HOW THE USNS MERCY SAVES LIVES AROUND THE GLOBE
By Buddy Blouin
When those who are serving America are injured on the battlefield, they rely on medical experts to help restore their health. On the high seas, the risk of injuries doesn’t disappear, so medical vessels must be ready to help our troops regain their health during their time of need. USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) is a hospital ship that is a part of those efforts. The USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort are sister ships that both serve the same role: saving lives. Beyond wartime service, the Mercy ship will also aid with humanitarian efforts for crises around the world. Learn more about the great work this ship and its crew do to help support the military and others when they need it most.
More like this:How the USNS Comfort Delivers Comfort & Healing Around the World
Where Is USNS Mercy?The USNS Mercy location can be found at Pier 1 on Naval Base San Diego, California. The address to the naval base is 3455 Senn Rd. San Diego, CA, United States 92136, but without authorization, don’t expect to get far. Home to over 50 naval ships and featuring around 20,000 troops with 6,000 civilian workers, Naval Base San Diego is understandably restricted to outside personnel, as it plays an important role in defending the West Coast and American interests worldwide. However, it’s also important to remember that the location of the USNS Mercy will change depending on the need for such ships. The USNS Mercy hospital ship acts as floating medical relief during times of need all over the world. Primarily a ship focused on helping to heal American warfighters, the USNS Mercy also helps our allies and others outside of wartime when disaster strikes. Working on various humanitarian projects, when disasters occur and help is needed, USNS Mercy and her crew are there to answer the call.
COVID-19 and Pacific PartnershipThe Navy ship leaving Los Angeles after treating 77 patients during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the more notable, recent examples of how the U.S. Navy’s USNS Mercy serves through humanitarian efforts. Its sister ship, the USNS Comfort, made headlines after leaving its port in Norfolk, VA, to attend to a similar effort in New York City. Through what is known as the Pacific Partnership, the Navy hospital ship routinely sets course to the Indo-Pacific region to assist with healthcare needs. In 2022, the first stop of the Pacific Partnerships was at Vung Ro Port, Phu Yen, Vietnam. The ship is a part of a multinational effort from the likes of the U.S., Australia, the United Kingdom, and Japan to help with medical care, dental work, and even constructing new buildings within communities.
USNS Mercy Leads the WayOf all of the hospital ships under noncommissioned service in the Navy, the USNS Mercy is the leader of her class. The ship is manned by no offensive weapons, as the Geneva Conventions prohibit such weaponry, though some defensive weapons may be found aboard to defend in potential situations. With a length of 894′, she is the third-longest ship in the Navy’s fleet. Featuring 1,000 hospital beds, the ship has a notable capacity that can allow her crew to perform healthcare on many people at once, should the need arise. Both commissioned and noncommissioned officers help man the ship, which also contains medical personnel. An esteemed Naval Officer can always be found as captain of the ship. Since being commissioned in 1986, the USNS Mercy has made a lasting impact around the world for both Americans and humankind of many creeds and nations.
Read next:Naval Base San Diego: In-Depth Welcome Center
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