By Savannah Brehmer, Region I, External Affairs
Bruce Brodoff, Region I, Private Sector, remembers being aboard the ship while it was docked in Manhattan in 2001 while he was working for the Giuliani administration.
FEMA employees wave goodbye to the USNS Comfort as she left Manhattan October 1, 2001
The ship is currently dry docked in Boston for maintenance.
"During the first three weeks of the disaster a Navy Hospital Ship, the USNS Comfort, was docked next to the pier and offered meals, sleeping quarters, and clothing to any relief worker who needed a meal, some sleep, clean clothes, or a shower," said Brodoff.
“I spent one unforgettable night aboard the ship," said Brodoff. "The memories of walking up the gangplank past M-16 toting soldiers, checking in at the registration desk that was set up in one of the ship’s many operating/recovery areas, passing the ‘Burn Unit ICU’ on my way to my room, and grabbing breakfast in the mess hall while watching the latest news reports on the attack seared into my brain…”
“She was docked right outside our windows at Pier 90, our Disaster Field Office, not Joint Field Office," said Riendeau, Community Relations specialist . "So every day for the first few weeks, when we came to work, she’d be there. She offered meals, laundry facilities, barber shop services and most appreciated massages.
“She gave us a real sense of emotional security in a very, very insecure situation," said Riendeau. “When the decision for her redeployment was made, we all stepped out on to the pier to watch her leave. The decks were lined with Naval personnel at parade rest, and over the loudspeaker was playing ‘Proud to be an American’ by Lee Greenwood. Sure brought tears to our eyes and no one moved ‘til she was out in the river and headed down the Hudson.”
During Operation Noble Eagle, the USNS Comfort provided:
- 500 mental health consultations to relief workers
- Medical attention to 561 guests for cuts, respiratory ailments, fractures and other minor injuries
- Hosting for a group of volunteer massage therapists who gave 1,359 therapeutic medical massages to ship guests.