The U.S. Navy Mercy-class hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) wrapped up its first medical mission in Manta, Ecuador, during a symbolic closing ceremony, July 3.
During the ceremony, Comfort leadership as well as local and U.S. guests spoke of the commitment between the partnering nations and the symbol of goodwill that Comfort brought to the citizens of Manta.
During Comfort’s six-day medical mission in Manta, 320 medical professionals of the United States Navy and seven partner nations provided care for 7,799 patients and performed more than 120 surgeries aboard the ship.
“What we have accomplished over the past week will far outlast the ship’s visit to the region,” said Capt. Brian Diebold, commander of Task Force 49. “The medical staff has shared with me countless moving stories — from children getting their first pair of glasses to grandparents being able to see for the first time in years after a cataract surgery. It is truly remarkable what we are capable of when we work together.”
Comfort’s team is made up of military and civilian personnel from the United States and partner nations including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Peru, creating a dynamic team capable of delivering a variety of services during this mission stop.
This marks the seventh hospital ship deployment to the region since 2007. The embarked medical teams will provide care on board Comfort and at two land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems strained partly by an increase in Venezuelan migrants.
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.