A Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier who served as an operations officer at I Corps, in Washington state, has died of complications caused by the coronavirus, according to a press release and news reports.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Lt. Col. Scott Flanders’s family,” said Brig. Gen. William A. Ryan, special assistant to the deputy commanding general at I Corps. “Our priority is to take care of his family, ensuring they have all the resources they need during this difficult time.”
Flanders, 56, of Boston, Massachusetts, died Aug. 2 in San Antonio, Texas, at Brooke Army Medical Center, where he was being treated, the JBLM release stated.
Flanders, who deployed twice to Afghanistan during his more than two-decades in the service, is the fourth active-duty and highest-ranking soldier to die from the coronavirus, Military.com first reported. Twenty-nine uniformed military personnel have died from COVID-19.
Flanders received his Reserve Officer Training Corps commission as an Air Defense Artillery officer in May 1994 through the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has served in his last position with I Corps since February.
His awards and decorations include the Joint Service Command Medal, four Army Commendation Medals, including with combat device, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Korea Defense Service Medal and the NATO medal.
So far, more than 1 million service members have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The Defense Department has also signaled its intention to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for all troops.
In a memo to the force Monday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he will, by mid-September, ask President Joe Biden ― who must grant a waiver in lieu of FDA approval ― for permission to add COVID-19 to the list of mandated inoculations.
Military Times Pentagon bureau chief Meghann Myers contributed to this report.