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

The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) provided 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 worked alongside partners to provide medical assistance to a combined 26,701 patients. This marked the hospital ship's sixth deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean since 2007 and reflected the United States' enduring promise of friendship, partnership, and solidarity with the Americas.

Watch: Overview of USNS Comfort mission to Latin America 2018 



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 conducted 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 was 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 included 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 were on board to support the medical assistance mission. They were joined by a smaller team of civil service mariners who oversaw the ship’s operation and navigation.

During the mission, USNS Comfort visited Esmeraldas, Ecuador; Paita, Peru; Riohacha and Turbo in Colombia; and Puerto Castillas, Honduras. 

The USNS Comfort mission demonstrated 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

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


This mission marked 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.


Read More: 'Legacy of USNS Comfort' by U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command

News and Articles

See all articles from USNS Comfort's 2018 mission to Latin America

Photos from USNS Comfort Mission