A US Army National Guard soldier stands by as a traveler registers his travels at the Amtrack Station in Providence, Rhode Island on March 30, 2020, during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. (File photo: AFP)
Washington (People's Daily) - US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed on Monday the first US service member to die from coronavirus.
A member of the New Jersey National Guard died on Saturday after being hospitalized for over a week, becoming the first US service member to succumb to the coronavirus.
Capt. Douglas Linn Hickok was a drilling guardsman and physician’s assistants for the Guard. New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy said he was "heartbroken by the loss" of Hickok.
Hickok had been in the hospital since March 21 after testing positive for COVID-19, according to a statement by the Pentagon released Monday.
"Today is a sad day for the Department of Defense as we have lost our first American service member -- active, reserve or Guard -- to coronavirus," Esper said in the statement. "This is a stinging loss for our military community and our condolences go out to his family, friends, civilian co-workers and the entire National Guard community."
The death comes three days after an Army spouse at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia died from complications believed to be related to the coronavirus.
A DoD contractor based in Crystal City, Virginia had previously died on March 22 after testing positive for COVID-19.