By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Amy Kirk, Continuing Promise 2015 Public Affairs
NORFOLK (NNS) -- The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) departed Norfolk, Virginia, April 1 for a six-month deployment in support of Continuing Promise 2015 (CP-15).
CP-15 is a collaborative effort that affords the opportunity to work alongside partner nation and civilian experts, promoting the commitment and shared interests within the region of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
"Continuing Promise 2015 will enable us to strengthen ties in support of our enduring partnerships with the people of Central America, South America and the Caribbean - a partnership that will enhance our shared values, interests, and commitment to unity, security and stability within the region," said Capt. Sam Hancock, mission commander for CP-15.
CP-15 personnel will be working alongside partner nations and non-government organizations (NGOs) to conduct civil-military operations including humanitarian assistance, providing medical, dental and veterinary care as well as engineering support and subject matter expert exchanges (SMEEs) to foster goodwill and build enhanced partnership capabilities.
Comfort is scheduled to conduct mission stops in Belize, Colombia, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Panama.
"Some of the events that are currently planned include: medical sites established at host nation stadiums, hospitals and clinics; subject matter expert exchanges at various medical centers and aboard USNS Comfort; and engineering projects at schools and medical clinics." said Hancock.
Currently, personnel anticipate serving more than 130,000 patients and conducting more than 800 SMEEs that will cover medical, veterinary, engineering and environmental health topics; in addition to more than 20 engineering and building site projects that are scheduled to take place.
Building on relationships created in previous year's missions, CP-15 participants will work together to increase the capacities of countries and communities to provide for themselves.
This is the seventh CP mission conducted under the guidance of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S.4th Fleet (USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT). Comfort served as the hospital ship in 2007, 2009 and 2011.
Continuing Promise 2015 is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored and U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet -conducted deployment to conduct civil-military operations including humanitarian-civil assistance, subject matter expert exchanges, medical, dental, veterinary and engineering support and disaster response to partner nations and to show U.S. Support and commitment to Central and South America and the Caribbean.