That’s how many patients were treated by U.S. military personnel aboard the USNS Comfort, a medical ship that recently finished an 11-country tour of Latin American and Caribbean nations.
George Ballance, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, said the Comfort’s mission was to focus on “real people with real needs” and “to improve the lives of thousands of men, women and children from these countries.”
The tour was part of Operation Continuing Promise, an ongoing U.S. military effort to provide humanitarian and medical services. It helps improve relations with partner-nation medical care teams and enhances trust and cooperation.
One example: A recent visit by Ukrainian surgeons to a U.S. Army medical facility in Germany resulted in genuine information-sharing between health professionals.
“We will bring back information and knowledge about the American integrated system,” said Ukrainian surgeon Mykola Moskvychov. “We personally saw how patients are managed. This is very useful. … It will be very helpful back in Ukraine.”
Just this February, U.S. military medical personnel and Honduran Ministry of Health counterparts engaged in a two-day exercise on medical readiness and preventive medicine that help underserved members of the community.
In addition to medical aid, the American military acts in times of crisis and tragedy. After an April 2015 earthquake devastated Nepal, the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines worked tirelessly to bring over 120 tons of relief supplies to the mountainous country.