The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) completed MERCEX (Mercy Exercise) 02-15, Jan. 12.
The quarterly exercise is designed to train and integrate approximately 250 Sailors into the full-time crew of approximately 65 Navy personnel and 20 merchant mariners.
Merchant Marine Captain Thomas Giudice, the ship’s master, said these exercises are critical to keeping Mercy ready to deploy on short notice.
At any moment I could get a message tasking us to get underway for a mission. From the moment I get that message, I have five days to get the ship away from the pier and out to sea, fully operational. To make our training the most beneficial, it’s important we do this exercise underway.
During the weeklong MERCEX, the crew tested shipboard equipment and practiced medical drills in order to make sure their Sailors and merchant mariners were ready to operate the ship and the military treatment facility (MTF) should the order come to deploy.
During this MERCEX, the ship integrated and trained its critical core crew, made up of Navy hospital corpsmen, aviation boatswain’s mates, ship’s servicemen, logistic specialists, machinist’s mates and doctors and nurses with various medical specialties.
Upon completion of MERCEX, the ship is to enter regularly scheduled maintenance period.
Press release, Image: US Navy