Thursday, March 29, 2018

Bringing Ham Radio to Hospital Ship "Mercy"

Nearly two dozen crew members of the hospital ship USNS Mercy have earned new or upgraded ham
USNS Mercy (US Navy photo)
licenses, as part of a humanitarian assistance exercise called "Pacific Partnership 2018," or "PP18." The misson's commander, Navy Captain David Bretz, WH6FIR, was among those who upgraded to General Class. The ARRL Letter reports that two hams - US Army civilian contractor Tim Millea, AJ7UU, and Military Affiliate Radio Service (MARS) volunteer Doug Smith, W7KF, boarded the ship in San Diego for a two-week trip to Hawaii. 

During that time, they held two or three training classes a day for interested crew members, who attended following their work shifts. Exams were given by a local volunteer examiner team when the ship docked in Hawaii. Captain Bretz said he plans to research the effectiveness of using amateur radio as part of the ship's ongoing humanitarian and disaster relief efforts.