Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly arrives at the brow of USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), March 31. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Ryan M. Breeden)

LOS ANGELES - Hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) welcomed Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly in Los Angeles March 31 during its support of the nation’s COVID-19 response efforts.

“I would like to personally thank the men and women embarked aboard Mercy,” said Modly. “I’m proud of the hard work and agility they demonstrated to get the Mercy to Los Angeles and begin accepting patients almost immediately.

"The white hull and red cross of this ship have been a welcome sight around the world, standing at the forefront of our humanitarian mission," he continued. "And now this great ship is serving our own people in this time of need, providing critical surge hospital capacity to the people of Los Angeles.

"This is just one of the many ways the Department of the Navy is responding to protect the American people in this time of need.”

While in Los Angeles, 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.

Mercy is a seagoing medical treatment facility that currently has personnel embarked for the Los Angeles mission, including Navy medical and support staff assembled from 22 commands, as well as over 70 Civil Service mariners.

Mercy’s primary mission is to provide an afloat, mobile, acute surgical medical facility to the U.S. military that is flexible, capable, and uniquely adaptable to support expeditionary warfare. Mercy's secondary mission is to provide full hospital services to support U.S. disaster relief and humanitarian operations worldwide.

U.S. 3rd Fleet is operating as the Maritime Command Element, West, for U.S. Naval Forces Northern Command (NAVNORTH), under U.S. Northern Command for Defense Support of Civil Authorities in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead agency.

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly is briefed on the USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) patient transfer process. (U.S. Navy/MC1 David Mora Jr.)