Marine Corps Assistant Commandant Tests Positive For COVID-19 - Task & Purpose

The Marine Corps' #2 officer just tested positive for COVID-19

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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. Thomas will transition into the billet of the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps and will serve as the second highest-ranking officer and the second-in-command to the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

The Marine Corps' second-highest-ranking officer has tested positive for COVID-19.

Gen. Gary L. Thomas, the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on Wednesday. Thomas, 58, had been in self-quarantine since Tuesday "out of an abundance of caution" after being notified he had recently been in contact with someone who later tested positive, a statement from the service said.

"The Marine Corps is following established policies for COVID, per CDC guidelines, to include quarantine and contact tracing," the statement said. "According to CDC guidelines, any Marine Corps personnel who were in close contact with the general will also quarantine."

The statement added that Thomas was experiencing "mild symptoms" but otherwise is "feeling well."

A native of Austin, Texas, Thomas has been the assistant commandant since Oct. 2018. Before that, the naval aviator oversaw the Corps' programs and resources. 

The positive test for Thomas comes one day after many of the U.S. military's top officers were forced into quarantine after a meeting with Adm. Charles Ray, the vice commandant of the Coast Guard, who tested positive for the virus on Tuesday.

Ray, who was in meetings at the Pentagon on Oct. 2, also attended a Sept. 27 event for Gold Star families at the White House, which has been scrambling to contain an outbreak of the virus that has infected more than a dozen people, including President Donald Trump.

Other top officers suddenly embracing telework include all members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with the exception of Gen. David Berger, the Marine commandant.

"We are aware of General Thomas’ positive test for COVID-19," Pentagon spokesman Jonathon Hoffman said. "At this time we have no additional senior leader positive test results to report. We will continue to follow CDC guidance for self-quarantining and contact tracing."