As the USNS Comfort and Mercy medical staffs care for patients on the East and West coasts, they are using supplies and equipment procured by the various Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support supply chains to perform their mission.
The two Navy hospital ships, docked in New York City and Los Angeles, were deployed in March to relieve land-based hospitals overwhelmed by the COVID-19 epidemic. Each ship houses 1,000 hospital beds and can provide a broad spectrum of medical services.
While the ships prepared to deploy, DLA Troop Support received the call to assist in the procurement of supplies essential to their mission.
“Our workforce and supply chains are working diligently with our federal government partners to provide the necessary supplies and equipment for the fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence, DLA Troop Support Commander. “Providing the USNS Mercy and Comfort with essential pharmaceuticals, [personal protective equipment] and subsistence is one of the many ways we are contributing to the coronavirus relief efforts.”
As of April 7, DLA Troop support’s Medical supply chain provided the hospital ships with more than $2 million in pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, such as N95 masks, surgical gowns and hand sanitizer.
The Construction and Equipment supply chain supplied 4,800 goggles, and the Subsistence supply chain provided more than $1.3 million in fresh fruit and vegetables and other food products to keep the more than 1,600 medical staff and crew, and patients fed.
“Support to the USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy started in mid-March as the crews prepared to get underway,” said Patricia Scott, chief of DLA Troop Support’s Customer Operations Garrison Feeding Division. “Subsistence account managers and contract specialists worked closely to monitor orders and prepare the vendors who would be used to support these requirements. Orders are coming in each week for replenishment, and there have been no issues with deliveries.”
During a recent Department of Defense news briefing, the ships’ commanders said that DLA has been integral in assuring they are prepared to perform their duties.
“DLA is working diligently with us to ensure we have what we need,” said Navy Capt. Patrick Amersbach, USNS Comfort Military Treatment Facility commander.
Navy Capt. John Rotruck, USNS Mercy Medical Treatment Facility commander, said, “Our supply lines are always intact with the DoD, and the Navy in particular, so we’re getting supplies as we expect.”
USNS Comfort and Mercy are a part of a whole-of-government response to the COVID-19 pandemic led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, aided by the DOD, national, regional and local agencies.