Reschenthaler Leads Congressional Effort to Honor USNS Mercy, USNS Comfort COVID-19 Response

May 22, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14) joined with his colleagues Reps. Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Ken Calvert (CA-42), Paul Cook (CA-8), and Mike Garcia (CA-25) to introduce a resolution honoring the efforts of the men and women of the United States Naval Ship (USNS) Comfort, the USNS Mercy, and the United States Navy during the COVID-19 outbreaks.


“As a former Navy JAG, I am deeply proud of the brave men and women aboard the USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort who served our nation during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Congressman Guy Reschenthaler. “President Trump deployed these hospital ships to the front lines of the coronavirus response in New York and Los Angeles so the crews could provide high-quality health care to these heavily impacted communities. Our nation owes them a debt of gratitude for their selfless commitment to saving American lives.”


“The United States Navy heeded the call to action to protect and serve our country amid the COVID-19 crisis and those who have worked on the front lines deserve our utmost recognition and respect,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this Resolution to honor those who have been deployed to care for our communities and protect them, especially those who were called to service here in New York State, the epicenter of the pandemic.”


“In troubled times, the USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort are beacons of hope and salvation,” said Congressman Calvert. “The COVID-19 pandemic placed an immediate and uncertain strain on our health care system. When called upon for help, the active duty, reserve, and civilian personnel on the Mercy and Comfort prepared the ships to deploy ahead of schedule so they could quickly join the fight against COVID-19. We stand in awe and applaud the professionalism, care and compassion demonstrated by the crews on these ships. Our country is incredibly proud and grateful for the life-saving mission performed by the USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort.”

“As a veteran, I’m particularly proud of the personnel serving aboard the USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort who provided critical care to patients in New York and California,” said Congressman Cook.  “COVID-19 is an unprecedented challenge.  While we have made progress in combatting this health emergency, there remains much work to be done.  I’m confident we will overcome this pandemic thanks to the selfless devotion of those serving on the front lines including the brave men and women aboard the USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort.”


“As someone who has served on the frontlines during combat operations I want to salute the reserve and active duty personnel who served aboard USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort during the COVID crisis,” said Congressman Garcia. “Your dedication and sacrifices on the frontlines against this invisible threat represented a desperately needed lifeline to our beautiful nation as it navigated these unchartered waters. I am honored to be a cosponsor of this Resolution!”


The USNS Mercy arrived into the Port of Los Angeles on March 27, 2020, and her 800-plus crew treated a total of 77 patients and assisted with care at nearby medical facilities in the greater Los Angeles area. On May 15, 2020, the ship left Los Angeles for its homeport of Naval Station San Diego.


The USNS Comfort moored at Manhattan’s pier 90 in New York, New York, on March 30, 2020, and 1,200 personnel treated a total of 182 patients before returning to Naval Station Norfolk. The USNS Comfort previously deployed to New York City following the September 11th terrorist attacks for Operation Noble Eagle.


The primary mission of USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy is to provide afloat, mobile, and acute surgical medical facilities for the United States military that are flexible, capable, and uniquely adaptable to support expeditionary warfare. Their secondary mission is to provide full hospital services to support disaster relief and humanitarian operations worldwide.


In addition to thanking the sailors who answered the call of duty, the resolution expresses condolences to the family and friends of those who lost loved ones during the pandemic and commends health care workers and first responders who have sacrificed and provided care for those with COVID-19.