USNS Mercy Hosts Students from Navy War College

Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) played host to 55 international students from the Navy War College’s Naval Command College Jan. 23, in San Diego, Calif.

The students who represented 52 countries received command briefs from Capt. Brett Hershman, commander Military Sealift Command Pacific, Capt. John Rotruck, commanding officer of Mercy’s Medical Treatment Facility, and Capt. John Olmstead, Mercy’s civil service master.  Following the briefs, the group toured the ship seeing firsthand its capabilities and treatment facilities.

“This was a great opportunity for our group,” said Cmdr. Ray Franklin, the War College liaison officer.  “Our program is about building bridges between nations and the hospital ship showed us not only how Mercy’s Pacific Partnership mission do that, but also, how MSC builds bridges between the military community and the civilian mariners who work together on a daily basis.

The group, who is in the San Diego area as part of a Southwestern United States tour of military and federal facilities and bases.  In addition to touring Mercy, the group visited other Navy ships and bases including the Naval Special Warfare Center, in San Diego.

“I really enjoyed seeing this hospital ship,” said Cmdr. Amirul Islam of the Bangladesh Navy.  “I’ve heard a lot about USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort throughout my career, and to finally see one of these ships is amazing.  What this ship can do in terms of health care and humanitarian service is very impressive.  It was worth the long journey to San Diego to see it.”

USNS Mercy returned from its Pacific Partnership mission to Southeast Asia in June of 2018.   Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific Region.  The missions have included medical exchanges, veterinary exchanges, and engineering projects while working side by side with partners in Cambodia, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Indonesia, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea and the Bougainville Autonomous region, Philippines, Marshall Islands, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Vietnam.  Pacific Partnership 2018 includes more than 800 military and civilian personnel from the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, France, South Korea, Singapore, and Japan

Mercy’s crew and MTF are currently training and planning for its next mission.

The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) transits San Diego Harbor as the ship departs on its Pacific Partnership Mission.

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