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Hawaii Air National Guard airman is the 11th service member to die from coronavirus

By CAITLIN M. KENNEY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 20, 2020

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WASHINGTON — A member of the Hawaii Air National Guard is the 11th service member to die from the coronavirus, just days after an Army reservist in Florida also died from the illness, according to the Hawaii Defense Department.

The Guard member was a 52-year-old airman who died Sunday after testing positive for the virus earlier in the week, according to a Hawaii state news release posted Tuesday. The Pentagon reported their death Friday in their updated coronavirus case chart.

The individual was a part-time reservist assigned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam and the airman’s death is the first among the Hawaii National Guard, according to the release.

“Sadly, the Hawai’i National Guard lost a member of our ‘ohana and our heartfelt condolences and thoughts of Aloha are with the family and friends during this very difficult time,” Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, the Hawaii adjutant general, said in the statement.

The airman was not on an official status when he or she died and the Hawaii National Guard is deferring to the family to release the name and information about the individual’s service, according to Jeff Hickam, a spokesman for the Hawaii Defense Department.

This is the third service member to die in November due to the coronavirus. August was the last time that there were three military deaths reported by the Pentagon.

The Guardsman’s death comes three days after Sgt. 1st Class Calvin Ogletree III, 45, an Army reservist from Lakeland, Fla., died Nov. 12 due to complications from the virus. Since the pandemic began several months ago, six Army Reserve members have died, as well as three National Guard members and an active-duty sailor from the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

The Pentagon also reported Friday that the military has surpassed 73,000 coronavirus cases. About 813 service members have been hospitalized and 45,324 have recovered, according to their online case chart.

Cases and deaths from the coronavirus in the United States have been surging in recent weeks. In the last week, the country has been averaging more than 160,000 new cases a day, The New York Times reported. As of Friday, the United States has had 11.7 million cases and more than 253,000 deaths.

kenney.caitlin@stripes.com
Twitter: @caitlinmkenney