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Massachusetts lawmaker shipping off to California for active duty

Rep. Patrick Kearney is going off to active duty next week. Photo courtesy Patrick Kearney (TNS)

State Rep. Patrick Kearney, D-Scituate, will be on active duty starting next week to serve on the hospital ship USNS Mercy docked in San Diego, California. He will be on duty for a few weeks but cannot say whether he will be in California or deployed, or what work he’ll be doing, as the information is considered sensitive.

The nearly 900-foot long ship carries no offensive weapons as its primary mission is to provide rapid and mobile acute medical and surgical services to various forces that are deployed ashore. With 11 operating suites and a 1,000-bed capacity, the ship also provides mobile hospital services to federal agencies for disaster or humanitarian relief.

“Having the opportunity to serve my community as a state representative, but also my country as an officer in the navy is something that I consider an honor and a privilege,” said Kearney, a Scituate Democrat.

Kearney became a member of the U.S. Navy Reserves after graduating from the Massachusetts Marine Maritime Academy in 2017. He later directly commissioned as a member of the Strategic Sealift Officer program, which provides emergency crewing and shore-side logistical support to the military’s sealift fleets. This will be the third time Kearney has been called to active duty. He previously served in Virginia for post-mission indoctrination and on the SS Petersburg, a reserve tanker in California.

“Massachusetts Maritime [Academy’s] education really provided me with a unique skill set to support the Navy sealift teams and every year I’ve had the pleasure of doing active duty,” he said. “I’ve always had a passion for the ocean… so it allows me to serve not only the community but also the country in a manner which I really enjoy.”

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Kearney’s office will remain open during his duty and his legislative aide, Katie Baxter, will be available to assist constituents.

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© 2020 The Patriot Ledger