Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Mission of Mercy

There are days I wish I had a digital camera. Today is one of them.

During my lunchtime constitutional, a hospital ship was steaming out through the Bay Bridge. Although I work in the maritime industry, I couldn't find any confirmation of who she is and where she’s headed. So I asked one of my co-workers, who I guessed might know of a hidden phone number or website.

“What a coincidence!” she exclaimed. “One of the guys in my carpool this morning happened to mention his brother is on that ship. I think it begins with an ‘M.’”

So, a little searching reveals the USNS Mercy, sister ship to the USNS Comfort. The Comfort, based in Baltimore, is heading to the Gulf. The Mercy was scheduled to head back to her homeport of San Diego, CA. It’s possible the Mercy will head to Gulf Coast but she has to sail down the west coast of Mexico and Central America, through the Panama Canal, then back up to the Gulf of Mexico. The Comfort has a much shorter journey. So far, I have read nothing in the press about the Navy sending both hospital ships (the only two they have) to the Gulf.

Picture courtesy of the USNS Mercy webpage