Lewis County native serves on USNS Comfort to tackle COVID-19 pandemic

Local News

MANHATTAN, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The U.S. Navy Ship Comfort continues to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, and one of Upstate New York’s heroes is serving on the front lines.

Lewis County native, Ian Murphy, always knew he wanted to serve our country and join the United States Navy.

“I love the medical field. I love helping people. The whole reason I joined the military, the Navy as a Corpsman, was to help people,” said Ian Murphy, Hospital Corpsman on the USNS Comfort.

His passion to serve began right in his hometown where he served as a Lewis County EMT with the Search & Rescue team. That experience led Murphy to enlist right after graduating high school.

Fast forward not even two years after he took the oath of enlistment, Murphy is one of the 1,200 personnel working on the USNS Comfort.

“I knew when joining the medical field and joining the military field we’d be on the front lines of something at some point. However, this caught the country and the whole world off guard completely. So, I’m really happy to be a part of it. I’m really happy that I am doing my part, no matter how small that may be to fight this fight,” Murphy said.

His responsibility is to feed the patients and crew, a way to provide comfort and care to everyone aboard.

“Every morning when we get up, we start making breakfast for the patients and we do that for each meal. We go from ward to ward, ICU to ICU, and do the same thing to make sure all of the patients are getting the proper nutrition and the adequate diets that they need so that they can get better,” Murphy explained.

When times get tough, Murphy says he remembers his purpose, the reason why he’s fighting this battle.

It’s just seeing people smile. People’s smiles bring me a lot of joy. It makes feel good inside and that I’m helping my community, my country or wherever I can. We’re fighting this, we’re going to get through this, and everyone just needs to go about doing their part everyday so we can get rid of this.

Ian Murphy, Hospital Corpsman, USNS Comfort

Murphy, a true example of the Navy’s core values: honor, courage and commitment.

HMSN Murphy has wanted to serve in the Navy at an early age. I remember when he first came to the recruiting office. He was finishing his junior year and not yet a senior. He was seeking out options to serve alongside the Marines in the fleet Marine force as a medic. Prior to boot camp, he was a model future sailor. It was not uncommon to see him encouraging his fellow future sailors during Physical training. He even recruited fellow friends and classmates to enlist! It was rare to meet someone at his age so driven with a goal to serve their country. I’m so proud to see how each of my Sailors are doing out in the fleet. They are accomplished, and doing great things out there. It’s people like him that make my job as a Navy Counselor so rewarding.

Petty Officer Copp, Murphy’s Recruiter, Watertown U.S. Navy Recruiting Station

The USNS Comfort is one of the world’s largest Navy hospital ships with 1,000 beds. Throughout the pandemic, the ship has worked closely with the New York City’s Javits Center, which can house an additional 2,500 patients.

I know things are scary right now, but the Lewis County Search & Rescue and other Upstate New York providers are doing a wonderful job and I really appreciate all the hard work. I hope everyone in the medical field understands how big of a role they’re playing right now, and people who aren’t even in the healthcare field, that their constant support to what we’re doing is invaluable and we really appreciate it.

Ian Murphy

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