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Shandrea Hickok told Fox News that her father, Capt. Douglas Linn Hickok, who was a drilling guardsman and physician’s assistant for the National Guard, was in “great health” before he tested positive for COVID-19.
He had recently passed the Army’s annual physical fitness test but had a history of lung cancer, his daughter said.
Hickok had received an MRI earlier in March to ensure he was still cancer-free. In the past, the dye from the scan had caused him to get a fever and when it happened again, her father was not initially worried, she said. But other symptoms developed rapidly and he checked into Lehigh Valley Hospital in the Poconos, in Pennsylvania, on March 21. He died a week later.
Hickock is the first U.S. service member to die from coronavirus.
Prior to getting infected with the virus, Hickok had attended a “pre-scheduled” National Guard training session on COVID-19 in Sea Girt, N.J. The family does not know how, where or when Hickok became infected.
“All of us in the National Guard are grateful for his service to our nation, as a Citizen and as a Soldier,” Gen. Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, said in a statement Tuesday.
“As our nation fights its greatest challenge in recent memory, we are all going to need to draw on our inner strength and resilience to win this war and comfort those in pain. We will prevail — and we each must bring our best selves to the task every day to overcome this as fast as possible for our great country.”
A third-generation military member, Hickok enlisted in the New Jersey National Guard medical unit in 2009, according to his obituary.
He then moved to Maryland to work as a civilian physician assistant at Andrews Air force Base.
“He was a patriot,” his daughter said.
In 2017, he moved to Pennsylvania and worked as an orthopedic physician assistant at a clinic.
Hickok held a Physician Assistant Medical degree with a specialty in orthopedic surgery from Cornell Medical School in New York City.
He was an avid baseball player and a “big fan of Fox News and was watching until the end,” his daughter said.
“Sean Hannity was his favorite,” she added. “He would text me the clips all day, he loved all of you.”
“Fair and accurate news media was important to him,” his obituary says. “Doug was loyal to his God, faith and country.”