US Marines, NYPD Join Forces to Protect USNS Comfort in New York Harbor

Cpl. Timothy Pennington, a rifleman with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Task Force New York, guides a vehicle while police officers with the Critical Response Command in the Counterterrorism Bureau of the New York City Police Department stand security for the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) in New York City, April 23, 2020. Comfort cares for trauma, emergency and urgent care patients without regard to their COVID-19 status. Comfort is working with the Javits New York Medical Station as an integrated system to relieve the New York City medical system, in support of U.S. Northern Command’s Defense Support of Civil Authorities as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Stormy Mendez)

The U.S. Marines have been working alongside the New York Police Department to protect the USNS Comfort and its patients during the outbreak of the Corona Virus.

The USNS Comfort originally arrived in New York Harbor to treat those who were sick, but without the virus, and then were called to provide care for those suffering from the Corona Virus. The Marines from Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Task Force New York stepped in to provide security, working in conjunction with New York’s Finest.

“The Navy is on ship doing the medical aspect, and the police force and Marines are providing security for the ship. So, all of us are working in conjunction with each other to provide different jobs, and it is helping things run more effectively,” said Marine Corps Cpl. Jose Palacios, a team leader with Lima Company.

The security for the Comfort include the Marines controlling and guarding vehicle access points while screening incoming and outgoing personnel. They provided screening for personnel to ensure appropriate security clearances and checking them for any symptoms of the Corona Virus.

The other part of the security force involved New York City police officers providing protection to the Marines, using armed guards and working dogs to sniff out potential explosive devices.

While docked in NYC, the Comfort was kept hidden from plain view and kept under wraps.

“We’re facing a complex problem, and not one of us, whether you are a heavy weapons sergeant with the NYPD, or you are a doctor, is going to solve this on our own,” said police Sgt. Matthew Woods, a heavy weapons sergeant with the Critical Response Command in the Counterterrorism Bureau of the NYPD. “We have to break the problem into smaller pieces, and each one of us is doing their small part. We have to do this as a team to try to alleviate the problem.”

As the Comfort prepares for departure, the NYPD and Marines of Lima Company continue working together to provide protection for the citizens of NYC.


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