Home for the Holidays: USNS Comfort to Return to Norfolk After 2-Month Deployment


USNS Comfort will be home for Christmas following a two-month deployment to the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The Military Sealift Command hospital ship will return to Naval Station Norfolk around 11 a.m. Wednesday. The hospital ship, easily recognized by its stark white hull and bold red crosses, departed Norfolk on Oct. 19 as part of its Continuing Promise 2022 mission.

During its deployment, the floating hospital made stops in Guatemala, Honduras, Columbia, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, providing humanitarian assistance to the five partner nations.

The crew, made up of trained medical teams, worked alongside local government and nongovernment organizations to provide medical care to around 12,000 people. This included running more than 600 laboratory tests, conducting around 750 x-rays and ultrasounds and performing 237 surgeries aboard the hospital ship and at nearby land-based medical sites.

But the deployment was not entirely smooth sailing. Ship-to-shore medical services were temporarily suspended Dec. 12 during the Comfort’s final stop in Haiti after 19 people with the mission fell overboard amid a heavy swell hitting the Caribbean region, the Associated Press reported. Two U.S. Navy sailors sustained minor injuries.

The Comfort wrapped up operations Dec. 17, and began the journey back to its homeport in Norfolk.

The hospital ship’s return marks the completion of Continuing Promise 2022, the 12th mission to the region since 2007 and the eighth mission involving USNS Comfort.

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