Pence speaks in Miami as USNS Comfort heads to the Americas


NORFOLK, Va. (June 14, 2019) U.S. Navy Hospital Ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) gets underway from Naval Station Norfolk, June 14. Comfort got underway to begin its deployment to South America, Central America and the Caribbean in support of humanitarian and partner-building efforts. USNS Comfort’s return to the region reflects a common commitment to the respect of human rights and stable, secure, and prosperous democracies in the Americas. (U.S. Navy photo by Bill Mesta/Released)

MIAMI. Fla. (WAVY) – Vice President Mike Pence spent Tuesday morning in Miami with remarks and a send-off to the Norfolk-based hospital ship USNS Comfort.

The ship left Naval Station Norfolk last Friday ahead of a five-month mission to assist countries being affected by the Venezuela crisis. The ship’s crew will provide relief to medical systems strained by the crisis.

The goal of the mission is to help relieve pressure on medical systems in countries hosting thousands of Venezuelans who fled their country in search for a better way of life.  

Pence spoke amid cheers from the crowd, which included those working on the hospital ship. 

“The United States had taken action, we’ve positioned more than 500 metric tons of food and humanitarian supplies on the Venezuelan border to help address this crisis, we’ve provided nearly 260 million dollars in aid to nations who are supporting displaced Venezuelans,” said Vice President Pence. “In the coming months, the Comfort will make 14 points of calls in 13 partner nations providing medical care.”

The Comfort will visit several countries during its deployment, including Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada and Haiti.
Navy officials said the Comfort will carry a crew of up to 1,000 military doctors and nurses, plus a civilian crew that operates the ship.

“Karen and I just walked through the ship and we marveled at its facilities and what it will bring to the region,” said Pence. 

This will be the 7th deployment for the hospital since 2007. Vice President Mike Pence announced the mission last month.

The vice president calls this a mission of compassion for those who need help. “We are with you and will stay with you until your liberty is restored.”  

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