceremony at Gimnasio el Coloso de Barranca symbolizing the completion of the hospital ship’s third medical mission in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, July 27.

U.S. and Costa Rican government officials spoke of the commitment between the partner nations and the symbol of goodwill that Comfort brought to Costa Rican citizens and Nicaraguan and Venezuelan migrants.

“I’m proud of the efforts of our Costa Rican partners and the USNS Comfort to provide medical services to Venezuelans in need, offer aid and comfort to our friends from Nicaragua, and support thousands of Costa Rican friends through this visit,” said Sharon Day, U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica. 

During the Comfort’s five-day mission in Puntarenas, 320 medical professionals of the U.S. Air Force, Army, and Navy, alongside six partner nations, provided care for more than 5,500 patients at two separate shore-based medical sites and performed more than 130 surgeries aboard the ship. 

“From diagnosing breast cancer, to saving a woman’s sight – who hadn’t seen color in 10 years – to another woman who had the opportunity to see her husband for the first time in two years,” said Day. “Those are the stories that will be told because of what the Comfort crew has done.”

The Comfort’s mission is accomplished through the efforts of medical and non-medical personnel. The entire Comfort team is comprised of military and civilian personnel from the United States and partner nations, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Peru, as well as several non-governmental organizations, creating a dynamic team capable of delivering a variety of services. .

This marks the Comfort’s seventh deployment to the region since 2007. At each of the upcoming missions, the embarked medical teams will provide care aboard the Comfort and at two land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems strained partly by an increase in Venezuelan migrants. 

This deployment is part of the U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative and reflects the United States’ ongoing commitment to friendship, partnership, and solidarity with partner nations in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.

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