Lockheed Plant Worker Dies After Reporting COVID Symptoms

Credit: USAF

A Lockheed Martin employee working at the Fort Worth facility where the F-35 is assembled died several days after informing the company he felt ill with COVID-19-like symptoms, Lockheed said on April 13. 

Lockheed has not been informed of an official cause of death for Claude Daniels, a longtime employee who died on April 11. 

Daniels’s last day at the Fort Worth plant was on March 31. Lockheed sent Daniels home to self-quarantine after his shift on that day after he informed the company that he had close contact outside the factory with a person who had tested positive for the corona virus. Daniels followed up on April 5, informing Lockheed that he was experiencing symptoms. 

“The company followed its protocol to assess potential exposure, directing those likely exposed to self-quarantine, and conducted a sanitization of his work area,” Lockheed said in a statement to Aerospace DAILY. 

Lockheed employs 14,000 workers at the sprawling, mile-long F-35 assembly plant. As a defense contractor, the company is considered an essential business by the government, so is allowed to maintain business operations despite a statewide stay-at-home order in Texas. 

“We have established rigorous protocols for protecting our employees and their workplaces during this unprecedented time,” Lockheed said. 

The company also acknowledged the loss of Daniels, who was a “devoted colleague. 

“Our thought are with those who knew and loved him,” Lockheed said. 


Steve Trimble

Steve covers military aviation, missiles and space for the Aviation Week Network, based in Washington DC.