2nd Top General Tests Positive For Virus As Pentagon Scrambles To Trace Contacts

Following Monday's announcement that the vice commandant of the US Coast Guard Admiral Charles Ray tested positive for COVID-19 after exhibiting mild symptoms, almost all generals of the Joint Chiefs of Staff began quarantining at home, while ensuring the public their working from home will not fundamentally impact military readiness.

The Pentagon thereupon initiated careful contact tracing given that Adm. Ray had in the days prior to his positive test attended "several" meetings with generals and staff in "secure areas" of the Pentagon. 

And now another top commander has become infected. Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gary Thomas tested positive for the virus on Wednesday, after reporting that he came into contact with Adm. Ray in at least two military events.

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The Marines' second-in-command said he's experiencing "mild symptoms" but is generally "feeling well," according to a Marine Corps statement.

"The Marine Corps has started contact tracing and any Marines who were in close contact with Thomas will enter quarantine," the statement underscored.

The only one among the Joint Chiefs to not be under home quarantine is General David H. Berger, the commandant of the Marine Corps, who was not present for any of the recent meetings involving the Coast Guard #2.

Ray had attended two large events, now subject of contact tracing, including a Sept.27 event with a Gold Star family at the White House, and a meeting of the Joint Chiefs on Oct.2.

Gen. Gary Thomas, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, via US Marine Corps/Military.com

At this point at least 10 commanders from among the Pentagon's top brass are in voluntary home quarantine.

This includes the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, the heads of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Space Force, as well as the infected Coast Guard vice commander.

Though the media and much of the world remains focus on the White House outbreak, now at an estimated 34 individuals including the president, should the outbreak spread among the Joint Chiefs of Staff, this could be an even bigger national crisis impacting Pentagon readiness to defend the nation, current DoD assurances that "all is still well" notwithstanding.