Head of Special Operations Command Tests Positive for COVID-19

U.S. Army Gen. Richard D. Clarke, U.S. Special Operations Command
U.S. Army Gen. Richard D. Clarke, U.S. Special Operations Command commanding general, surveys an urban combat training complex at Melrose Air Force Range, N.M., September 9, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Maxwell Daigle)

The commander of Special Operations Command, Gen. Richard Clarke, has tested positive for COVID-19, his command announced Monday.

Clarke, who oversees the special operations forces of all the military branches, tested positive Sunday and is working remotely and isolating himself from others, Col. Curt Kellogg, a spokesman for the command, said the statement.

“He had very mild symptoms and is able to fully perform all his duties remotely,” Kellogg said.

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Clarke’s positive result makes him the latest top-ranking military official to get COVID-19 in recent months as senior Pentagon leadership has seen a deluge of cases.

Last week, the military announced that both Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and the Marine Corps commandant, Gen. David Berger, had tested positive for the disease. Early in January, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced he tested positive for COVID-19 and was experiencing mild symptoms while quarantining at home. Early in December, the top general in charge of the National Guard, Gen. Dan Hokanson, also tested positive for the virus.

In the case of Clarke, who is 61, the SOCOM statement noted that he has not “been in the physical presence of senior DoD civilian leadership or members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff this month.”

The Department of Defense said last week that there are currently no plans to change the restrictions on meetings and access at the Pentagon. Spokeswoman Sue Gough noted last week that senior civilian leaders recently published memos that “strongly encouraged continued maximum telework during the spread of the Omicron and Delta variants in the greater Washington, D.C metropolitan area.”

-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at konstantin.toropin@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.

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