Large military hospital ship docks at Port Miami before upcoming humanitarian mission

A big sendoff from South Florida as military officers and crew members onboard one of the U.S. Navy’s largest hospital ships made a stop in Miami before leaving on their next humanitarian mission.

The USNS Comfort docked at Port Miami Sunday morning to pick up supplies and additional aid.

Starting Sunday, the ship’s 1000 crew members, which include military personnel and civil service mariners, are embarking on Operation Continuing Promise, which will deliver aid and medical services to countries that are still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before departing port, Local 10 News got a chance to tour the large medical ship, which was originally designed to handle mass casualty incidents during times of war.

Among those on board are several sailors with ties to South Florida, including Petty Officer First Class Moises Rodriguez, who graduated from Barry University and has two brothers living in Broward County.

“This is my first time that I’ve actually done it, and I’m very excited about doing it,” said Rodriguez. “I think it’s really good what we’re doing, because this will tie the relationships that we have with all the countries to the south. And not only that, we’re always there to help the people in need.”

The head of U.S. Southern Command was also on hand Sunday to help see the vessel off.

In addition to 12 operating rooms, the ship also has four intensive care units and more than 1000 hospital beds.

It will be stationed in the Caribbean and Central America for the next 60 days before heading back to its homeport in Virginia.

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