South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Area Naval officer on humanitarian deployment


August 7, 2007

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Tracey L. Kunkel, daughter of Patricia and Harry Kunkel and her fellow shipmates are currently on a four-month humanitarian assistance deployment while assigned to the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort, homeported in Norfolk, Va.

After caring for nearly 25, 000 patients in Belize and Guatemala, Lt. Cmdr. Kunkel's unit arrived in Panama to continue the mission for the Partnership for the Americas. The purpose of this mission is to provide the people of Latin America and the Caribbean with primary care, dental care, optometry and other no-cost health care services.

Lt. Cmdr. Kunkel's unit is also scheduled to visit Columbia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana, Haiti, Nicaragua, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago.

USNS Comfort has a joint forces crew which includes personnel from the U.S. Armed Forces, Canadian Forces and Project HOPE. The primary mission of USNS Comfort is to provide a mobile, flexible, and rapidly responsive medical and surgical care in support of amphibious task forces, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force elements, forward deployed Navy elements of the fleet and fleet activities located in areas where hostilities may be imminent.

Lt. Cmdr. Kunkel is a 1983 graduate of South Hills High School and joined the Navy in August 1987. She is a 1987 graduate of Chatham College with a BS degree


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