November 8, 2018 – Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) was presented with the United Seamen’s Service Admiral of the Ocean Sea (AOTOS) Special Recognition plaque during a ceremony at the Metropolitan Ballroom of the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in New York City, Nov. 2
Mercy was recognized for its Pacific Partnership humanitarian deployment to Southeast Asia earlier this year.
“We are proud to recognize once again The USNS Mercy, one of the U.S. Navy hospital ships that served as the centerpiece for the 13th annual Pacific Partnership 2018, making port calls in five Asian countries while partnering with 8,000 host nation personnel to conduct 546 medical events,” said Rear Adm. Dee Mewbourne, Commander, Military Sealift Command.
The AOTOS awards recognize mariners of vessels who, during the previous year, exhibited exceptional bravery, superb seamanship and devotion to duty while engaged operations at sea. This year’s V.I.P. attendees included Mewbourne and Mark Buzby, United States Maritime Administrator and former MSC commander. Capt. Brian Mershon, Mercy’s civil service master was also in attendance, accepting the honor for the ship.
“The Pacific Partnership missions are all about being and working as a team. As the ship’s master, I represent the MSC crew. Our job is to simply operate and maintain the vessel,” explained Mershon. “We get the ship to the areas that need us, but to me, the real heros on these missions are the doctors, nurses, dentists, hospital corpsman, Seabees that work the civil engineering projects, the Non-Governmental Organizations like Project Smile, and all of the U.S. and foreign military planners that work for months planning these important missions.”
Mercy is currently on station in San Diego, Calif. in a reduced operating status, training and planning for its next mission.