From the Archives: Hospital ship Mercy christened 35 years ago in San Diego

This week 35 years ago mercy —The Navy’s first hospital ship since the Vietnam War — was blessed by publisher Helen K. Copley. National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. The garden of San Diego Bay on November 8, 1986.

In the spring of 2020, San Diego-based Mercy was deployed in Los Angeles to rescue the hospital in response to COVID-19.

San Diego Union, from Sunday, November 9, 1986:

Mercy is the largest floating medical vessel ever built

Pat Flynn, staff writer

The Navy’s hospital ship, the largest floating hospital ever built, was officially named Mercy yesterday in a large fanfare at the NASSCO Shipyard.

Former oil tankers have been National Steel and Shipbuilding Co in the last two years. It was remodeled at a cost of $ 200 million. The ship is 894 feet long and has 10 floors. There are 1,000 hospital beds and 12 operating rooms.

Helen K. Copley, publisher of the San Diego Union and Tribune, was an honorary guest and named the ship at a traditional champagne ceremony. Mayor Maureen O’Connor was a mother of honor.

Republican Senator Pete Wilson was the guest speaker.

“In the event of a crisis, other ships will rush to send weapons, equipment, and personnel to the theater of military operations,” Wilson said. “God forbids this ship from having to be tested in an hour of military crisis, but when that moment actually comes, she will pass the test. She is our soldier. , Provides medical care in the most distant areas where sailors, marines and airmen are required to endanger their lives in the name of freedom. “

Mercy is the first hospital ship in the US fleet since the retirement of the Sanctuary in the post-Vietnam War era in 1974.

The second tanker has undergone a similar modification at NASSCO’s yard in San Diego Bay and will be handed over to the Navy in the spring. It’s called comfort.

Lieutenant General Luis Seaton, the chief surgeon of the Navy, said in a brief pre-ceremony interview that mercy and comfort would provide the Navy with valuable resources that it lacked.

“It’s very important in that our country and the Navy work on the best care of our military personnel,” Seaton said. “Since the end of the Vietnam War, we have not had maritime (medical) capabilities.”

“To actually handle national and international requirements,” Seaton said, such a feature is needed.

“Like a fire engine,” Seaton said.

Seaton said the ship has two missions.

“Its main mission is to care for combat casualties,” he said. “The secondary mission is to help with natural disasters, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis …”

Mercy plans to carry out a four-month joint training cruise and goodwill mission to the Philippines from early March.

It takes about 3 weeks to arrive in the Philippines and 3 weeks to return home. For the rest of the time, ship medical personnel will provide medical, dental and optical care to Filipino residents.

In his speech to high-ranking military and civilian officials, NASSCO employees and their families, and a crowd of the general public, Wilson mentioned his well-meaning mission.

“This water hospital you created early next year will make her virgin voyage to the Philippines. The Philippines is one of the country’s oldest and strongest Pacific allies,” Wilson said. rice field. “Democracy has taken root in the Philippines in recent months, but the old illness has not yet been eradicated, and perhaps worst of all, the plague of the Communist rebellion threatens the Filipino people. ..

“The ship, which bears the name of mercy and brings mercy, has no choice but to help the Filipinos struggle to choose democracy wisely. General Douglas McArthur will return to these islands. Having kept my promise, I should speculate that there would have been more welcome visitors to their shores than this great ship. “

Mercy is the largest naval hospital on land and one of the largest hospitals in the world. Designed to be self-sustaining, it has a unique distillation system that supplies 150,000 gallons of freshwater per day. It has the largest galley in the Navy.

Ships are typically maintained in a “reduced operating condition” by a small crew of medical technicians who maintain medical equipment. You will be able to deploy within 5 days of receiving your order at sea.

Mercy’s maximum speed is 17.5 knots. It displaces 69,360 tonnes and is powered by a steam turbine that produces 24,500 shaft horsepower.

From the Archives: Hospital ship Mercy christened 35 years ago in San Diego Source link From the Archives: Hospital ship Mercy christened 35 years ago in San Diego

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