FORT BLISS, TEXAS - During the weekend of Nov. 6, 2020, approximately 60 military medical providers arrived in El Paso, Texas, to respond to an increase COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. These service members including physicians, nurses, medical technicians and pharmacy technicians from across the nation, are commanded by U.S. Northern Command through U.S. Army North.
“It’s stressful. I’m not going to lie,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Ramil Labiran, a registered nurse with Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. “Its high intensity, but this is what I signed up for. It’s very rewarding when you’re able to help people in their time of need.”
Labiran is part of a three-provider team working within University Medical Center, a hospital impacted by the COVID-19 surge in El Paso’s. Their work area is a segment of the emergency department converted to accommodate the worst of the worst cases within the hospital.
During his shift, he works closely with U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. LaShauna Brown, a medical technician and noncommissioned officer in charge of the pediatric intensive care unit of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. They are making use of the 37 years of military service between themselves to adjust to a rapidly changing environment.
“I really love my job,” said Brown, who celebrated 17 years of service this week. “Being able to help people makes it all worthwhile for me.”
She and her co-workers don personal protective equipment with calm diligence as they travel from patient room to patient room, helping both Department of Defense and civilian medical personnel with whatever needs doing, even as they are adjusting under fire to a new work space.
“I’m just humbled to be here, you get to meet other people, work with other people, see how they do things, and you learn from them,” said Labiran, continuing that he is proud to serve anywhere he is needed, whether across the state or the country.
As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses across the country, U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, remains committed to, when requested, providing flexible Department of Defense support to FEMA in support of the whole-of-America COVID-19 response.