VOL. 24 - NO. 2
JAN 13 - 20, 2019
PO BOX 13283
OAKLAND, CA 94661-0283

510.595.7777 FAX

Joint Forces Journal is published privately, and in no way is connected with DoD, the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard. This website and the printed newspaper are intended for the members of the Armed Forces and their families. Contents do not necessarily reflect official views of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard, and do not imply endorsements thereof. The marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other non-merit factor of the purchases, user or patron for advertisers prohibited. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher shall refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected. Editorial content is prepared and edited privately, and is provided by the Public Affairs Office of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard installations. Correspondence and material for publication should be addressed to: Editor, Joint Forces Journal, P.O. Box 13283, Oakland, CA, 94661-0283. Deadline for receiving articles and photos is 3 p.m. Monday for publication on Friday of that week. Joint Forces Journal editorial policy is to use bylines and photo credits where applicable and when submitted.

Navy Considers Scrapping a Hospital Ship in Cost-Cutting Move

Mar 30, 2018
by Scott Wyland
A hospital ship could become a casualty as the Navy seeks to free more money to spend on warships, submarines and aircraft.

The Navy proposes mothballing one of its two floating hospitals -- the USNS Mercy or the USNS Comfort -- to make budgetary room to expand its fighting capabilities.

These 1,000-bed ships have provided medical care during wars and disasters since they were converted from oilers in the late 1980s. Most recently, the Comfort went to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The Navy's proposed 2019 budget of $151.4 billion would be a $12.6 billion increase over the previous year and calls for adding 46 ships to the current 280 over the next five years. For 2019, the service looks to add two submarines, three destroyers and 24 F-18 Super Hornets.

But Navy leaders say the increased production still falls short of the pace needed to meet its long-term goal of a 355-ship fleet in 30 years.

Some lawmakers have questioned the Navy's plan to retire one of the hospital ships, saying they both are needed to treat mass casualties when no hospitals ashore are available.

"We have an obligation to our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, and also the civilians across this world," said Rep. Trent Kelly, R-Miss., at a recent congressional hearing. "There will come a time when we need that and we need to always be ready."

Air Force Gen. Darren McDew, head of U.S. Transportation Command, told lawmakers that tough decisions are required even with a budget increase.

Still, the loss of a hospital ship would be felt during a crisis, when hundreds of patients would have to be airlifted to a distant hospital, he said.

"I'm a big fan of hospital ships because I love the fact that we can help injured and ill service members," McDew said.

Losing a hospital ship would dramatically increase needs for large aircraft to transport patients, he added.

The Mercy has mostly operated in the Pacific, and the Comfort in the Atlantic and Persian Gulf. The Comfort assisted in the aftermath of Katrina, the Haitian earthquake and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Both have operating rooms, intensive care units, burn wards and radiology facilities, as well as general medical and dental services. They each carry up to 1,200 personnel and have landing decks for airlifting patients from shore.

* * * * *

Photo caption: Official U.S. Navy file photo of USNS Comfort (T-AH 20)


TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: Jazz Age comes alive in "Bullets Over Broadway The Musical"

TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: Bay Area Cabaret Announces “An Evening with Carmen Cusack & Susan Werner”

First Female Air Force F-35 Test Pilot Marks Mission Milestone

Rear Adm. Kelly Named as New Coast Guard Academy Superintendent

TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: Legendary Branford Marsalis Quartet Brings Expressive Jazz Style to the Bankhead Theater

Army Looking at AI-Controlled Weapons to Counter Enemy Fire

Army Asks Industry to Build Muzzle Brakes for New Long-Range Artillery

TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: Feinstein’s at the Nikko in S.F. Adds Performance Dates for Tony Award Winner Lena Hall and Broadway Giants Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp

After Years of Talks, Japan to Buy Island for US Carrier Landing Practice

Marine Corps Closely Watching Integrated Training Company at Parris Island