Capt. Corby Ropp, 48, died last Friday at Duke University Hospital, and Master-at-Arms 1st Class Allen Hillman, 47, died on Monday in a Boise, Idaho, hospital. Ropp is the seventh active-duty sailor to die from COVID-19 complications, while Hillman is the third reservist, according to the U.S. Naval Institute.
The service would not confirm the men's vaccination status due to privacy laws, but an unnamed Navy official told USNI News neither was vaccinated.
Ropp was an active-duty Navy doctor assigned to Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina as the department head of ophthalmology and refractive surgery, and he served in Texas, California, and Florida before his most recent post, according to the outlet.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our shipmate and ophthalmologist Capt. Ropp," said Capt. Reginald Ewing III, NMRTC Camp Lejeune's commanding officer, according to multiple outlets. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Capt. Ropp’s family, coworkers, and friends during this extremely difficult time."
Hillman enlisted in the Navy Reserve in 2003, after spending time in the Marines, and largely served in a recruiting capacity in Oregon and Idaho.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and shipmate MA1 Hillman. He was a big part of our community here in Boise. We will continue to support his family and shipmates during this difficult time," said Cmdr. Megan Fine, commanding officer of the Navy operational support center in Boise, multiple outlets reported.
The sailors' deaths come as coronavirus case rates are rising due to the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant. In response to the rising cases, the Department of Defense reinstated its mask mandate regardless of vaccination status in areas considered to be of "substantial" or "high" spread of the virus as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Original Author: Mike Brest
Original Location: Two Navy sailors die of COVID-19 complications