USNS Mercy departs Los Angeles; military relief efforts continue
LOS ANGELES - The hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) departed Los Angeles after supporting the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 response operations to the greater Los Angeles area during the coronavirus pandemic, May 15.
“We came to Los Angeles to be the relief valve for local hospitals in the fight against COVID-19,” said Capt. John Rotruck, commanding officer of the Medical Treatment Facility (MTF) on board. “I am very impressed with how well the team came together on this rapid response mission, completing a wide-range of high-quality medical procedures from orthopedic surgeries to interventional radiology. Sailors from across the country answered the call, forming a unified team focused on our mission to treat patients from Los Angeles. I couldn’t be more proud.”
At the direction of FEMA and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), approximately 60 personnel assigned to Mercy’s medical treatment facility will continue supporting state and local healthcare providers at skilled nursing facilities. The Navy, along with USNORTHCOM-directed forces, remains engaged throughout the nation in support of the broader COVID-19 response.
Mercy has been at the World Cruise Center Terminal in the Port of Los Angeles since March 27, serving state and local healthcare providers by treating non-COVID-19 patients in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. While on mission, the medical professionals aboard Mercy treated a wide variety of patients and performed high quality medical procedures to include: general, orthopedic and plastic surgeries; interventional radiology; exploratory laparotomy; and skin grafting.
“After arriving on station, the personnel aboard Mercy were able to safely execute our mission in support of FEMA and in coordination with state and local authorities,” said mission commander, Capt. Dan Cobian, commodore of Destroyer Squadron 21. “In addition to supporting Los Angeles-area hospitals, we were able to expand our mission by providing support to a local skilled nursing facility and we also sent personnel to aid USNS Comfort for their effort in New York. Our Sailors answered the call and showed our country and the world the capability of our combined Navy Medicine and Military Sealift Command team in providing aid during this pandemic.”
Mercy is scheduled to return to Naval Station San Diego, where the ship and members of its embarked MTF will remain ready for future tasking.