MARCH 25, 2020 – Nearly 60 Reserve medical professionals reported to the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) March 22, to support Mercy’s upcoming medical relief mission.
“The Navy Reserve prides itself on being a ready, agile force that provides responsive, vital support to the Navy and the Nation,” said Rear Adm. John Schommer, deputy commander of Commander, Navy Reserve Force. “Volunteer medical professionals from across the Navy Reserve have joined USNS Mercy and will soon join USNS Comfort to help serve our fellow citizens in need.”
Mercy departed Naval Station San Diego March 23, and is now underway to Los Angeles in support of the nation’s COVID-19 response efforts.
Approximately 140 Navy Reserve Sailors will also report to the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) on the east coast within the next few days.
“We diligently ensured our volunteer Reservists are available to support the medical relief efforts without impacting their local and state communities,” said Schommer. “When we were asked to help find medical professionals to help support this mission, we received hundreds of volunteer requests from our Reserve medical community in less than 24 hours. That’s extremely humbling.”
Mercy departed San Diego with over 800 Navy medical personnel and support staff with the afloat Medical Treatment Facility (MTF) and over 70 civil service mariners. The ship will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals, and will provide a full spectrum of medical care to include general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults. This will allow local health professionals to focus on treating COVID-19 patients and for shore-based hospitals to use their Intensive Care Units and ventilators for those patients.
Schommer said the specialized skill sets Navy Reserve Sailors bring will make them an indispensable force multiplier in support of this critical mission.
“I’m very proud of our citizen Sailors today,” said Schommer.
Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Travis Alston
Commander, Navy Reserve Force