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Army reservist becomes 10th service member to die of COVID-19

Sgt. 1st Class Calvin Ogletree III. (U.S. Army Reserve/Released)
November 18, 2020

A U.S. Army reservist, born and raised in Lakeland, Fla., has become the country’s 10th service member to die due to complications from COVID-19.

Sgt. 1st Class Calvin Ogletree III died Nov. 12 at Bartow Regional Medical Center due to medical complications from the virus. He was 45.

“It’s a shock,” his mother, Kathy Ogletree, told The Ledger.

Kathy Ogletree said she received a phone call from her son around 7 p.m. last Wednesday stating he was heading to the hospital fearing he might be having a heart attack.

However, an electrocardiogram came up clear, according to his mother. Her son died less than 12 hours later on Thursday morning, she said, due to an embolism.

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“He passed that suddenly, that’s what nobody can understand,” she said. “It’s so frightening.”

Calvin Ogletree had tested positive for COVID-19 approximately two weeks prior, according to his mom. Recently, she said he reported feeling better with fewer symptoms from the virus.

Individuals who are positive for COVID-19 are at a higher risk of developing blood clots, medically called a thrombosis, according to a July study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association. Out of 3,324 adult patients in New York hospitals, 16% developed blood clots.

Kathy Ogletree said that her son was in good physical shape as he loved to go running and exercise. Keeping in shape was part of his responsibility as a member of the U.S. Army Reserves.

There have been more than 67,000 service members infected by the novel coronavirus with 785 being hospitalized, according to the U.S. Department of Defense’s latest Nov. 16 figures. When civilians, dependents and military contractors are included, the number infected grows to nearly 100,000.

“In an ideal world, no one would get COVID and no one would get these symptoms,” Lt. Col. Simon Flake, spokesman for the U.S. Army Reserves, said. “There’s no way we can ever get used to this.”

Calvin Ogletree III joined the military in 1994 immediately after graduating from Kathleen High School, according to his mother, following in the footsteps of prior family members. He served three years active duty as a vehicle mechanic. During that time, his travels took him through Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“He always returned home safely,” she said.

In 1997, Calvin Ogletree transferred to the Army Reserves where he worked as a motor transport operator. He completed a six-month tour of duty in Iraq in 2003 with Florida Reserve’s 495th Transportation Company. Upon arriving home in September 2003, he shared with The Ledger that his favorite meal ready-to-eat was spaghetti.

Most recently, Ogletree served as a senior writer instructor for the 8th Battalion, 108th Regiment (Transportation) based out of Jacksonville.

Ogletree received numerous awards during his nearly 27 years of service including the Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, four Army Reserve Component Achievement Medals, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, NATO Medal, Army Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, two Overseas Service Ribbons, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Mobilization device, Army Driver and Mechanic Badge, and the National Defense Service Medal.

At home, his mother said Calvin Ogletree spent a decade working in the phosphate mining industry before becoming a local business owner with his own trucking company, OG Trucking. He left that business to work for Amazon in Orlando as a robotech specialist, according to Kathy Ogletree.

When not working or serving his country, his mother said Calvin Ogletree loved the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was a season-ticket holder. He enjoyed teaching new skills to others, according to mom.

“He loved football. He loved sports,” she said. “He was an all-around good guy who would help anyone at any given time.”

It’s this trait and personality his mother said she hopes those who knew Calvin Ogletree will pick up and carry on.

He is survived by his mother, his sister, Sheletta Ogletree, and his brother, Warren Johnson. He was not married and had no children.

Visiting services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at First Baptist Institutional Church, located at 923 N. Martin Luther King Ave. in Lakeland. It will be immediately followed by a memorial service at noon.

A graveside service with full military honors will be conducted at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Oak Hill Cemetery, located at 4620 U.S. Highway 98 S in Lakeland.

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(c) 2020 The Ledger

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.