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Note:  Tomorrow I may slip my post time a little; you’ll understand, I hope, tomorrow.  Mentioning hope, check out this link to learn about, among other things, an iron cow!!  Hope, SS Hope, was born of USS Consolation, AH-15.

Anyone know the US first hospital ship?   When did USNS Comfort last call in the sixth boro?  Answers follow below.

I used the photo below just over five years ago in a post about Red Cross ships;  tanker SS Rose City became USNS Comfort in 1985.  Study the photo and compare it to the current iteration.

I’m thrilled Mercy has been activated in the west and Comfort will arrrive here, but only a very short time ago there was serious consideration to mothball and maybe scrap at least one of these vessels. Also, as positive as they are, what they are not is panaceas. Mechanical, electrical, and other bugs need to be sorted out on the ships.  Crews need to resolve dynamics;  after all, even two months ago all those crews were happily working elsewhere, and as USNS ships, they have hybrid civilian/military crews.

And the US first hospital ship, establishing a “makeover” tradition, began life in Cape Girardeau, MO in 1859 as a Mississippi River steamer.  The Confederacy transformed it into a barracks, the US army captured it, and she was made into a hospital ship. I believe she carried the name Red Rover throughout all three lives.   Nursing staff on USS Red Rover were members of the Sisters of the Holy Cross.

Click here for a ketch used to evacuate wounded going back to 1803.  What were we involved with 217 years ago?

USNS Comfort made her last call in NYC was in September 2001, and I honestly didn’t recall that.  Does anyone have photos to share from that deployment?

Finally, I’ve mentioned it before, but back in 1980 SS Rose City had a young crewman named John Moynihan, who wrote a noteworthy account of his hitch aboard the vessel.  It’s a great book in itself;  his father was a senator from New York.

Long ago and faraway, I boarded this hospital ship on a tributary of the Congo River;  that it operated there at all is a scintilla of evidence that even a dictator can do good things by his subjected peoples.  I’m unable to learn the disposition of this ship, SS Mama Yemo, but a little researching did lead me to understand that it was developed by a US doctor, William Close, whom I’d love to learn more about.

SS Rose City photo thanks to William Lafferty;  sentiments and filtering of info by WVD, who thanks you for keeping your distance.

Hats off to the folks dredging USNS Comfort‘s berth even as we read.

And finally, a request . . .  if you get photos of her arrival tomorrow, consider sharing them with this blog.

 

 

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