Military Sealift Command Hospital Ship Arrives in Colombia


Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) arrived in Tumaco, Colombia, for its fourth mission stop during Continuing Promise 2011 (CP11), June 2.

During Comfort’s visits to Jamaica, Peru and Ecuador, Comfort’s crew of military and non-governmental organization workers have provided humanitarian civic assistance to nations in need.

“Comfort is a symbol of partnership as we have other nation’s countrymen aboard helping with the mission,” said Capt. Anne Mitchell, USNS Comfort director of nursing services. “It truly shows our motivation and dedication to partner with other nations bringing our expertise together to provide the best patient care we can for the people.”

Comfort’s deployment to the region exemplifies the U.S. commitment to cooperative partnerships in the Caribbean, Central and South America.

The ship’s arrival to Colombia not only serves as a means to assist the local community, but also gives one embarked Air Force senior airman the opportunity to possibly visit his 7-year-old daughter.

“It’s been two years since I’ve seen her,” said Air Force Senior Airman Cesar Sal Gado, a native to Colombia, who left his country six years ago to join the U.S. Air Force. “It feels really good to come back to her and to also help my people of Colombia. The Continuing Promise mission is about helping and changing lives. I’m glad to be able to represent it.”

Comfort’s hospital, the Medical Treatment Facility (MTF), is configured with specialized medical teams of military and civilian health care providers. These caregivers provide a range of services ashore, as well as on board the ship for approximately 250 patients. Aside from medical capabilities, Navy Seabees and U.S. Marines from Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 28 will continue CP11’s work during civic engineering projects where they will repair schools throughout the community.

COMUSNAVSO/COMFOURTHFLT supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
Source: navy, June 5, 2011