27 February 1987

First Impresssions

It’s so big and so white! The red crosses alone dwarf the person standing next to them in the 3×5 glossy sent home to family and friends. We will all be a part of this crew. We will all live and work together there these next five months. Most of us don’t know anyone else aboard. The USNS MERCY commands everyone’s attention in downtown San Diego. It has upstaged and challenged any sight Broadway Pier has to offer. How proud we are when people stop to ask about it and we can say we are a part of her crew!

San Diego liberty—Bernies and all the nice restaurants to try. Shop, shop, shop—we will be at sea for three weeks before we can resupply. Every exchange is visited several times for those last minute items we just might not be able to live without!!

It’s just as big inside. A thousand-bed hospital with all new equipment, tied down and ready for sailing. Awesome!!! Everything is done from scratch—setting up wards, writing S.O.P.’s, and stocking supplies. We can already tell this will be an experience of a lifetime.

We load supplies until the hour before departure. There are final presentations on the pier to wish us well. Aboard the USNS MERCY, a very special presentation was made to Capt. Hosey, MSC, Ship’s Master; Capt. Sturtz, C.O. Medical Treatment Facility; and Capt. Glass, Department Head, Nursing Services; they received the last hospital flag flown over the hospital ship USS REPOSE. It was of particular significance to Capt. Glass who served on the REPOSE some 20 years earlier. There isn’t a dry eye in the crowd!