Fort Lee instructor is second active-duty soldier, 15th service member to die from coronavirus

Sgt. 1st Class Lisa Maria Soto, 38, died Saturday at John Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell, Va., according to a spokesman for U.S. Army Garrison Fort Lee.


By CAITLIN M. KENNEY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 6, 2021

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WASHINGTON — An active-duty soldier in Virginia is the 15th service member to die from the coronavirus, the Pentagon announced Wednesday, almost a month after another soldier in Germany died from the disease.

Sgt. 1st Class Lisa Maria Soto, 38, died Saturday at John Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell, Va., from complications related to the coronavirus, according to Jefferson Wolfe, a spokesman for U.S. Army Garrison Fort Lee.

Originally from Florence, S.C., Soto served in the Army for more than 20 years, most recently at Fort Lee as a training instructor with the Alpha Company of the 244th Quartermaster Battalion, Wolfe said. During her career, Soto had also been assigned to Mannheim, Germany, Fort Jackson, S.C., and Fort Drum, N.Y.

Soto deployed to Iraq from 2004 to 2005 and then Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012. Her military awards include the Army Commendation Medal (three awards), Army Achievement Medal (five awards), Army Good Conduct Medal (six awards), the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (two awards), and the Combat Action Badge.

Her death is the second active-duty Army death from the coronavirus. Army Sgt. Setariki Korovakaturaga, 43, died Dec. 9 on the way to the hospital in Germany. He had “previously tested positive for [the coronavirus] and was at home on quarantine when he began experiencing increased symptoms,” U.S. Army Europe and Africa said in a statement at the time. Korovakaturaga was assigned to the 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 2nd Theater Signal Brigade at Baumholder.

As of Wednesday, the Army has had 39,330 cases of the virus, the highest case numbers among the other military services. The military overall has had 111,581 cases, 959 personnel hospitalized, and 73,515 who have recovered, according to the Pentagon.

The Navy has had 23,570 cases of the coronavirus, the Air Force has had 20,457 cases, and the National Guard has surpassed the Marine Corps in cases 13,791 to 13,661, respectively, according to the Pentagon.

The United States has had more than 21 million cases of the coronavirus and 358,107 people in the country have died from the disease as of Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Twitter: @caitlinmkenney