Disaster Relief: Lessons Learned

Alfred F. Shwayhat*, Daryl B. Fick, Shane Jensen, Matthew D. Tadlock, Mark S. Johnson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations are the second most common United States (U.S.) Navy executed mission. The U.S. Navy’s support of HADR operations is dependent upon the capabilities of the ship(s) and intrinsic medical personnel experience that arrives at the scene of the humanitarian crisis. Subsequently, this has led to a historically wide spectrum of medical proficiency and effectiveness of the U.S. Navy’s HADR missions. The common denominator of this recognized medical variability response hinges upon planned humanitarian assistance missions versus spontaneous disaster relief missions. The following chapter will navigate the reader through the experiences and lessons learned for three different disaster relief missions, including the medical response of the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) to the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake, known as Operation Unified Response (OUR), and the responses of the USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) to Puerto Rico during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017 and to New York City during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExpeditionary Surgery at Sea
Subtitle of host publicationA Practical Approach
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783031218934
ISBN (Print)9783031218927
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Aircraft carrier
  • COVID-19
  • Developing countries
  • Disaster
  • Haiti
  • Hospital ship
  • Humanitarian mission
  • Hurricane Maria
  • Military personnel
  • Naval medicine
  • Relief work
  • Ships


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