FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's been nearly a month since Fort Bragg soldiers in the 44th Medical Brigade deployed to New York.
Soldiers are fighting against an invisible enemy as COVID-19 patients fight for their lives.
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The head nurse of the unit admits this mission is one he underestimated.
"The feeling of absolute urgency. Dire straits," said COL. Douglas Phillips with the 44th Medical Brigade. "That sort of movement toward getting everybody everything they need at that moment."
According to Phillips, the unit works 12 hour shifts inside a highly contaminated makeshift field hospital treating COVID-19 patients.
"Because of that everybody inside has to remain in personal protective gear that entire time," said Phillips.
He told ABC11 the hospital is fully operational with an ICU, pharmacy, labs, x-ray and even patient showers. He said the soldiers have also deployed out into the community offering relief to overwhelmed local hospitals and sick healthcare workers.
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"Now some folks who may have been sick have recovered and have returned back to work," said Phillips.
This weekend he will celebrate his 9th wedding anniversary with his wife from afar. He said the mission is worth it as he's witnessed tragedy of the death but also the triumph of recovery.
"It means that plans we're making are making a difference," said Phillips.
A look at how Fort Bragg soldiers are combating COVID-19 in NYC
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