Members of the flight-deck team aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort work around the clock to ensure supplies and personnel make it to shore for each medical mission stop. Comfort is working with health and government partners in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean to provide care on the ship and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems, including those strained by an increase in cross-border migrants. (U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Morgan K. Nall)
[Kasey] Being an aircraft maintainer is an around-the-clock job. Sometimes, when conducting supply transfer missions, the helicopter will have maintenance issues. If it’s something we can fix quickly we will, otherwise, with a team of less than 10 people, and on strict time constraints, we have to shut down one aircraft and swap it out for the other, and launch it out as quickly as possible because we have people counting on us to be able to finish the mission and do their job.
[Jeffrey] As a flight deck team, on days I would go in a new country. We’re usually up around 4:00 a.m. to start transferring supplies to shore. We spend right around 14 hours most days in the sun, moderate heat in the environment. The thing that gets us through it is knowing that we’re the hidden success behind the Comfort’s mission.
[Phillip] Watching the helicopter come in is an amazing feeling. As the helicopter gets closer you feel the strength of the blades as it twists you around a little bit, so you have to stand firm. They send an adrenaline rush off this world. Above, be anywhere from four feet to 10 feet, but underneath feels like a foot. But once you get the hook on there and you see the helicopter leaving with the equipment to help others, it’s an amazing feeling because you know that you’re not just helping people around you, you’re helping people that you never met and you’re helping their lives to be better.