Marine Corps Assistant Commandant Tests Positive for COVID

Lt. Gen. Gary L. Thomas, deputy commandant, speaks during his promotion ceremony at the Home of the Commandants, Marine Barracks Washington, Washington, D.C., Oct. 2, 2018. U.S. Marine Corps / Sgt. Hailey D. Clay

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Assistant Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, Gen. Gary Thomas, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus COVID-19, according to the Marine Corps.

Thomas, who tested positive Oct. 7, had been self-quarantining since Oct. 6, when he and several other senior military leaders were notified that Coast Guard Vice Commandant Adm. Charles Ray had tested positive for COVID-19 a day earlier. Ray had attended meetings with them at the Pentagon the previous week. Some of the meeting attendees were members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said, adding that “all potential  close contacts from these meetings are self-quarantining.”

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger, a member of the Joint Chiefs, was away and did not attend the Pentagon meetings. Thomas, as assistant commandant, was there in his place.

Thomas was the first meeting attendee besides Ray to test positive. “In accordance with established Marine Corps COVID policies, Thomas, 58, will continue to quarantine at home. He is experiencing mild symptoms, but otherwise is feeling well,” according to a Marine Corps statement.

The Coast Guard issues a similar statement saying Ray would quarantine from home and “any Coast Guard personnel that were in close contact will also quarantine.”

As of Oct. 7, the latest Defense Department figures available, there have been 47,658 cases of COVID-19 among all the armed services, including: 17,803 in the Army; 10,585 for the Navy; 7,407 among the Air Force; 5,942 for the Marine Corps and 5,596 among the National Guard. There have been just eight COVID-related deaths among all the services. There were 10,751 total cases among civilian Defense Department employees, including 60 who died from the disease.