Home Americas US hospital ship Mercy deploys to Los Angeles for COVID-19 response

US hospital ship Mercy deploys to Los Angeles for COVID-19 response

USNS Mercy
US Navy photo of USNS Mercy departing Naval Base San Diego

The first of two US Navy hospital ships, the USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), got underway from Naval Base San Diego on March 23 and is en route to Los Angeles where it will support COVID-19 response efforts.

Mercy departed Naval Base San Diego with over 800 Navy medical personnel and support staff with the afloat MTF, and over 70 civil service mariners.

The ship will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals, and will provid medical care to include general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults.

This will allow local health professionals to focus on treating COVID-19 patients and for shore-based hospitals to use their intensive care units and ventilators for those patients.

“This global crisis demands whole of government response, and we are ready to support,” said Capt. John Rotruck, Mercy’s military treatment facility (MTF) commanding officer. “Mercy brings a team of medical professionals, medical equipment, and supplies, all of which will act, in essence, as a ‘relief valve’ for local civilian hospitals in Los Angeles so that local health professionals can better focus on COVID-19 cases.”

Civil service mariners operate and navigate the ship, load and off-load mission cargo, assist with repairs to mission equipment and provide essential services to keep the MTF up and running.

Mercy’s military treatment facility is an embarked crew of medical personnel from the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery responsible for operating and maintaining one of the largest trauma facilities in the United States.

USNS Mercy’s primary mission is to provide an afloat, mobile, acute surgical medical facility to the US military. The secondary mission is to provide full hospital services to support US disaster relief and humanitarian operations worldwide.

Mercy is the first of two Mercy-class hospital ships. A converted San Clemente-class supertanker, Mercy was delivered to the Navy’s Military Sealift Command Nov. 8, 1986.