15 January 2010

They're Heading for the Medical Frigate...

Sorry, I got bogged down this past week, so I was unable to write much about the situation in Haiti. Fortunately, a few of my fellow bloggers have provided in in-depth look at the US Navy's hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, and its upcoming mission to provide medical care for the victims of the earthquake in the Caribbean.

From CourtneyME109 at "Great Satan's Girlfriend"

Medical aid for the Haiti earthquake is now a military-style op. At least 19 countries, including Canada, [the US], Mexico, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Iceland, [Israel], [Japan], China, Portugal, Commonwealth Russia, Spain, Great Britain, Peru, Chile, and Ecuador provided manpower, supplies or financial aid to Haiti, while the most immediate foreign assistance was being provided by military and humanitarian contingents from neighboring Dominican Republic.

And nothing comes close to USS Comfort (T-AH-20)

No near world competitors have anything like her - and no diss meant - no Chinese or Iranian Carrier Groups or Pakistan flotillas have yet arrived.

God Speed men and women of COMFORT! I just wish it was faster than 17.5 knots!

Project Hope is recruiting volunteers to serve on this open-ended mission. Click here to register.

Hey, it's still faster than Blackwater's pirate-busting M/V McArthur! (Okay, I beat that dead horse). Anyway, Jim links to an article in the AP regarding the Comfort's upcoming mission.

With its giant red cross insignia, 250 hospital beds and military medical staff of 560, the Comfort is preparing for its biggest humanitarian mission in at least 20 years, Capt. James Ware said. "We hope to come and provide some hope," Ware told reporters touring the ship's triage deck. "I think we're up for the task." The ship is expected to arrive Jan. 21 at Haiti, where it may anchor a mile or more offshore and treat patients flown in by the Comfort's two helicopters. Workers in the ship's four operating rooms and eight intensive-care units will be busy treating up to 200 patients a day. Petty Officer Matthew Zimmerman, 29, of Ephrata, Pa., a medic specializing in preventive care, said he was eager to reach Haiti. He said he spent two weeks there with the Comfort in April on a routine humanitarian mission to eight Caribbean and Latin American nations. "This will be whole different beast," Zimmerman said. "This is why we drill. This is why we exist." The mission is open-ended. Zimmerman said he expects to be in Haiti a couple of months. Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Olivero, an operating room nurse from Frederick, said injured Haitians couldn't ask for better care. "I wish we were there yesterday. We can't get there fast enough," he said. Most of the Comfort's medical staff come from the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. The ship is operated and navigated by a crew of 64 civil-service mariners, who are civilian federal employees, said Laura Seal, spokeswoman for the Navy's Military Sealift Command, which owns the Comfort. The floating hospital is one of two in the Navy fleet. The USNS Mercy is based in San Diego.

Last, but most importantly, you'll want to check out the excellent 10-part series David Axe at War is Boring wrote about on the USNS Comfort during a mission to Latin America last year.

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