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U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia visits MSC hospital ship USNS Mercy

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WASHINGTON, (USTCNS) --- U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia B. Lynn Pascoe and Rear Adm. Kevin M. Quinn, USN, Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific, paid a visit to Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy April 15 as the ship operated off the coast of Nias Island, Indonesia. Mercy, one of two 1,000-bed hospital ships in the U.S. Navy, is currently providing medical aid and disaster relief to citizens of Nias, following the 8.7 magnitude earthquake that struck the island March 28.

Ambassador Pascoe and Adm. Quinn spent two hours aboard Mercy touring the ship’s medical facilities, speaking with the crew and visiting patients.

“You are truly angels of mercy,” said Adm. Quinn addressing the ship’s combined civilian mariner, U.S. Navy and NGO Project HOPE crew during an all-hands call on the ship’s mess deck.

“Coming to rescue people who had no hope of any type of medical care -- you have saved their lives and changed their lives forever.”

In his remarks to the crew, Ambassador Pascoe noted that when the earthquake in Nias occurred, “the same thing popped into everybody’s mind. What we need is the Mercy. What the people of Indonesia wanted was you guys back.”
Mercy deployed to Banda Aceh, Indonesia, Jan. 5 in response to the Dec. 26 tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people in nearly a dozen countries. After treating nearly 10,000 patients in 40 days in Banda Aceh, Mercy, en route to its home in San Diego, was conducting medical and dental aid missions in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific when the ship was again called upon to provide assistance to Indonesia.

“I’d like to say, on behalf of the embassy and from the hearts of the Indonesians,” said the ambassador, “thank you for coming back. Thank you for taking the time. We appreciate all the good work you’re doing here.”

After their visit to Mercy, Ambassador Pascoe and Adm. Quinn were escorted to view the damage ashore and to see Mercy’s on-the-ground medical operations by Capt. Tim McCully, the mission commander overseeing Mercy and her supply ships’ - MSC combat stores ships USNS Niagara Falls and USNS San Jose as well as MSC oiler USNS Tippecanoe - movements in the region.

Since Mercy’s arrival in Nias April 5, the ship’s medical staff has performed nearly 7,500 procedures on nearly 1,900 patients ashore and afloat and performed 64 surgeries aboard ship.

MSC, the sealift component of U.S. Transportation Command, operates more than 120 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, chart ocean bottoms, conduct undersea surveillance, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military equipment and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces.

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