One New York congressman will be changing his job from battling for coronavirus help in the halls of Congress to fighting the outbreak on the front lines with the National Guard.

Democratic Rep. Max Rose, a captain in the Army National Guard, was activated this week for relief efforts in New York City and will serve as an operations officer over the next few weeks. His mobilization will start Wednesday.

In a statement, Rose said his office would continue to conduct normal constituent services while he fulfills his military duty.

“Over the past month I have seen acts of incredible bravery and sacrifice by our first responders, nurses, doctors, and essential workers who never thought they’d be on the frontlines of a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rose, who served as an active-duty Army officer in Afghanistan from in 2012.

“My activation and deployment is nothing compared to what our city, state, and country has asked of all them. And it’s certainly nothing compared to the other men and women serving in uniform both here at home and overseas. I am just trying to do my duty and my small part.”

Rose said he will be stationed on Staten Island for his work.

Nearly 15,000 National Guard troops have been activated in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 140,000 Americans and killed more than 2,400. New York is one of the hardest hit states, with more than 1,000 deaths.

Yesterday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced the death of New Jersey National Guard Army Capt. Douglas Linn Hickock, a physician assistant who became the first service member to die after testing positive for COVID-19.

Fifteen members of Congress serve in the Guard or reserves. Although their mobilization is unusual, it is not unprecedented. Last year, Illinois Republican Adam Kinzinger — a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard — was mobilized for several weeks in support of the military’s border security missions in southern U.S. states.

Rose’s office did not specify how long his mobilization may last.

“We’re going to beat this virus,” he said in a Twitter video message to constituents. “This is the greatest city in the history of the world, the greatest country in the history of the world. This is only going to make us stronger. The entire country is untied, and we’re going to get past this.”

Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.

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