USNS Comfort is arriving today at its new layberth at Naval Station Norfolk today, saving the Navy approximately $2 million per year and providing maintenance support and deployment advantages for the ship.
One of two Military Sealift Command hospital ships, Comfort provides an afloat, mobile, acute surgical medical facility for the U.S. military. As a secondary mission, Comfort provides full hospital support services for disaster relief and humanitarian operations worldwide. Here are some of the ship’s capabilities and history of providing world-class medical care when called upon.
- Length 894 feet
- Beam 106 feet
- Draft 32.8 feet
- Displacement 69,552 tons
- Speed 17.5 knots
- Crew 65-71 MSC civil service mariners; up to 1,215 Medical Treatment Facility personnel (when deployed)
- 1,000 patient beds
- 12 operating rooms
- Radiography rooms with and angiography suite and CT scanner
- Dental suite, optometry and lens laboratory, physical therapy center, pharmacy, blood bank and two oxygen-producing plants
Continuing Promise 2011 – From March to early September, Comfort visited Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Peru. Mission personnel worked with host nations to provide up to 11 days of medical, dental, optometry, engineering, veterinary services, and civil-military operations training to each country’s citizens. More than 70,000 patients were triaged throughout the entire mission and more than 1,000 surgeries were performed.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita – From September – October 2005, Comfort deployed to provide medical assistance to Pascagoula, Miss., and New Orleans, La., following the devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Comfort’s medical crew provided treatment to nearly 1,500 people.
Operation Noble Eagle – Comfort activated the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2001, in response to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. From Sept. 14 – Oct. 1, Comfort was pierside in Manhattan where the ship’s crew provided meals, housing, medical and psychological services to volunteer and relief workers at ground zero.
Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm – From August 1990 – April 1991, Comfort deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations to treat wounded U.S. military personnel. The ship’s medical personnel saw more than 8,000 outpatients, admitted 700 inpatients and performed 337 complex surgical procedures.