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Navy Identifies Virginia Beach Sailor Who Died from COVID-19 Complications

Then Hull Maintenance Technician 1st Class Justin Huf takes the chief petty officer exam aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG-72) in 2017. US Navy Photo

The Navy has identified a sailor who died this week as a result of complications of the COVID-19 virus.

Chief Hull Technician Justin Huf, age 39 of California, died on Monday in the Sentara Leigh Hospital in Norfolk, Va.

“Huf began a restriction of movement on Feb. 16 after developing symptoms. [He] tested positive for COVD-19 on Feb. 19,” read a statement from Expeditionary Strike Group 2.
“Huf was in the ICU at the time of his death. Sailors who were in contact with Huf have been notified and are taking the appropriate precautions.”

He was assigned to Assault Craft Unit 4 Shore Detachment based in Virginia Beach in 2018, according to his official Navy bio. He was promoted to chief petty officer in March.

Prior to his Virginia Beach assignment, Huf served for four years aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG-72), three years at the Naval Academy and three years at ACU 5 in Camp Pendleton, Calif. Huf enlisted in 2003 and his first assignment was four years aboard USS Emory S. Land (AS-39) Maintenance/Support Company in Guam.

Huf is the fifth active-duty sailor who has died from COVID-19 – the fourth in the last month.

Aviation Support Equipment Technician 1st Class Marcglenn L. Orcullo, 42, part of the crew of USS Wasp (LHD-1), died in a Norfolk, Va., hospital on Feb. 12 from complications associated with COVID-19.

Navy boot camp instructor Chief Quartermaster Herbert Rojas, 50, died from COVID-19 on Feb. 2 while quarantining at his home. Two days later, Information Systems Technician (Submarines) Second Class Petty Officer Cody Andrew-Godfredson Myers, 26, died from the disease in the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital’s intensive care unit. Myers was part of USS Tennessee’s (SSBN-734) Blue Crew.

Following the outbreak last year on aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr., 41, died in Guam in April.

Two reservists have also died from COVID-19. In January, Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Abdigafar Salad Warsame, 52, died from the disease. Builder 2nd Class Nathan Huff Bishop, 33, died in December. Warsame had been assigned to Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Columbus Ohio, while Bishop was assigned to NOSC Akron, Ohio.

As of a Feb. 24 update from the service, 53 Navy civilians, one dependent and 24 Navy contractors have died from COVID-19. The service has reported 54,950 cases in total and 32,638 have been military personnel.

The following is the complete Feb. 24, 2021 statement from Expeditionary Strike Group 2.

On Feb. 22 Chief Hull Technician Justin Huf, age 39 of California, a U.S. Navy Sailor assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 4 based at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Va, died of COVID-related complications.

Huf began a restriction of movement on Feb. 16 after developing symptoms, tested positive for COVD-19 on Feb. 19, and was admitted to Sentara Leigh Hospital in Norfolk on Feb. 20. Huf was in the ICU at the time of his death. Sailors who were in contact with Huf have been notified and are taking the appropriate precautions.

Our deepest condolences are with the family, friends and shipmates of Chief Petty Officer Huf during this extremely difficult time, and we ask that their privacy be respected.

ACU 4 crewmembers are supported by chaplains, embedded mental health specialists, and counselors.

Categories: Budget Industry, Military Personnel, News & Analysis, Surface Forces, U.S. Navy
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.