5-year old Teeshell was one of the 12,000+ of patients treated during the COMFORT's visit to Antigua and Barbuda as part of Continuing Promise '09.

5-year old Teeshell was one of the 12,000+ patients treated in Antigua and Barbuda during the COMFORT's visit.

COMFORT departed St. John’s Antigua today for some well deserved liberty. Some highlights of their 5 May to 16 May 2009 visit include:

40,000+ patient encounters with 12,000+ patients (approximately 15 percent of the entire population of Antigua and Barbuda.

5000+ eye exams

3500+ dental exams/cleanings/extractions

1000+ veterinary visits

113 pieces of medical equipment repaired at local hospitals

8,913 prescriptions filled

Numerous outstanding performances by the Air Force South Band

The extensive remodeling of the women’s barracaks at a local hospital.

My friends, this was just a sampling of the good work done by the many angels onboard COMFORT.

Antigua and Barbuda was the third nation on COMFORT’s 7-country CONTINUING PROMISE ’09 deployment.

Posted by Jim Dolbow in Soft Power

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  • Excellent work!

    for all the emphasis placed on Navy capabilities to wage war…..these are the types of missions that should receive more.

  • Fouled Anchor

    Bravo Zulu to the crew of COMFORT! And Jim, thanks for documenting this and providing updates.

  • RickWilmes

    How much did the medical care cost?

    Who paid for the care? The patients, the government of Antigua and Barbados or the U.S. taxpayer?

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “these are the types of missions that should receive more.”

    Absolutely not. Important, but entirely secondary.

  • Astonishing work from the crew who did their part to help or nation. I had the privilege of going on board and meeting some servicemen and women. Truly a humanist movement! We have posted numerous updates and pictures on our website.

  • dont know and really dont care about the cost of the medical care. I do know it is decimal dust in comparison to the 700+ billion dollar bailout of the banks.

    Winning the hearts and minds of the people of Antigua and Barbuda is priceless

  • URR, secondary to what? what else are we supposed to do with a hospital ship? Big Navy need to embrace these type of medical diplomacy missions. I am confident the USN can still multi-task and provide considerable combat power for its war time missions while providing humanitarian care to those less fortunate.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    Campbell’s comment was regarding less emphasis on warfighting. If it is humanitarian at the expense of warfighting, then the capability should be secondary. I have commented here before making HUMS missions a core competence and the risk that entails if it takes away from warfighting.

    Big Navy does embrace those missions, perhaps a bit too much when they identify them as a core mission. And as the fleet dwindles in size and ability to project power and influence, not all share your confidence.

    And a hospital ship’s role is to treat combat wounded from US and allied forces that are evacuated from the combat zone. Again, missions such as the one you are on, while important to theater engagement and the NSS, are secondary to that.

  • RickWilmes

    Jim, what type of presence/threat does Al Qaeda have on these islands?

  • Byron

    None…for now, because the people of these islands know that America is a friend, and willing to assist them. That’s called “winning their hearts and minds BEFORE we turn their country into a war zone because we waited until AFTER Al-Queda (or others of their sort) turned them against the United States”

    Makes sense to me.

  • @ Byron

    Well said.

  • RickWilmes

    None, zero point zero. How much time and money are the people who benefitted from this care willing to give to the welfare and mental health of the service members and their (F)amilies who are carrying the burden in figthing the ‘War on Terror”?

    Maybe the islands of Antigua and Barbadu will provide free lodging and food so that our service members may enjoy some R and R or a much needed vacation?

    Meanwhile, back in the world where the wealth that used to be created to pay for this, Nike announces that 1750 people will be laid off.

  • Byron

    Hey, Rick, when you’re the wealthies nation in the world, even when times are a little tough, you still gotta give back.

    Oh…get a life.

  • RickWilmes

    Give what back to whom and why?

    I need more than just numbers of patient visits and operations performed before I can decide if this is a worth while form of “diplomacy.”

    What was the cost?


    And who paid for it?

    The defenders of ‘medical diplomacy’ should show us the numbers behind the cost? Not knowing or not caring is unacceptable as far as I am concerned?

  • URR thanks for the clarification. Byron and Campbell thanks for commenting while I was enroute back to the states and without comms.

  • Byron

    My pleasure, sir.

  • Kent Bertsch

    I just want to say thank you to all the service men and women that serve on the USNS Comfort. We were in Antigua on a cruise ship last week on May 14th when we sailed right by the Comfort going into dock. We didn’t know until we talked with some of the crew on shore what they were doing there. We saw the hundreds of people standing in line in the hot sun waiting for medical treatment. Here we were there soley for OUR comfort and our military were there sacrificing thier time helping others. It was very humbling to say the least to watch them and to hear them talk of their mission. We witnessed a very touching act of kindness by one of our nurses. We were in a coffee shop on the dock where some of the military people gathered to have coffee and wait for a boat to take them back to the ship when one of the nurses noticed an elderly woman sitting outside in obvious pain with sores all over her legs. She put her lunch down and went over to put her arm around her and asked if she could help her. I don’t know how long she was there because we had to leave but the kindness and generosity this nurse showed to this woman was absolutely amazing. To those who do not think we should be doing this they should be ashamed of themselves. We are the richest nation on earth and it is the least we could do to help others who are not as blessed and fortunate as us. I just thought this needed to be said. People need to know what good our military is doing. Thank you again to all who serve on the USNS Comfort!