4th US Service Member to Die of COVID-19 Was Army Reservist, Christian Pastor

Spc. Curtis Fort, from Roanoke, Virginia.
Spc. Curtis Fort, from Roanoke, Virginia. (Image: Legacy.com)

The Army has identified a reservist from Roanoke, Virginia, as the latest service member to die from COVID-19.

Spc. Curtis Lamar Fort, 61, died July 30 from complications related to the virus, according to Army Reserve spokesman Lt. Col. Simon Flake.

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According to data published by the Defense Department, Fort was the fourth service member and second Army reservist to die as a result of the pandemic.

Fort, a radio and communications security repairer, was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2-319th Cadet Summer Training Battalion, in Salem, Virginia. In civilian life, he was a pastor, having earned an undergraduate and master's degree from Richmond Virginia Seminary, according to his obituary.

He was the second Army Reserve member to die of COVID-19. Army Reserve Sgt. Simon Zamudio, 34, of Carpentersville, Illinois, died May 22.

The other two service members who succumbed to COVID-19 are Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Charles Thacker, 41, a sailor who served on the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, and Capt. Douglas Hickok, 57, a physician assistant with the New Jersey Army National Guard, who died in late March.

Fort's awards included an Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon, according to Flake.

He leaves behind a wife, Kathleen, and eight children, according to his obituary.

The Pentagon did not announce Fort's death. Instead, it was recorded as an update to a tally the DoD releases every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The Pentagon in March ordered installation commanders to stop releasing COVID-19 data for their bases in an effort to increase operational security.

As of Wednesday, a total of 29,415 service members have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the outbreak began. There have been 70 deaths, according to the Pentagon, including 44 civilian employees, 15 contractors and seven military dependents.

More than 500 service members have been hospitalized for the coronavirus, including 10 in the last two days alone as new hot spots emerge. While all the services have seen increases in the number of new cases this week, the Army experienced a surge since Monday, with 248.

A total of 9,945 soldiers, 3,595 Marines, 7,013 sailors, 4,684 airmen, and 3,887 Air and Army National Guardsmen have been diagnosed with the coronavirus since the first service member tested positive in late February.

Nonetheless, the Defense Department continues to have a case fatality rate significantly lower than the U.S. average, .17% versus 3.3%.

Across the U.S., there have been more than 4.7 million cases and 156,874 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, nearly 18.6 million cases and 701,544 deaths have been recorded.

-- Patricia Kime can be reached at Patricia.Kime@Monster.com. Follow her on Twitter @patriciakime.

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