Comfort Mission Arrives in Honduras

The hospital ship makes its last stop as part of humanitarian mission Enduring Promise 2018.
By U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist Seaman J. Keith Wilson, edited by Diálogo | 11 December 2018

Rapid Response

U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman Third Class Michelle Sheldrew, from Mundelein, Illinois, takes a patient’s blood pressure at one of two medical sites in Honduras, during the USNS Comfort’s 2018 Enduring Promise humanitarian assistance mission. (Photo: U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist Third Class Jailene Casso)

Senior leadership and personnel embarked aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) attended an opening ceremony at a land-based medical site in Trujillo, Honduras, December 7, 2018. The opening ceremony marked the beginning of the fifth and final stop of Comfort’s Enduring Promise 2018 mission in Central and South America. 

“The foundation of every long-term, successful cooperation is trust and shared values,” said U.S. Navy Captain William Shafley, commander of Task Force 49. “We build trust as we work with one another to provide care to those in need. We are successful when we are working together.”

A team of more than 900 medical personnel, including military, non-governmental organization volunteers and members from partner nations, began screening surgical patients, December 6th. The opening ceremony signified the commencement of the medical sites’ full operability, which will treat patients for five days. 

“The medical team aboard the USNS Comfort works alongside the government of Honduras to provide top-quality medical care to people in need,” said Capt. Shafley. “This is Comfort’s second visit to Honduras and her sixth mission to South and Central America.”

Carlos Ramon Aguilar, governor of Colón, Honduras; Honduran Army Brigadier General Orlando Francisco Garcia Maradiaga, director of the Armed Forces Plans, Policy, Programs, and Civil Affairs division; and U.S. Army Colonel Hector Paz III, senior defense official and defense attaché for the U.S. Embassy in Honduras, were among the distinguished guests and speakers at the ceremony. 

“The presence of the ship in the Port of Trujillo represents the continued support of the U.S. military and their solidarity with Honduras,” said Aguilar. “We want to express our appreciation from the Honduran government as well as the Honduran people.”

U.S. Navy Lieutenant Eric Sulava, from Leechburg, Pennsylvania, holds a young patient at one of two medical sites in Honduras, during the USNS Comfort’s 2018 Enduring Promise humanitarian assistance mission. (Photo: U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist Third Class Jailene Casso)

Comfort’s past missions—in North America, Central America, South America, and the Middle East—have provided medical treatment to more than 390,000 patients, including 6,000 surgeries. The 2018 Enduring Promise mission already benefitted over 25,000 people with free medical attention, before arriving in the Port of Trujillo, Honduras.

Comfort is on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative. Working with health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, and Honduras, the embarked medical team will provide care on board and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems caused partly by an increase in cross-border migrants. The deployment reflects the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity with the Americas.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/NAVSOUS4THFLT, www.dvidshub.net/feature/comfort2018, and www.navy.mil.

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