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Navy Loses 16th Sailor to COVID-19

Electronics Technician 1st Class William Edward Mathews died from COVID-19-related complications on Nov. 24. Photo courtesy of the US Navy

This story has been updated to include additional information about Electronics Technician First Class William Mathews and update the spelling of his name.

A member of the Navy Reserve died from COVID-19 on Nov. 24, the Navy announced Monday.

Electronics Technician First Class William Mathews, 47, of Lewisville, Texas, was assigned to Navy Reserve Center in Fort Worth, Texas, at the time of his death. He had been admitted to Lewisville Medical Hospital in Lewisville, Texas, on Nov. 6 and died from complications associated with the disease.

Mathews enlisted on Dec. 17, 2001, according to his Navy biography. Before joining the Navy Reserve Center in Texas, he was at the Naval Reserve Mobile Processing Site in Norfolk, Va.

Mathews was also stationed at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, from Aug. 31, 2020 until April 3, 2021. During his career, he was stationed at the Fleet Readiness Center West Detachment in Point Mugu, Calif., once from July 25, 2007 until Dec. 6, 2009 and once from March 6, 2003 until Feb. 20, 2007, during which he was with the Carrier Sea Operations Detachment.

It is unclear if Mathews was vaccinated at the time of his death. All members of the Navy Reserve have until Dec. 28 to become fully vaccinated, unless they have an exemption or a pending one, per Navy guidance.

Mathews is the fourth member of the Navy reserves to die from COVID-19, according to a USNI News tally of COVID-19 deaths. Builder 2nd Class Nathan Huff Bishop, 33, died last December, Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Abdigafar Salad Warsame, 52, died in January, and Master-at-Arms First Class Allen Hillman, 47, died on July 26.

There have been 12 active-duty sailors and one Marine who have also died from COVID-19, as of Nov. 29.

Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr., 41, died in April 2020 in Guam following the outbreak on aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71). Thacker was the first sailor to die from the disease.

In February, the sea service lost four sailors.

Navy boot camp instructor Chief Quartermaster Herbert Rojas, 59, died on Feb. 2 while quarantining at home. Information Systems Technician (Submarines) Second Class Petty Officer Cody Andrew-Godfredson Myers, 26, was assigned to the Blue Crew on Ohio-class submarine USS Tennessee (SSBN-734) when he died on Feb. 4 in the intensive care unit at University of Florida Health Shands Hospital.

Aviation Support Equipment Technician 1st Class Marcglenn Orcullo, 42, who served aboard USS Wasp (LHD-1), died on Feb. 12 at a Norfolk, Va., hospital. Chief Hull Technician Justin Huf, 39, died on Feb. 22 in the ICU Sentara Leigh Hospital in Norfolk. He was assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 4.

Senior Chief Fire Controlman Michael Wilson, 45, died at Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News, Va., on April 29. He was on a short-term assignment at Information Warfare Training Command in Virginia Beach.

Capt. Corby Ropp, 48, an active-duty Navy doctor, died in July at Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C.

Personnel Specialist First Class Debrielle Richardson, 29, died on Aug. 13 at a Jacksonville, Fla.-area hospital. On Aug. 14, Marine Corps Sgt. Edmar Ismael, 27, an electrician with Support Platoon, Engineer Support Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Wash. On the same day, Aviation Support Equipment Technician 2nd Class Robert McMahon, 41, died in the hospital of COVID-19 complications.

Gas Turbine System Technician (Mechanical) 1st Class Ryan Crosby, 39, died on Sept. 19, while assigned to the Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Atlantic. He died at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

Master-at-Arms Senior Chief Michael Haberstumpf, 42, died from complications of COVID-19 on Oct. 10 at the University of North Carolina Medical Center in Chapel Hill while assigned to the Joint Special Operations Intelligence Brigade at Fort Bragg.