Female Soldier, 38, Is 3rd Active-Duty Service Member to Die of COVID-19

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The U.S. flag sits atop a case containing remains on March 31, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jamarius Fortson)
The U.S. flag sits atop a case containing remains on March 31, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jamarius Fortson)

An Army soldier has become the third active-duty U.S. service member to die from COVID-19.

Sgt. 1st Class Lisa Maria Soto, 38, an instructor with Alpha Company, 244th Quartermaster Battalion, at Fort Lee, Virginia, died Jan. 2 at a hospital in Hopewell, Virginia, not far from the base.

A 20-year veteran, Soto completed two combat deployments -- to Iraq in 2005 and Afghanistan in 2011 -- and spent time as an armorer with the 95th Police Battalion in Mannheim, Germany, in the early 2000s.

Additional duty stations included Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and Fort Drum, New York, according to Fort Lee Deputy Public Affairs Officer Jefferson Wolfe.

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Soto's death is the first of a U.S. service member from the coronavirus in nearly a month. Staff Sgt. Setariki Korovakaturaga, 43, died Dec. 9, in Baumholder, Germany, as he was headed to a hospital.

Soto is the only known female service member to die of COVID. The U.S. military has identified nearly all personnel who have succumbed to the disease, but several National Guard members, including one each from California, Texas and Hawaii, have not been identified.

To date, 111,581 military personnel have contracted the coronavirus. Nearly 960 are currently hospitalized, and 15 have died.

In addition, 61,496 people affiliated with the Defense Department have contracted COVID, including civilians, contractors and family members; 182 have died.

The Army has been the hardest hit among the services, with 39,330 cases. The Navy has the second highest number of cases, with 23,570. The Air Force has 20,457; the Marine Corps, 13,661; and the National Guard, 13,791.

Soto's awards included three Army Commendation Medals, five Army Achievement Medals and six Army Good Combat Medals, as well as the Combat Action Badge.

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

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