USNS Comfort to depart for New York City on Saturday; Trump coming to Norfolk


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — President Donald Trump announced in a press conference Thursday that the USNS Comfort hospital ship is expected to depart Virginia on Saturday to provide aid to New York.

The Comfort is expected to arrive in New York at Pier 90 on Monday. The President said he plans to travel to Norfolk to “kiss it goodbye” as it leaves.

On Friday, during an afternoon briefing, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam mentioned the President’s visit and the Comfort’s mission.

“As a Virginian and an Army veteran who served overseas treating wounded soldiers during the Gulf War, I know Virginians have always answered the call. We are home to the Pentagon, Quantico and Naval Station Norfolk, the home port for the U.S. Navy’s Atlantic Fleet. The Comfort will care for patients who need emergency surgeries, trauma care or other medical care, freeing up doctors at the hospitals in New York so that they can fight this virus,” said Northam. “The deployment of the Comfort is a sacrifice for the personnel and their families, but I know it is one they are ready to make. We are proud Virginia can help New York in any way.”

U.S. Navy Reserve Sailors arrived Wednesday on board the USNS Comfort to assist with underway preparations, to get the ship ready to head north to New York in response to coronavirus relief efforts.

More than 1,200 Navy Reserve sailors and volunteers boarded the ship, including medical personnel and other essential ratings to support the mission.

Once the ship arrives in New York, the Comfort will help relieve hospitals in the city during the pandemic.

“These doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, x-ray technicians, orderlies, and other medical staff will augment and support New York City’s medical community and conserve hospital capacity by treating some non-COVID-19 patients aboard the USNS COMFORT,” the White House released in a statement Thursday.

“The sheer strength of what the ship can do, from all the cat scans to full operating rooms and how fast it can be there to support different areas is awesome,” said Yeoman 1st Class Chad Williams. “This mission is important because it shows that we are not only doing humanitarian missions outside of the U.S. but that we support missions inside the country as well.”

In addition to the USNS Comfort, about 60 reserve sailors departed on board the San Diego-based USNS Mercy on Wednesday to head to Los Angeles in support of the coronavirus relief efforts.

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