USNS Comfort returns to Norfolk after relief mission to Puerto Rico

The USNS Comfort is back in Hampton Roads!

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC)-- The Military Sealift Command USNS Comfort is back in Hampton Roads.

The Navy hospital ship left nearly two months ago to help with hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

It was a very busy deployment for the Comfort. The ship saw more than 1,800 patients, performed nearly 200 surgeries and even delivered two babies.

After Hurricanes Irma and  Maria slammed the Caribbean Island the Comfort team did their part to help their fellow Americans in need.

"The name Comfort is absolutely appropriate for what twe were able to do, because it wasn't just thee medical treatment of personnel that we were down there for, but we made every effort to bring family member escorts on board including those we had to medevac to provide comfort to the patients as well as the family," said the Comfort's commanding officer, Navy Captain Kevin Capt. Robinson.

The Comfort's civilian Master, Captain Roger Gwinn, recalled what it was like.

"When we first got there, there was no electricity and everything was dark," he said. "And we were a bright beacon that had power. We met people that hadn't showered in 8-9 days, hadn't had a hot meal in the same amount of time, and that made the crew realize what we were dealing with. "

Waiting on Pier One at Naval Station Norfolk were a few dozen family members, including Nichole Tuchinda, wife of one of the ship's crew members.

"And we're super proud and we're glad they were able to help somewhat in Puerto Rico, and we're glad that he got to do that," she said.

The Norfolk-based Comfort is a seagoing medical treatment facility that had more than 850 personnel embarked for the Puerto Rico mission.

The crew was made up of active duty navy and civilian mariners. The Navy medical and support staff assembled from 22 commands, as well as more than 70 civil service mariners.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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