Mercy Exercise 22-1 takes hospital ship to sea in Pacific

12 November 2021

From MC2 Jacob Woitzel, USNS Mercy

MERCEX 22-1 is a three-week training evolution in port and at sea integrating USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) civilian mariners and Military Treatment Facility (MTF) Sailors.
An MV-22B Osprey assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 164 from Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Camp Pendleton, Calif., conducts flight operations aboard the Military Sealift Command (MSC) hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) during Mercy Exercise (MERCEX) 22-1.
An MV-22B Osprey assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 164 conducts flight operations aboard USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) in the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 10, 2021. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Jake Greenberg)
An MV-22B Osprey assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 164 from Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Camp Pendleton, Calif., conducts flight operations aboard the Military Sealift Command (MSC) hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) during Mercy Exercise (MERCEX) 22-1.
211110-N-DA693-1009
An MV-22B Osprey assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 164 conducts flight operations aboard USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) in the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 10, 2021. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Jake Greenberg)
Photo By: MC2 Jacob L. Greenberg
VIRIN: 211110-N-DA693-1009

SAN DIEGO ﹣ Military Sealift Command (MSC) hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) and its embarked Medical Treatment Facility (MTF) departed its homeport after beginning Mercy Exercise (MERCEX) 22-1, Nov. 8.

MERCEX is a training evolution held quarterly both pier-side and underway.

Over 300 Sailors embarked aboard Mercy, and participated in both pier-side and underway training exercises and drills to test overall medical capability and efficiency.

“MERCEX 22-1 is a capstone event,” said Capt. Timothy Quast, Mercy’s MTF commanding officer. “It combines an important collection of readiness pieces and exercises those pieces in a much larger context. We have drawn up a package of drills combining personnel movement in small boats with our civilian mariner colleagues, as well as patient movement utilizing the MV-22B Osprey on our new flight deck. Getting the mock patients safely and expeditiously to the MTF’s Casualty Receiving Department will be a key theme. All of our exercises, including the mass casualty and code blue drills, will lead us down the pathway to readiness. Our guiding principles after all are ready, reliable and resilient.”

During MERCEX 22-1, Sailors are slated to conduct directorate-specific and cross-directorate training, medical readiness training and patient transport training. Sailors also participate in exercises such as firefighting and damage control drills, small boat drills and flight operations, all alongside their MSC shipmates.

“This is an important underway for Mercy, both for the MTF and MSC civilian mariners,” said Capt. Peter Nolan, Mercy’s ship’s master. “This is our first voyage in nearly six months, and we have a very full schedule. The crew has fire and boat drills, a man overboard scenario, small boat and rescue craft operations, high-speed runs for the ship’s main engines and anchoring evolutions. We’re also slated to deploy the embarkation dock for small boat patient transfer practice, conduct flight operations and certify the tactical air navigation system range. The integration of the MTF and MSC teams is an important goal during these exercises.”

To conclude MERCEX, Sailors and civilian mariners will participate in an all-hands, capstone event to test their abilities learned throughout the week.

MERCEX 22-1 is a three-week-long, pier-side and underway training evolution that highlights integration, training and camaraderie between Military Sealift Command (MSC) civilian mariners and Military Treatment Facility (MTF) Sailors. When called upon, Mercy can steam to assist anywhere to provide relief as a symbol of Navy Medicine’s abilities around the world, and must be in a five-day-activation status in order to support missions over the horizon, and be ready, reliable and resilient to support mission commanders.
 

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