SAN DIEGO (CBSLA.com) — The Navy’s hospital ship will soon be on its way to the typhoon-ravaged Philippines, bringing medical supplies and doctors.
It will be several days before the USNS Mercy can leave San Diego, and at least two weeks before it will reach the Philippines, but U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Steve Curry says Mercy will bring with it a full spectrum of supplies and services, like a large blood bank.
“The hospital ship has a full spectrum of surgical medical services, including X-rays, CAT scans, dental, optometry; it has a lot of things,” Curry said.
Doctors and the corpsman assigned to the ship have been activated and the ship should arrive in the Philippines in December.
“Some of the medical crew could go set up a hospital staging area on the ground, but the hospital ship is equipped for helicopter lifts, so we can bring patients out to the ship,” Curry said.
The USNS Mercy is expected to join the George Washington Carrier strike group, which arrived in the Philippines Thursday to support “Operation Damayan,” the military’s humanitarian response to Typhoon Haiyan.
The Philippines and American Filipinos have had a historically long relationship with the Navy. The Navy trains regularly with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Navy itself is made up of a large number of Filipino-Americans.