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Navy hospital ship Mercy leaves San Diego on humanitarian mission

May 5, 2012 |  9:36 am


The Navy hospital ship Mercy has left San Diego for a four-month humanitarian mission to Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia.

The 894-foot ship, which left Thursday, will bring military personnel and civilian specialists for a variety of medical, dental, veterinary, engineering and civic assistance projects.

Because the Mercy is too large to dock pierside at any of the mission stops, it carries two helicopters and two 33-foot boats to transport patients, mission personnel and supplies between ship and shore.

The Mercy is manned by civil service mariners who work for the Military Sealift Command, which operates 110 noncombatant ships.

“I’ve spent my career moving ammunition or fuel,” said Casey Bell, the Mercy’s cargo mate. “Now, a better name for me is ‘patient mate.’”


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Photo: The hospital ship Mercy leaves San Diego. Credit: Spec. Eva Marie Ramsaran