ReboundDoing What’s Right


Central Texas military captain deployed to NYC to fight COVID-19

Posted at 10:59 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 23:59:44-04

She left her family behind and is risking he own life to save others. A U.S. Air Force Captain based in Central Texas was called up to fight COVID-19 in one of the hardest hit states, New York.

Captain Ashley Hughes said she never imagined serving her country like this. She has served in the military for four years, but said this is a battle she wasn't prepared for.

"Fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, that is familiar to the military. This is not familiar. We have an unknown enemy that we are battling and we are learning everyday how to manage and defeat this enemy," Hughes said.

She worked as an RN for the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System for more than a decade. There, no positive COVID-19 cases have turned up.

But, having been deployed to New York for nearly a month, her new reality is spelling a different story.

"I'm in the ICU at Queens and every patient is COVID positive," Hughes said.

And the need for care is far greater.

"Right now the ratio in the ICU is about 1 to 2 or 3. I've had about 2 patients in ICU each day that I've worked," Hughes said.

But, she said the hardest part is loss.

"Getting attached to the patient and making that relationship," Hughes said. "It's just unfortunate that you make these bonds and one day they are there and the next day, they're not."

Working on the frontlines gave Hughes a new perspective to how deadly COVID19 can be.

"We do still see people out on streets, not wearing a mask, not social distancing. It's unfortunate that people don't get the first hand look and see the toll it takes on families that don't get to be with their loved ones at this time. There's no visitation," Hughes said.

But through all the hardship, she said there's no place she'd rather be.

"I'm very humbled and privileged to be out here. It's a historic time for our country and I'm proud to be serving on the frontlines to be able to help others in need," Hughes said.

As Texas begins to reopen, it's more important now than ever to continue taking care of each other.