USNS Comfort, Continuing Promise 2011 Leave Guatemala
Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) and Continuing Promise 2011 (CP11) departed Guatemala, July 11, after 10 days of medical, dental and veterinary care, engineering support and subject matter expert exchanges.
Comfort’s crew manned three medical and two engineering sites spread around the Puerto San Jose area, with biomedical engineers and doctors visiting Centro Médico Militar hospital in Guatemala City.
“Optometry has made a big impact on this mission because we get to see a lot of patients,” said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Ricardo Ramirez of his department’s average of 150 patients a day at the medical sites. They distributed 2,500 pairs of glasses in Guatemala alone. “We are happy that we are doing something for this community,” he added.
CP11 medical staff triaged 8,110 patients during the team’s sixth mission stop, bringing the total number of patients treated for the entire deployment so far to 44,941. Surgeries in Guatemala topped 115. Comfort still has stops in Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Haiti before returning to the U.S.
During the mission stop in Guatemala, Comfort’s crew welcomed a number of distinguished visitors aboard the ship including Commander, U.S. Southern Command, Gen. Douglas Fraser; Guatemalan President, Alvaro Colóm; U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala, the Honorable Stephen McFarland; British Ambassador to Guatemala, the Honorable Julie Chappell; and the Dutch Ambassador to Guatemala, the Honorable Johan Jacob van de Velde.
Comfort’s crew members engaged the local community through sporting events with the host nation, a number of subject matter expert exchanges, an Independence Day celebration in the port terminal, and a variety of community relations events.
The Guatemala mission opened with a Army Day celebration hosted by the Guatemalan Army and concluded with a barbecue hosted by the Guatemalan Navy.
Comfort is deployed in support of Continuing Promise 2011, a five-month humanitarian assistance mission to the Caribbean, Central and South America providing medical, dental, veterinary, and engineering support. The mission also provides subject matter expert exchanges and foreign disaster relief training.
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, July 14, 2011;