In March 2007, President George W. Bush declared that the United States would send U.S. Navy ships on four-month deployments to help local communities in Latin America. Entitled Continuing Promise, the annual deployments would ensure the forward defense of the United States, encourage regional partnerships, and enhance regional stability and security. Using primarily medical activities in the initial deployment, the short port visits set up medical and dental clinics, where over 120,000 patients were seen. U.S. Navy Seabees have also provided numerous construction projects since the beginning of these annual visits. Some of the U.S. Navy ships used for the initial annual visits were USNS Comfort (T-AH-20), USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) and USS Kearsarge (LHD-3).