The U.S. Southern Command Public Affairs has confirmed that the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) is scheduled to deploy in June from Naval Station Norfolk to the Caribbean, Central America and South America to conduct humanitarian medical assistance missions in support of regional partners and in response to the regional impacts of political and economic crises in Venezuela.
During a five-month humanitarian mission, U.S. military medical personnel will work alongside partners to provide medical assistance to communities based on needs identified by host-nation health ministries, and help relieve pressure on host nation medical systems in countries hosting Venezuelans who have fled the country’s crisis.
Countries hosting the USNS COMFORT during the mission will be announced at a later time.
“The USNS COMFORT represents our enduring promise to our partners in the Western Hemisphere —our shared neighborhood,” said U.S. Navy Adm. Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, which will oversee the deployment. “U.S. Southern Command is committed to the region in support of our Caribbean and Latin American partners, as well as displaced Venezuelans who continue to flee the brutal oppression of the former Maduro regime and its interlocking, man-made political, economic and humanitarian crises.”
This marks the hospital ship’s seventh deployment to the region since 2007, second deployment to the Western Hemisphere in the last six months, and reflects the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership, and solidarity with the Americas and the people of Venezuela.
The USNS COMFORT operation is part of the deepening of our engagement in the region under the health pillar of the U.S.-Caribbean 2020 Strategy.
USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) is the third United States Navy ship to bear the name Comfort, and the second Mercy-class hospital ship to join the U.S. Navy’s fleet. The USNS prefix identifies Comfort as a non-commissioned ship owned by the U.S. Navy and operationally crewed by civilians from the Military Sealift Command (MSC).
A uniformed naval hospital staff and naval support staff is embarked when Comfort is deployed, said staffs consisting primarily of naval officers from the Navy’s Medical Corps, Dental Corps, Medical Service Corps, Nurse Corps and Chaplain Corps, and naval enlisted personnel from the Hospital Corpsman rating and various administrative and technical support ratings (e.g., Yeoman, Personnel Specialist, Information Systems Technician, Religious Program Specialist, etc.).