The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort is on a five-month deployment to Central and South America and the Caribbean in support of humanitarian and partner-building efforts as part of the U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative.
The ship and crew will provide medical assistance to Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Peru, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago as well as conduct logistics and liberty port visits to Panama and Curaçao.
Comfort is working with health and government partners in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean to provide care on the ship and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems strained by an increase in Venezuelan migrants
Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet, along with U.S. military and diplomatic representatives and partner nation representatives attended an opening ceremony for USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) mission stop in Callao, Peru, July 10.
The ceremony marked the beginning of a medical-oriented visit to Peru, demonstrating the commitment to strengthen regional medical capacity by providing side-by-side medical assistance with host and partner nations.
“This noble cause will provide a better quality of life to hundreds of patients, who will be assisted in places that have been properly conditioned to function as temporary health care centers,” said Adm. Fernando Raúl Cerdán Ruiz, Commander-in-Chief of the Peruvian navy.
The purpose of this mission is for U.S. service members and medical professionals to work alongside partner and host nation medical specialists to provide medical assistance and help relieve pressure on health systems strained by the Venezuelan migration crisis.
Comfort’s team consists of more than 900 personnel, including military, non-governmental organization volunteers and members from partner nations, who began screening surgical patients July 9. 20 Sailors are personnel of Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune. This ceremony signified medical sites are fully operational and will treat hundreds of patients during its mission.
“Through our spirit of teamwork, all of us have the unique opportunity to enhance our medical and dental capabilities on a local and global scale,” said Gabrielson. “Our two nations have shared values, challenges, and responsibilities, which forge partnerships that improve regional stability–our partners’ success is our success.”
This marks the fourth Comfort deployment to Peru and the seventh to the region since 2007. The embarked medical teams will provide care aboard the ship and at land-based medical sites.
This deployment is part of 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.
Since 2007, personnel involved in USNS Comfort deployments have treated more than 488,000 patients, performed 5,500 surgeries, completed over 100 engineering projects, and conducted countless other assistance activities.