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Comfort Returns To Baltimore

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The U.S. Navy Hospital Ship Comfort Returns to the Baltimore Harbor after a stint in Haiti.
Sabri Ben-Achour
The U.S. Navy Hospital Ship Comfort Returns to the Baltimore Harbor after a stint in Haiti.

By Sabri Ben-Achour

The U.S. Navy's Hospital Ship Comfort has returned from it's relief mission in Haiti and is now docked in Baltimore. The crew received a warm welcome from friends and family.

As the immense 894 foot ship silently glides into harbor, the giant red crosses painted on it's side dwarf the crew members standing on the flight deck.

From the dock, Terrence Harris strains to see the tiny silouhette of his mother.

"You see her leaning up there? Yeah she up there!" says Harris.

Harris is here with his aunt and cousin. They're all waving to his mom--finally, Mom waves back.

After a crane hoists a giant unloading ramp up to the side of the ship, the crew begins to pour out, Navy-issued duffle bags in hand. Commander Marc Merino was in charge of nursing on the ship.

"It's great to be back, it always is, but you know, [I'm] physically and emotionally tired," he says.

His wife Patty Bennett greets him with a long hug.

"It's fabulous, you feel like your life's just on hold till you get back together," she says. "He's back so now our lives can start up again."

The Comfort's medical crew treated 871 earthquake victims, --people with the most complex and serious injuries in Haiti.

The crew performed 843 surgeries on limbs so shattered some medics had only read about such things in textbooks.

The Comfort isn't scheduled for any more relief operations this year. Its crew will dwindle from 1,200 to just a few dozen. But the ship will remain on standby, ready to go if it's needed again.


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