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Pacific Ocean - The hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) Medical Treatment Facility held a change of command ceremony while underway, July 20.

During the ceremony, Capt. Kevin Buckley was relieved as commanding officer of the medical treatment facility by Capt. Patrick Amersbach.

Capt. Buckley arrived aboard Comfort in June 2017, during his tenure, Buckley lead the Comfort in disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico after a devastating hurricane and several humanitarian and medical missions in Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

“As my time as [commanding officer] comes to a close, I’m humbled and honored to be a part of such an exceptional and professional team,” said Buckley. “I could not be more proud of the work that we have accomplished over three deployments where we helped over 45,000 patients.”

Amersbach comes to Comfort following his time as the executive officer of Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms, California, where he lead operations for the command and health care delivery to 24,000 beneficiaries located at various commands.

“From its first deployment in support of Operation Desert Storm to New York City after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to the multiple deployments in support of humanitarian missions across the globe, there is no doubt that the Comfort has a purpose,” said Amersbach. “We will continue to not only meet the mission goals set forth by higher authority, but we will do it in a way that will continue to bring honor to the United States Navy and our Nation.”

Comfort is currently deployed on a medical mission in South America and the Caribbean, marking the ships seventh deployment to the region since 2007. At each of the stop, the embarked medical teams will provide care aboard the Comfort and at two land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems strained partly by an increase in Venezuelan migrants.