Capt. Daniel Cobian, commodore of Destroyer Squadron 21, and key members of his staff embarked hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) in support of the nation's COVID-19 response efforts. The hospital ship arrived in Los Angeles March 27, 2020, bringing the first aboard March 29, 2020. The Mercy served as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals, which allowed those to focus their efforts on COVID-19 cases.
While on mission, 77 patients were provided care ranging from basic medical/surgical care to critical care, to trauma, as the ship served as a ‘relief valve’ for state and local healthcare providers. Additionally, the medical professionals on board conducted 36 surgeries, 77 X-ray exams, 26 CT scans and administered hundreds of ancillary studies ranging from routine labs to high-end x-rays and blood transfusion support.
One of the Department of Defense's missions is Defense Support of Civil Authorities. The DoD is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the lead federal agency, as well as state, local and public health authorities in helping protect the health and safety of the American people.
“After arriving on station, the personnel aboard Mercy were able to safely execute our mission in support of FEMA and in coordination with state and local authorities,” said mission commander, Capt. Dan Cobian, “In addition to supporting Los Angeles-area hospitals, we were able to expand our mission by providing support to a local skilled nursing facility and we also sent personnel to aid USNS Comfort for their effort in New York. Our Sailors answered the call and showed our country and the world the capability of our combined Navy Medicine and Military Sealift Command team in providing aid during this pandemic.”
At the direction of FEMA and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), approximately 60 personnel assigned to Mercy’s medical treatment facility will continue supporting state and local healthcare providers at skilled nursing facilities. The Navy, along with USNORTHCOM-directed forces, remains engaged throughout the nation in support of the broader COVID-19 response.
They spent nearly 50 days pier side at the Port of Los Angeles, and returned home May 14th, 2020.