PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A U.S. Naval commander who was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area is second-in-command on the hospital ship in New York City.
Commander Kerry Hudson grew up in Peters Township and is now the acting executive officer on the USNS Comfort.
Hudson said her Pittsburgh ties run deep.
“I have a younger sister, she is an ER nurse in Pittsburgh, so she’s on the front lines also. And then my mom still lives in Pittsburgh,” Hudson said. “But she’s ironically down in Norfolk helping my twin sister and my husband take care of all the family needs down in Norfolk while I’m deployed.”
Commander Hudson deployed last week with 1,000 crew members, all of them leaving behind their loved ones, destined for New York Harbor.
“Almost everyone on this ship somehow has an attachment to this city, whether they grew up here or they have family or friends here or somewhere in the state. But the vast majority of people on this ship somehow are connected to the city,” Hudson said.
The hospital is docked in Manhattan as New York City remains the center of the nation’s coronavirus pandemic.
The ship will now treat coronavirus patients after Pres. Donald Trump granted the governor’s waiver.
“We’re standing by to provide whatever the city of New York and government needs,” Hudson said.
Commander Hudson said on Monday that 40 patients are now on board and it doesn’t feel like a ship at all.
“We have bright white lights, just like a hospital setting: smells like, feels like, looks like a hospital, and I think that’s what the city of New York is starting to see,” Hudson said.