U.S. Navy Identifies First Active-Duty COVID-19 Victim

CPO Charles Thacker (USN file image)

Published Apr 17, 2020 2:48 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S. Navy has identified its first COVID-19 fatality, a senior enlisted crewmember from the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. 

Aviation Ordnanceman Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr., 41, died from COVID-19 on April 13 at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam. Thacker tested positive for COVID-19 on March 30, was removed from the ship and was placed in isolation on Naval Base Guam. On April 9, he was found unresponsive during a daily medical check and was transferred to Naval Base Guam via ambulance, where he was placed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). 

Thacker’s spouse, an active duty servicemember stationed in San Diego, was flown to Guam to be with him, and arrived on April 11. At the time of his passing, Thacker’s spouse was by his side.

Thacker was also the first active-duty servicemember from any military branch to pass away due to COVID-19 complications. 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time," said Capt. Carlos Sardiello, USS Roosevelt's new commanding officer. "Our number one priority continues to be the health and well-being of all members of the Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group and we remain steadfast in our resolve against the spread of this virus."

USS Roosevelt crewmembers who have tested positive for COVID-19 remain in isolation at locations on Naval Base Guam, where they receive daily medical supportive care. One individual remains in observation in intensive care with shortness of breath. As of Friday, tests have been administered to 94 percent of the crew, and 660 out of about 4,800 have tested positive - two-thirds of the Navy's total caseload service-wide. 

All medical care is being provided by medical personnel from USS Roosevelt, U.S. Naval Hospital Guam, and elements of the U.S. Marine Corps 3rd Medical Battalion. For additional support, the crew have access to a civilian resiliency counselor, a chaplain team and medical psychologist. The crew is also being supported by Joint Region Marianas and Naval Base Guam chaplains.

As requested by former commanding officer Capt. Brett Crozier, a large majority of the crew has been disembarked and transferred to shoreside housing so that the vessel can be disinfected. This sanitizing effort is nearing completion, according to the Navy.