TUMACO, Colombia (NNS) -- The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) arrived June 6 in Tumaco, Colombia to continue its "Partnership of the America's" mission called Continuing Promise 2009.
CP09, a four-month humanitarian and civic assistance mission, combines U.S. military and interagency personnel, nongovernmental organizations, civil service mariners, academic and partner nations to provide medical, dental, veterinary and engineering services afloat and ashore alongside host nation personnel.
This will be Comfort's fifth stop along its scheduled mission path. The CP09 team has already strengthened relations with citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Panama.
"We have made many new friends along the mission so far, and I am very much looking forward to making many more here in Colombia," said Navy Capt. Bob Lineberry, CP09 mission commander. "This provides for yet another opportunity to express our dedication and commitment to our neighbors in the U.S. 4th Fleet and U.S. Southern Command area of focus."
Comfort has 250 patient beds and more than 900 personnel embarked, employing five operating rooms, x-ray machines, CT scan, pharmacy, dental suites, physical therapy, veterinarian assistance and a variety of other services.
Comfort's crew will support two medical treatment sites in Tumaco, two engineering sites and various other sites employing the skills of teams ranging from bio-medical to veterinarian.
"We look forward to working closely with the Colombian officials and medical professionals, to learn and share best practices as we bring the very best in medical and engineering services to Tumaco," Lineberry said.
"Together as a team we can face challenges and see to a more secure environment and prosperous future for the Americas."
CP09 provides an opportunity not only to provide humanitarian assistance but also to learn from host nation partners and train a diverse team of experts who are able to respond to a regional crisis.
To date, medical personnel aboard Comfort have triaged more than 43,000 patients and performed more than 700 surgeries. The ship is scheduled to be in Colombia through mid-June before continuing her mission to El Salvador and Nicaragua.
For more news from USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), visit www.navy.mil/local/tah20/.