• The service member was identified as Army Capt. Douglas Linn Hickok
  • He was a physician assistant and a New Jersey National Guardsman
  • As of Monday, over 600 U.S. military personnel were infected with the virus

The U.S. military announced Monday that a service member from New Jersey died from COVID-19 after being hospitalized for 10 days.

With this, the Army National Guardsman becomes the first service member to die from the novel coronavirus.

In a statement, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said, "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.”

"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 news of this loss strengthens our resolve to work ever more closely with our interagency partners to stop the spread of COVID-19,” the statement added.

A few hours later, Gen. Joseph Lengyel, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, took to Twitter to share the news and identified the service member as Army Capt. Douglas Linn Hickok.

"I am deeply saddened by the COVID-19-related death of Army Capt. Douglas Linn Hickok, a physician assistant & New Jersey National Guardsman. All of us in the National Guard are grateful for his service to our nation, as a Citizen & as a Soldier," he tweeted.

"Our thoughts are with his family & friends. All of us are likely to know people directly affected by this virus in the coming weeks. As our nation fights its greatest challenge in recent memory, we're all going to need to draw on our inner strength & resilience to win this war & comfort those in pain. We must bring our best selves every day to overcome this as fast as possible for our great country,” he said. 

Phil Murphy, the Governor of New Jersey, took to Twitter to offer condolences. "I’m heartbroken by the loss of @NJNationalGuard Captain Douglas Linn Hickok to coronavirus. He was a drilling guardsman and physician's assistant, originally from Jackson. Our thoughts are with his wife, children, and their family," he tweeted.

As of Monday morning, over 600 U.S. military personnel were infected with the virus. While 26 of them required hepatization, 34 recovered from the disease.

In a news release Monday, the Department of Defense said it has "adopted dramatic mitigation measures to protect service members, civilian employees, contractors and their families from Coronavirus."

"These include mandating social distancing, termination of certain work and training activities and providing testing and care for our community members,” the news release added.

coronavirus British mp Representational image of a woman wearing a mask to safeguard herself from the coronavirus. Photo: Tumisu - Pixabay