By Senior Airman Kasey Close, Continuing Promise 2011 Public Affairs
PUNTARENAS, Costa Rica (NNS) -- Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) arrived in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, July 28 for its eighth of nine mission stops during Continuing Promise 2011 (CP11).
CP11 personnel will have a few days of liberty before beginning 10 days of medical, dental, veterinary and engineering services in the country.
CP11 is a five-month humanitarian civic assistance mission to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility. Comfort will visit nine countries in the Caribbean and Central and South America, working hand-in-hand with a variety of partner nations, governmental, and non-governmental organizations to train in civil-military operations while providing medical, dental, and veterinary care, and engineering support services to the countries visited.
The ship's crew of military and civilian personnel have triaged more than 54,671 patients throughout the entire mission to date.
"We are looking to see 500 to 600 patients at a medical site and the cases are going to be similar to the ones we've seen in the previous countries," said Cmdr. Patrick Young, from Arlington, Texas. "It's going to be a good visit."
The CP11 veterinary team has provided immunizations, surgeries, vitamins and deworming medication to 7,758 animals at 92 different sites throughout the mission so far.
"I'm looking forward to sharing knowledge with the host nation with the subject matter expert exchanges and the knowledge we'll receive while working with them," said Army Sgt. Heather Robinson, a veterinary technician from Champaign, Ill.
In addition to medical, dental, and veterinary care, Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 28 and Marines from the 8th Engineering Battalion, Camp Lejuene, N.C., will conduct two civic engineering projects in Costa Rica.
"One of things that I look forward to after the job is done is interacting with kids from the school we just improved for them," said Equipment Operator 2nd Class James Owen. "I hope we finish the scope of the projects early and are able to do something else to help improve the schools. It's an experience that I'll never forget."
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.