Georgia-based sailor is 20th US military coronavirus death
By CAITLIN M. KENNEY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 4, 2021
WASHINGTON — A sailor based in Georgia died Thursday from the coronavirus, the Navy announced, a day after the Pentagon reported two service members with the National Guard had also recently died from the disease.
The sailor was assigned to the USS Tennessee, a ballistic-missile submarine based in Kings Bay, Ga., according to a statement from Submarine Forces. The sailor was admitted to the hospital at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday and then transferred Sunday to the intensive care unit at the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville where the individual tested positive. The sailor died in ICU from complications related to the virus.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, shipmates and friends of the sailor during this extremely difficult time,” according to the service statement.
The sailor’s name is being withheld until 24 hours after next-of-kin notification is complete.
The sailor is the 20th military coronavirus death since the pandemic began last year and the second active-duty sailor to die from the disease. Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr., 41, was a sailor assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier when he died April 13 at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Guam.
On Wednesday, the Pentagon reported in its online case chart that two other service members had recently died due to complications related to the coronavirus.
Master Sgt. Darryl Lovell, 58, a member of the Alabama Air National Guard, died Jan. 28 of coronavirus-related causes, Maj. Jacqueline Whitt, a spokeswoman for the Alabama National Guard, wrote Thursday in an email. He was assigned to the 117th Logistics Readiness Squadron, where he worked as a material management craftsman and was not on a duty status when he died, Whitt said.
Lovell served in the military for 40 years, first in the Navy as a submariner and then in the Navy Reserve and the Alabama Army National Guard, according to his online obituary. He had served on multiple overseas deployments and at the time of his death was the base hazmat supervisor with the squadron.
The other service member who died recently from the virus was Sgt. Goran Dimovski, 40, a California Army National Guard member assigned to the 640th Aviation Support Battalion, 40th Combat Aviation Brigade based in Los Alamitos, Lt. Col. Jonathan Shiroma, a spokesman for the California National Guard, wrote Thursday in an email.
Dimovski was getting ready to deploy for an overseas mission this month with his unit when he became ill, Shiroma said. He died Jan. 31.
Dimovski is the second California National Guard member to die from the coronavirus after a 36-year-old staff sergeant with the 40th Combat Aviation Brigade died in August.
The National Guard has suffered the most deaths due to the coronavirus among the military services, with eight members dying since the pandemic started in March 2020. The Guard also has been on the front lines of confronting the pandemic as tens of thousands of Guard members have been activated to support state response efforts for the pandemic. As of Jan. 29, nearly 23,000 Guard members are supporting these efforts and more than 30 states and territories are using the Guard to help with the vaccination of civilians, according to the National Guard Bureau.
As of Wednesday, the military has had 143,272 coronavirus cases, 1,346 personnel hospitalized and 95,649 who have recovered, according to the Pentagon.
The Army has had 50,594 cases of the virus, the Air Force has had 25,944 cases, the Marine Corps has had 17,820, the Navy has had 30,005, and the National Guard has had 18,034, according to the Pentagon.
The United States has had more than 26.6 million cases of the coronavirus and 453,545 people in the country have died from the disease as of Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University.