TAMPA, Fla. — Airmen reservists from MacDill Air Force base are helping to care for COVID-19 patients in New York City. The reservists are medical personnel for the 927th Air Refueling Wing. 

“It’s a little bit surreal,” said Lt. Joseph O’Brien of the 927th Aeromedical Staging Squadron. 

What You Need To Know

  • Team members stationed in 5 hospitals across NYC

  • Not clear when reservists will be able to return home

  • More coronavirus stories

Usually, the reservists assist other military units. This time, they are a major part of the mission.

For the last six weeks, they’ve been in New York City to help diagnose and care for patients.

“This has never really been done before,” said Colonel Jennifer Robyn Ratcliff of the 927th Aerospace Medicine Squadron. 

When they first arrived, the emergency rooms were packed with COVID-19 patients. Since the reservists have been in New York, they’ve seen the number of COVID-19 cases go down. 

“The COVID cases have not gone down just because the military is here,” said O’Brien. “It hasn’t gone down because New Yorkers are strong and they are. It’s because I think the number of cases have gone down because we are Americans and that’s what we do. We triumph in the face of adversity.”

The reservists are stationed at five hospitals across New York City.

It’s unclear when they will return home.

To hear more about the reservists' experience on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19, watch the video above. 

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