Senator Mikulski Takes On Navy Over Fate Of USNS Comfort

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It was Mikulski vs. the Navy on Capitol Hill, in a tug of war over the hospital ship Comfort and whether it would stay in Baltimore or move to Virginia.

Alex DeMetrick has the details of the exchange.

It was a friendly enough exchange of heart versus the bottom line.

When news broke the Navy hospital ship Comfort was being moved from Baltimore to Norfolk, civilian contractors who have been supporting the ship for the past 25 years were pinning their hopes on Maryland’s senior senator.

“Maybe Barbara Mikulski will pull a rabbit out of her hat and the Comfort will stay around for a couple of years,” said Steve Cieslak, Harris Fire Protection.

And on Capitol Hill, Mikulski tried working magic on the Secretary of the Navy.

“If you were in Baltimore when we heard the Comfort was going to leave us, we’ve had the same feeling as when the Colts left us,” Mikulski said. “I’m not joking. We love the Comfort.”

But it’s finance, not affection, that moves the Navy.

“We will save in excess of two million dollars a year to move the Comfort,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

In rent it won’t have to pay for a pier in Baltimore, in cost savings of being close to naval supplies and the doctors and nurses who staff the ship in times of war and disaster.

“The bulk of our medical staff actually comes from Portsmouth Navy Hospital, which is in Virginia, probably about 20 miles from where the ship will be stationed,” said U.S. Navy Captain David Weiss.

So Mikulski pitched hurricanes and Baltimore’s protected port vs. getting out of the way in Norfolk.

“You’re in a hurricane. The Comfort’s out at sea, riding it out. What would you have to do to get ready to deploy?” Mikulski asked.

“I’d have to get back to you on that and see what it would be,” said U.S. Navy Admiral Jonathan Greenert.

“I’d like you to look at that impact and see if it affects your judgment so we get to keep the Comfort,” Mikulski replied.

If the hurricane strategy doesn’t work, Mikulski asked the Navy to consider sending another to Baltimore.

Right now, the Comfort is set to leave Baltimore one year from now.

More from Alex DeMetrick

    how stupid is Babs..

  • smart

    sounds like good financial decision…$2 million savings …Babs, how about getting rid of the illegal parasites next..I don’t want to pay for their schooling and health care

    • wllharrington

      She can’t get rid of the illegals they vote for her and she’s a Democrat why is she complaining about the military saving money. She voted with the President to cut the military budget this is being two-faced but what do you expect.

  • hahaha

    OK Who woke her up this early in the year?

  • POB realist

    Good to see the Navy is trying to save money. Mrs Mikulski how many times has the Navy sent their ships to sea from Norfolk to avoid a hurricane in the past 10-15 years . Do not overlook the 10-11 times Comfort has been deployed from Baltimore took about 1 day to get to sea and return back to Baltimore. From Norfolk to sea and back to port takes about 4 hours. Please ask the Navy how much they would have saved in fuel and Bay pilotage from Norfolk versus Baltimore during those 10-11 deployments. Hate to see the ship leave and respect the loss to the port vendors, but one cannot argue the feasibility of the repositioning of a Naval vessel to a Naval hub port like Norfolk. In these times of massive government spending and debt glad to see some financial prudence for a change.

    • George M Hopkins


  • Sheeple

    Who is Barbara Mikulski? She must be new to the Maryland area. Someone should tell her Marylands previous government representitives didn’t pay much attention to things like budgeting or restrictive regulations that inhibit prosperity. I hope she can bring in a “Fresh breath of air” into the state of Maryland.


    She’s a Taxaholic just like the MD Gov. She believes in spending more money to have a reason to raise taxes. She won’t be happy until we all are employees of the state and are all living on welfare! Maryland’s answer to the current times is since there are less people working we must tax more to those that are !

  • 1-0-3-0- WITHERSPOON

    they built high rises were beth steel and dry dock on key highway, jobs lost in the billions$$$$ NOW YOU WANT ONE HOSPITAL SHIP TO STAY ,,YEAH BAB’S A DAY LATE A BUCK SHORT

  • RogerC

    Who has been capitalizing from the two million dollar fleecing of the Navy for the last 25 years????

  • BiteMe

    why wont they allow my comments what ever happened to our first amendment

    • peter o neil

      For the same reaso that WJZ13 deletes my posts the pricks. It’s their way or no way.

  • BiteMe

    you can’t fix stupid can ya

  • MJH

    The Comfort was being looked at for decomision. What the Navy should do is fill it full with convicted murderers and rapest take it out to sea and use it for a target. Give the new grads from Annapolis something to shoot at before going to the Middle East. Win Win everywhere You get an artificial reef the fish get feed and no one has to pay for the broken down ship.

  • chetta-ketta

    That fat fuc is bigger than the Comfort ship.

  • lee

    The FBI and DEA fabricate evidence, steal from suspects and use murder to close those bad cases.
    There is evidence that employees from DoD, CIA and DOJ accepted bribes from Al Quida.
    How is it that 12 of the 9/11 terrorists could live for 2 weeks just 2 miles from NSA head quarters in Maryland.This after several of them had taken flight simulator lessons on Jumbo jet trainers and several of them where on State department terror watch lists.
    There is evidence that employees from DoD, CIA and DOJ accepted bribes from Al Quida.
    If DoJ and DoD employees where more concerned with doing their jobs than enriching themselves by stealing from suspects and taking bribes, then there might have been more a chance that 9/11 had never happened.

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