The U.S. Navy Reserve Sailors reported to the Military Sealift Command (MSC)’s hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) on March 25, to support the ship’s upcoming medical relief mission to New York City.
Preparing for the ship’s deployment in response to current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, Commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command (CNRFC) selected more than 120 volunteers from a group of Navy Reserve medical professionals and other ratings to embark on the ship in support of the upcoming mission.
This was the second short-fused request for Reserve support on a Navy hospital ship as nearly 60 Reserve Sailors departed Wednesday on the USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) in support of the COVID-19 response efforts in Los Angeles.
Comfort will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals and will provide a full spectrum of medical care to include general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults. This will allow local health professionals to focus on treating COVID-19 patients and for shore-based hospitals to use their Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and ventilators for those patients.
USNS Comfort (T-AH 20)
USNS Comfort is the second of two Mercy-class hospital ships operated by the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC). She was delivered to the MSC on Dec. 1, 1987.
The USNS prefix identifies them as non-commissioned ships owned by the U.S. Navy and operationally crewed by civilians from the MSC.
The Mercy-class hospital ships are converted San Clemente-class supertankers originally built in the 1970s by the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO). They were acquired by the Navy and converted into hospital ships.
The ships are designed to provide emergency, on-site care for American combatant forces, and also for use in support of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations. Each ship contains 12 fully equipped operating theaters, a 1,000-bed hospital facility, radiological services, medical laboratory, pharmacy, optometry labs, CAT scans, and two oxygen-producing plants.