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Comfort Arrives in Honduras, Begins Continuing Promise 2015 Mission Operations

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS150908-08

Release Date: 9/8/2015 10:19:00 AM

From USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) Public Affairs

TRUJILLO, Honduras (NNS) -- The Continuing Promise 2015 (CP-15) team, embarked aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), commenced the tenth mission stop in the towns of Trujillo, Puerto Castilla, and Corocito, Honduras, Aug. 29 in support of the humanitarian-civil assistance mission.

The CP-15 team began medical site operations at two sites, caring for more than 4,500 patients during the first three days at the Centro de Educacion Basica Dr. Jesus Aguilar Paz in Corocito and Escuela Guia Tecnica N. 16 Naciones Unidas in Trujillo.

The CP-15 team, local volunteers and Honduran medical staff are teaming up to provide care to patients for various services, including optometry, pediatric, general medicine and physical therapy at the two medical sites during Comfort's time in Honduras.

Additionally, during the first three days of surgical services provided aboard Comfort, 59 surgeries were completed, to include ophthalmology, general, plastic and orthopedic surgeries.

"In just the first day of operations, we experienced excellent collaboration with the Honduran Ministry of Health," said Capt. Christine Sears, commanding officer of the Medical Treatment Facility aboard Comfort. "Working together is what this mission is about - partnering with the host nation in an effort to establish and maintain open lines of communication and cooperation for future engagements in the region - such as disaster response or relief."

In addition to medical services being provided, Seabees assigned to Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 202 are working on projects at the Centro Basico 14 de Agosto Lugar Puerto Castilla School and the Jardin de Ninos Nuevo Amanecer Kindergarten in Trujillo. Projects at these sites range from installing doors and sinks to painting and building new walkways.

"It's an amazing experience to have the opportunity to work side-by-side with the Honduran engineers and builders at these schools," said Builder 2nd Class Brian Whelan, a native of Yonkers, New York, assigned to CBMU 202 Virginia Beach, Virginia. "We are giving children a safer, more comfortable place to learn."

In addition to the medical and engineering site operations, the CP-15 veterinary team alongside their NGO partner, World Vets, began collaborations on multiple Veterinarian Civic Action Programs (VETCAP) in the area with the Secretary of Agriculture and Farming. This collaboration will continue throughout the mission stop, in which the CP-15 veterinary team will work alongside local farm owners, farmers and livestock caretakers to administer vaccinations, discuss and demonstrate best practices and conduct equine and bovine workshops.

The CP-15 chaplains, religious program specialists and Morale, Welfare and Recreation department organized a soccer game, where the CP-15 team competed with members from the local Honduran police, military and fire departments. In addition to the scheduled sport competitions, community relations events will also take place to provide opportunities to interact with and provide donations to two local schools, a hospital in Trujillo and an orphanage. These opportunities and experiences will be a meaningful and tangible way to continue building partnerships and relationships with the citizens of the region.

To date, the CP-15 mission team has treated more than 97,000 patients, performed more than 1,000 surgeries and has completed dozens of engineering projects, SMEEs, and COMREL events.

Continuing Promise 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 the United States' continued support and commitment to Central and South America and the Caribbean.

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