USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) is one of two full-service military hospital ships belonging to the "Mercy-class" serving with the United States Navy (USN). The vessel was laid down as SS Worth (MA-299) on June 12th, 1979 - a San Clemente-class oil tanker - and launched on July 1st, 1975 in San Diego waters. On November 8th, 1986, she was taken into service by the USN and continues to operate in the hospital capacity, homeporting out of San Diego, California. When not called to formal action, she is assigned to Naval Medical Center San Diego.
Despite her military ties, USNS Mercy is a non-commissioned ship. Her sister is USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) detailed elsewhere on this site. Both ships are unarmed per the Geneva Convention but may carry defensive measures for self-survival.
The vessel displaces 65,552 tons and has an overall length of 894 feet with a beam measuring 106 feet - its running length dimension rivaled only by the large fleet of in-service American aircraft carriers - namely the Nimitz-class and Gerald R. Ford-class. Drive power is from 2 x Boiler units feeding twin General Electric turbines providing 24,500 horsepower used to drive 2 x Shafts under stern. The vessel can make headway at 17 knots.
USNA Mercy can support up to 1,214 military and 61 civilian personnel when pressed into wartime action - though a "Reduced Operating Status" (ROS) crew numbers 58 military and 12 civilian. Onboard facilities can support onshore-offshore actions by all services of the U.S. military including amphibious assaults and USNS Mercy can also take part in humanitarian actions when necessary. Specialists have access to life-saving equipment (radiology, pharmacy, optometry, blood bank, dental, laboratory) and supplies, providing the gamut of services from basic first aid to in-depth surgeries when needed. Up to 80 beds serve an intensive care ward while 20 more beds are offered for recovery. A total of 1,000 beds are available to the ship's medical crew.
In service since 1986, USNS Mercy has participated in major operations from 1987 onwards including Operation Desert Storm (1991), Typhoon Haiyan (2013), RIMPAC 2014, and - more recently - the international response to the COVID-19 virus outbreak. She has been called to deploy offshore of Seattle, Washington for the foreseeable future (March 2020).
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