Operation Smile students visit Navy’s hospital ship in Norfolk

Our Navy‘s hospital ship, USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), hosted approximately 550 students as part of Operation Smile‘s International Student Leadership Conference  July 31 in Norfolk, Va.


Touring the ship’s medical treatment facility helped the students connect with Operation Smile’s mission on a global scale, while educating them on the value of service within their communities. Utlimately, the visit helped students develop their skills as future philanthropic leaders.


Hailing from 24 countries including the United States, Canada, Jordan, Philippines, South Africa, Brazil, Columbia, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nicaragua, Sweden and Vietnam, the students’ ages ranged from high school through college. 

Dr. William Magee, cofounder and chief executive officer of Operation Smile, accompanied the students and provided insight into the cooperation between the medical treatment facility within the ship and the organization.

Capt. George McCarthy, civil service master, and Capt. Kevin Knoop, director of the medical treatment facility, met the students as they boarded the ship. 

Operation Smile, a worldwide children’s charity organization that helps treat facial deformities such as cleft lips and cleft palates, accompanied the military medical staff of Comfort on surgical missions in Nicaragua, Peru, and Columbia during humanitarian missions in 2008 and 2009.

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