Archive for May 6, 2011
Hospital Ship Security
Now here’s a Military Occupational Speciality we weren’t expecting, armed deck security manning a machine gun on a U.S. Navy hospital ship.
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jerris Bradley stands watch aboard the USNS Comfort as the hospital ship transits the Panama Canal en route to Peru. The Comfort, which left its homeport in Baltimore March 17, is on a nine-nation, five-month medical and humanitarian mission, Continuing Promise 2011, to Latin America and the Caribbean Basin.
In addition to 480 Navy medical and dental professionals, the Comfort is carrying 12 Air Force and Navy linguists to serve as interpreters. There are also 71 civil service mariners (U.S. Merchant Marine) who will operate and navigate the ship, provide water and electricity to the shipboard hospital and, when necessary, transport patients between the Comfort and shore in small boats.
Also aboard the Comfort are Navy Seabees (construction battalions) , who will assist school building projects in the countries visited.
There are also volunteers from 30 non-governmental organizations ranging from Project Hope and Samaritan’s Feet (which provides shoes to people who can’t afford them) to Des Moines University (a health sciences/medical school in Iowa) and World Vets (as in veterinarians).
According to the Navy, the exchange of information with partnering nations “is integral to building disaster relief preparedness and supporting maritime security in the region.
Continuing Promise 2001, which is conducted by U.S. Southern Command, will take the Comfort to selected ports in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Peru.