About the author: USNS Mercy (T-AH-19), U.S. Navy hospital ship. Built as a San Clemente-class tanker, S.S. Worth in 1976. Renamed in July, 1984 and launched in July, 1985. Entered service in 1986, homeported in San Diego, CA.
About the diary: Chronicle of the Philippine Training Mission of the USNS Mercy in 1987.
….And when President Reagan offered to help and
support Philippine President Aquino in her effort to help her
country and provide medical care to indigents, little did we
know that we would be a part of that endeavor. It began (or so
we thought) as a “paper exercise’ on some Tuesday in August
1986. The Cadre crew officers were asked to ‘‘jot down”’ some
essentials that would be needed to supplement the AMAL of
the not yet commissioned hospital ship to prepare it for a
Humanitarian Training Mission (HTM). Then, after the newly
converted oil tanker was named in November 1986, the
rumblings became louder and more precise until finally, the
USNS MERCY received her orders—along with about 650
others—an HTM to the Republic of the Philippines. The
health, education and care of the people in the Philippines were
addressed and surveyed by advance medical teams and the most
impoverished areas were selected. The USNS MERCY set sail
from San Diego, California, on 27 February 1987.
The diary carries the caveat, “Opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Department of the Navy, the Navy Medical Command or any other governmental department or agency.”