First Coronavirus American Military Casualty
Hickok, a father of four, was a drilling guardsman in Medical Command and a civilian physician assistant, the NJ National Guard Tweeted.
“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,” said Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in a press release. “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 Department of Defense adopted a dramatic mitigation plan to protect service members, beginning in January. Measures included mandating social distancing, termination of certain work and training activities and providing testing and care for community members.
But now more than 13,380 National Guard members support President Trump’s whole-of-America COVID-19 response. Governors across the country also continue to request emergency funds and more military and National Guard support.
Front Line Defenders
“Our Guard members are on the front lines of this pandemic, fighting an invisible and dangerous enemy,” said Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, in a statement. “Every American has a role in stopping this pandemic. By following CDC guidelines, you are directly serving your neighbors and our nation.”
The Guard currently conducts a multitude of missions across the country, in what has been deemed a historic response. Members bring protective equipment to first responders and hospital staff. Meanwhile, others support testing facilities and call centers. Meanwhile, more Guardsmen support missions disinfecting public spaces, providing transport, or delivering food.
Inexplicably, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio recently claimed the National Guard wasn’t the military. Now, right in his back yard, that so-called non-military just suffered its first casualty. The National Guard is quite literally serving in every way imaginable. And it just lost one of its own, most likely the first of more to come in this ongoing fight against COVID-19.