MAYPORT, Fla. — The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) arrived in Mayport, Sept. 25 after completion of the humanitarian and civil assistance mission Continuing Promise 2015 (CP-15).
The brief stop allowed for a portion of CP-15 team to disembark before Comfort continues on to its homeport in Norfolk, Virginia.
Sailors assigned to Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Florida; Naval Health Clinic, Mayport; Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 40, Mayport; Soldiers from the Army 10th Mountain Division, Fort Polk, Louisiana; partner nation military personnel; Seabees from Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 202; Airmen from the Joint Communications Support Element (JCSE) and members from the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Project Hope departed the ship after they served in support of CP-15, providing critical care, security and oversight of the mission.
"CP-15 has been an incredible journey in which the entire team put forth a tremendous amount of hard work, coordination and perseverance to provide quality care and services to the people within the region," said Capt. Sam Hancock, CP-15 mission commander. "We have strengthened partnerships with each of the host nations as well as our colleagues, friends and citizens of Central America, South America and the Caribbean."
Upon their return to Mayport, prior to departing the ship, CP-15 members expressed their eager anticipation to greet their family members and reunite with friends and loved ones.
"It's great to be back, and I'm looking forward to seeing my mother, my wife and my children who have been so supportive to me on this mission," said Chief Hospital Corpsman Percy Davila, biomedical subject matter expert exchange coordinator for CP-15, assigned to Naval Hospital Jacksonville. "The work we did on this mission will leave a lasting impression in the countries we served; we made a difference through teamwork, partnership and dedication."
DESRON-40 staff members, who provided mission oversight for CP-15 by planning and coordinating operations at each mission stop, also expressed their sentiments before departing the ship. The team of more than 20 staff members directed logistical support, force protection, cargo movements, air operations, transportation of personnel, assets and synchronized communications, ensuring successful mission execution in each of the 11 countries visited.
"We are proud to say that this was a successful mission, one that fostered partnerships, collaboration and strengthened ties in Central, South America and the Caribbean," said Lt. j.g. William Drummond, who served as an assistant site officer-in-charge at medical sites ashore. "DESRON-40 staff members provided a critical link in the CP-15 mission, one that tied the MTF, MSC, and numerous additional organizations together, allowing medical professionals, engineers, NGOs and all participating personnel to accomplish the mission objectives."
During the one-day stop in Mayport, Comfort will welcome friends and family members of the crew aboard the ship for a Tiger Cruise. Guests will take part in a variety of activities during the transit to Comfort's homeport in Norfolk.
"Bringing our friends and family members aboard is one way we can say 'thank you' to them for supporting us during the mission," said Lt. Cmdr. Joshua Kersting. "It also provides an opportunity to experience life underway on a Navy vessel."
Two representatives from Fleet and Family Support Center will also join the Comfort crew during the transit home to offer various classes, aimed at assisting service members in reintegration to their life at home. Classes being offered include new parents of infants, the art of money management, returning to children, car buying strategies and more.
During the deployment the joint-military and civilian crew, consisting of partner nation members, U.S. service members from the Navy, Army and Air Force, along with more than 400 volunteers from multiple non-governmental organizations, conducted mission operations in Belize, Guatemala, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, Colombia, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Haiti. CP-15 personnel treated more than 122,000 patients, performed over 1,200 surgeries, completed more than 90 engineering projects, cared for and treated over 7,000 animals and conducted 44 community relations projects with more than 100 band performances at various events.
Throughout the mission, CP-15 has successfully supported the U.S. Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet Theater Campaign Plan, enhancing regional stability and security while demonstrating U.S. commitment and support to Central America, South America and the Caribbean. The cooperation and partnership of joint service military, civilian mariners, NGOs, host nation military and partner nation participants has been instrumental to creating the lasting impact on each of the countries that the CP-15 mission visited.
For more news from Continuing Promise, visit www.navy.mil/local/cp/.