Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Praises Comfort Efforts


Story Number: NNS100301-03Release Date: 3/1/2010 4:24:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Shannon Warner

USNS COMFORT, At Anchor (NNS) -- The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, visited USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) Feb. 26 to meet with Sailors there supporting Operation Unified Response in Haiti.

While aboard, Mullen applauded the joint crew of civilian mariners and Sailors whose efforts have already led to the successful treatment of more than 900 Haitians injured in the 7.0 earthquake that struck the Caribbean nation last month.

"You got down here in record time and made a huge difference," Mullen said.

During the visit, Mullen emphasized the need for shipmates to continue to look out for each other as much as they do for the patients under their care.

"I call it care for the caregiver," Mullen said. "I can only imagine what you've been through and seen and the decisions some of you had to make. Don't just wait for that to blow up on you. Make sure we're paying attention [to each other]. Make sure you work your way through what you've seen."

Mullen also inquired about the general morale of the crew and how their families were doing back home.

"I came down here to say a lot of things," said Mullen. "One of those things I want to do is say thank you. Thanks to your families who make this possible. We just couldn't do it without their support. They're proud of what you're doing."

The crew, in cooperation with 244 nongovernmental organization volunteers, provided acute medical care to some of the most severely injured earthquake victims with injuries ranging from gangrene and tetanus infections to orthopedic and crush injuries requiring surgery.

"It's hard for me to put into words the significance of what you've achieved," Mullen said. "It's known not just by those of us in the military and this country, it's known globally."

Many of the crew members on board were very excited about Mullen's visit, eager to hear what he had to say.

"It was a great morale booster," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Lesley Prasad, a Comfort surgical technician. "I think everybody who greeted him was really excited and pleased to see him here supporting us."

For more news from Operation Unified Response visit www.navy.mil/haiti.

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The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) conducts humanitarian assistance operations near Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Official U.S. Navy file photo.
February 1, 2010
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