Saturday, December 2, 2023

Trump in Norfolk: POTUS sends off USNS Comfort to NYC for coronavirus aid

President Donald Trump sends off USNS Comfort from Naval Station Norfolk to New York City Saturday, March 28, 2020. (WYDaily)
President Donald Trump sends off USNS Comfort from Naval Station Norfolk to New York City Saturday, March 28, 2020. (WYDaily)

President Donald Trump on Saturday gave Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) at Naval Station Norfolk a send-off to New York City.

Trump was joined by U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

This marks Trump’s first trip outside Washington since March 9 and only his second outside the gates of the White House since a March 19 trip to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The USNS Comfort, a 1,000-bed hospital ship, had been undergoing planned maintenance, but was rushed back into service to aid the city which is now the epicenter of the nation’s outbreak. It is scheduled to arrive Monday at a Manhattan pier a week after its sister ship, the USNS Mercy arrived in Los Angeles to preform similar duty on the West Coast.

Comfort will start treating non-coronavirus patients Tuesday. New York City has more than 75,000 positive cases of coronavirus.

Both vessels have a long record of accomplishment in humanitarian responses throughout the western hemisphere.

The president acknowledged that making the 140-mile trip to Naval Station Norfolk wasn’t necessary, but said he did it to recognize the work of sailors and medical professionals who worked to get the ship out of maintenance more than a week ahead of schedule.

“With the grace of God we will win this war and we will win gracefully with as little death as possible,” Trump said. “We will be prepared if, God forbid, anything like this even happens again.”

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The Comfort comes with 12 fully equipped operating rooms and up to 1,200 doctors, nurses and medical specialists.

The Navy said Comfort comes with an array of medical equipment and services, including digital radiology, medical and optometry labs, a pharmacy, a CAT scanner and two oxygen-producing plants.

John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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