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USNS Mercy (T-AH-19)

The third United States Navy ship to be named for the virtue of compassion was USNS Mercy (T-AH-19), built as an oil tanker, SS Worth, by National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, San Diego, California, in 1976. Starting in July 1984, she was renamed and converted to a hospital ship by the same company. Launched on 20 July 1985, USNS Mercy was commissioned on 8 November 1986. She has a raised forecastle, a transom stem, a bulbous bow, an extended deckhouse with a forward bridge, and a helicopter-landing deck with a flight control facility.

Mercys primary mission is to provide rapid, flexible, and mobile acute medical and surgical services to support Marine Corps Air/Ground Task Forces deployed ashore, Army and Air Force units deployed ashore, and naval amphibious task forces and battle forces afloat. Secondarily, she provides mobile surgical hospital service for use by appropriate US Government agencies in disaster or humanitarian relief or limited humanitarian care incident to these missions or peacetime military operations.

On 27 February 1987, Mercy began training and humanitarian cruise to the Philippines and the South Pacific. The staff included US Navy, US Army, and US Air Force active duty and reserve personnel; US Public Health[?] service; medical providers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines; and MSC civilian mariners. Over 62,000 outpatients and almost 1,000 inpatients were treated at seven Philippine and seven South Pacific ports. Mercy returned to Oakland, California, on 13 July 1987.

On 9 August 1990, Mercy was activated in support of Operation Desert Shield. Departing on 15 August, she arrived in the Arabian Gulf on 15 September. For the next six months, Mercy provided support to the multinational allied forces. She admitted 690 patients and performed almost 300 surgeries. After treating the 21 American and two Italian repatriated prisoners of war, she departed for home on 16 March 1991, arriving in Oakland, California, on 23 April.

USNS Mercy, homeported in San Diego, California, is normally in reduced operating status. Her crew remains a part of the staff of Naval Medical Center, San Diego, until ordered to sea, at which time they have five days to fully activate the ship to an Echelon III Medical Treatment Facility.

Mercys Web site is http://www.mercy.navy.mil/

General Characteristics

  • Length: 894 feet
  • Beam: 105.7 feet
  • Draft: 32.8 feet
  • Displacement: 69,360 tons
  • Speed: 17.5 knots
  • Complement: 77 MSC ship operating crew
  • Patient Capacity:
    • Intensive care wards: 80 beds
    • Recovery wards: 20 beds
    • Intermediate care wards: 280 beds
    • Light care wards: 120 beds
    • Limited care wards: 500 beds
    • Total Patient Capacity: 1000 beds
    • Operating Rooms: 12
  • Departments and Facilities:
    • Casualty reception
    • Radiological services
    • Main laboratory plus satellite lab
    • Central sterile receiving
    • Medical supply/pharmacy
    • Physical therapy and burn care
    • Dental services
    • Optometry/lens lab
    • Morgue
    • Laundry
    • Oxygen producing plants (two)

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