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Meridian sailor supports beach assault

By Staff
Editor's note: The U.S. Navy's public relations division routinely sends information about Naval personnel to hometown newspapers all over the country. This is one of those reports.
Special to The Star
April 29, 2001
PENDLETON, Calif. U.S. Navy Hospitalman Shanika S. Phillips of Meridian recently took part in a 17-day exercise off the coast of Pendleton, Calif.
The biennial exercise, called "Kernel Blitz," is designed to enhance the training of sailors and Marines in a massive amphibious landing operation. The mock assault took place March 20-April 6.
Throughout the 17-day event, Phillips, the 21-year-old daughter of Michael Phillips and Joann Jennings of Meridian, contributed to the exercise as a hospital corpsman on board the San Diego-based hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19). Phillips assisted doctors with medical procedures.
During Kernel Blitz, Mercy personnel provided medical support to the participating ships of the U.S. 3rd Fleet that landed Marines of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade by means of helicopter, hovercraft and conventional landing craft. The landing force then practiced maneuvers while Mercy and other ships concentrated on providing follow-on support from the sea.
As one of only two Navy hospital ships, Mercy's primary mission is to provide rapid, flexible and mobile acute medical and surgical services to a variety of military personnel.
With a total patient capacity of 1,000 beds, Mercy is one of the 10 largest hospitals in the country. Designed as a trauma hospital, the Mercy has 12 operating rooms, four intensive care units, a burn center, a dental clinic, an optometry clinic and a pharmacy.
Amphibious landings are considered among the most complex of all Naval operations. During the exercise, Mercy treated 520 mock casualties flown in during the amphibious assault phase.

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