FORT LEE, Va. – Installation leaders and fellow Soldiers from the 244th Quartermaster Battalion gathered at Memorial Chapel here Feb. 5 to honor the life and service of Master Sgt. Lisa Maria Soto, the first military member on post to die from complications related to the coronavirus.
Soto was serving as 92Y Unit Supply Specialist Course instructor in the Quartermaster School’s Logistics Training Department. A native of Florence, South Carolina, she enlisted in the Army in 2000 and completed her initial military occupational skill training at Fort Lee. During her 20 years of dedicated military service, she deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq and had assignments to Germany, Fort Lee, Fort Jackson, S.C., and Fort Drum, N.Y.
Soto’s awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal (2nd silver oak leaf cluster), the Army Achievement Medal (3rd bronze oak leaf cluster), the Good Conduct Medal (4th award), the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal (2 stars), the Iraqi Campaign Medal (1 star), the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (numeral 3), the Army Service Medal, the overseas ribbon (3rd award), the NATO Medal and the Combat Action Badge.
“Let us remember the positive impact she had on those she met and led … There is no doubt that Master Sergeant Soto is the internal voice and motivating factor for hundreds of Soldiers when they revert back to their training,” eulogized Capt. Daniel Craft, Alpha Company 244th Quartermaster Battalion commander. “They will be in good hands as long as they remember the lessons taught to them by (this noncommissioned officer).”
“I cannot help but think of what an outstanding instructor she was,” reminisced Sgt. 1st Class Dwayne Massey, one of her battle buddies at the schoolhouse. “Upon our arrival to the Logistics Training Department, she made an incredible impact the first day on the ground. She was humble, courteous, careful, kind, helpful and devoted. She had a quiet demeanor with a great impact.”
Johnny Soto Sr., the fallen Soldier’s former husband, shared memories of their relationship. He described how she conquered the struggles of a difficult upbringing and was a nurturing mother and friend to many.
“Lisa used her childhood as motivation to mold our children (3 boys) to be stand-up young men,” he said. “Not only that, she was a beacon of hope for all of those who needed encouragement or a listening ear.”
Lt. Col. Denis Fajardo, MSG Soto’s battalion commander, also shared remarks, noting how she extended herself as a Soldier. “She took taking care of Soldiers and teaching them seriously and with a passion that was noticed by all,” said the leader of the 244th QM Bn. “She was always eager to help get things done. As we mourn her loss, we also remember her sacrifice, determination, resilience and love for her family.”
Among MSG Soto’s survivors are her three children, a twin sister, Letha, and six other siblings; and her father, Jonell McFadden Jr.