Press Release

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Military Sealift Command Public Affairs
MSC PAO 01-39
For more information, contact:
Marge Holtz or Bridget Morris
(202) 685-5055
September 12, 2001

Navy hospital ship to support NYC
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The U.S. Navy has activated USNS Comfort, one of the Navy's two hospital ships, to support New York City in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. USNS Comfort, normally kept in reduced operating status in Baltimore, Md., will be crewed with 61 civilian mariners and 730 Navy medical and support personnel. Comfort got underway today and is expected to arrive in Earle, N.J., tomorrow to load additional personnel and supplies. The ship is expected in New York City on Fri., Sept. 14.

Fully crewed, Comfort is 894 feet long, equal in size to one of the nation's five largest trauma centers. The hospital ship is designed to provide emergency, on-site care for U.S. combatant forces deployed in war or other operations. Comfort is a unique medical treatment facility with up to 1,000 beds, fully equipped with 12 operating rooms, medical laboratory, optometry lab, radiological services, cat scan, pharmacy and two oxygen producing plants. In addition, Comfort has 80 intensive care beds, 20 recovery beds, 400 intermediate care beds and 500 minimal care beds and a helicopter deck capable of landing large military helicopters, as well as side ports to take on patients at sea.

Comfort joined the Navy fleet in 1987 and has actively participated in events around the world. It served in the Persian Gulf War in 1990, assisted with the Haitian migrant operations in the Caribbean in 1994, and has participated in multi-national exercises to improve cooperation in peace support operations.

Ordinarily, Comfort is kept in reduced operating status with a crew of 13 civilian mariners and 58 Navy personnel. When the ship is activated, additional civilian mariners are assigned to the ship, and additional medical personnel are pulled from East Coast medical facilities whose positions are back-filled with reserve military personnel.

USNS Comfort is operated by the Navy's Military Sealift Command, the ocean transportation provider for the Department of Defense. The command operates approximately 115 active ships around the world. Ship missions vary from the transport and afloat prepositioning of defense cargo; to underway replenishment and other direct support to Navy ships at sea; to at-sea data collection for the U.S. military and other U.S. government agencies.

For more information about USNS Comfort or Military Sealift Command, visit MSC on the web at http://www.msc.navy.mil/.

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