Back in June we brought you the departure of one of our favorite ships, the USNS Comfort hospital ship. You can read that article including ship details HERE. Today PilotOnline has news of the ship’s return to the states. They tell us;
America’s high-tech, smart-bombing Navy could be seeing its future in a pair of hulking former oil tankers and their patchwork crews of civilian and military mariners and medical specialists.
Adm. Gary Roughead, the Navy’s chief of naval operations, on Friday told the crew of the hospital ship Comfort that its four-month cruise points the way toward other medical missions aimed at adding combat prevention to the Navy’s warfare portfolio.
“There’s another part to defending our country and another part to advancing our strategic interests,” he said, “and that’s to reach out to other people and to cooperate with other people.”
Roughead, who took over as chief last month, said fostering international goodwill has always been one of the Navy’s missions. But the Baltimore-based Comfort’s cruise, along with a similar Pacific deployment last year by the San Diego-based hospital ship Mercy, heralds an intensified effort to use the Navy to strengthen America’s image abroad, he said.
The Comfort’s medical staff treated more than 98,000 patients in or offshore from a dozen countries during its voyage, straightening teeth and fixing cleft palates, administering about 32,000 vaccinations, and dispensing more than 24,000 pairs of prescription and reading glasses.
The ship also carried a group of engineers who went ashore in several countries to dig or repair wells and sewage treatment facilities.
Read the full article HERE.