NORFOLK, Va. — Duty calls once again for the 1,000-bed military hospital ship USNS Comfort, which departed Naval Station Norfolk on Wednesday, bound for a goodwill mission in Latin America.
"Continuing Promise 2022" will provide medical and humanitarian aid in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras.
This marks the United States' 12th mission to the region since 2007 and the eighth one involving the Military Sealift Command Hospital Ship Comfort.
Providing such services as general surgery and dental and optometry screenings, Continuing Promise personnel have treated more than 460,000 patients and provided hundreds of civic improvements to dozens of communities.
Family members said they are proud to see their loved ones head off to go do such good.
"It's exciting," said Lisa Hall, mother of a Comfort sailor. "We're very proud and nervous just like any other parents would be, grandparents and family, you know. Proud of what he's doing."
The 1,000-member joint military and civilian team are excited to be a part of this noble effort.
"It's really great because I'm only 19 years old and I'm able to help these people like regular doctors and nurses," said Hospital Corpsman Alana Gordon.
Yeoman Third Class Trevon Draughan said: "For me, personally, I really like helping others. So, I feel that is going to be good for the Comfort, helping others."
Command Senior Chief Tito Santa Cruz added: "We have the ability to help. We have the ability to provide that assistance, so it's important for us to lead the charge when it comes to that."
The Comfort last visited that part of the world in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.