Navajo Nation calls for investigation into Fort Hood deaths

Navajo Nation officials called for an investigation into the death of a member of their tribe at the Fort Hood military base Corlton Chee...

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Foto: U.S. Army via AP / Video: MH
  • Navajo Nation officials called for an investigation into the death of a member of their tribe at the Fort Hood military base
  • Corlton Chee collapsed during a workout on his birthday and died several days later.
  • The tribal member Was the 28th Fort Hood soldier to die this year

Navajo Nation officials have joined calls for accountability for the deaths at Fort Hood after one of its members became the last soldier of the Army base of the United States to die this year, according to The Associated Press.

Pvt. Corlton L. Chee, a 25-year-old soldier from Pinehill, New Mexico, died Wednesday after collapsing after a physical training exercise held on his birthday five days earlier, according to officials from the Texas Central Post.

He was the 28th Fort Hood soldier to die this year, according to data obtained by the AP.

Fort Hood deaths: Navajo Nation calls for investigation

Photo: Twitter.

The Navajo Nation Council praised Chee in a statement Friday and urged the Army to fully investigate his death and that of the other soldiers.

“We are deeply disturbed by the series of deaths at Fort Hood, and if there is any wrongful act or negligence involved, the Navajo Nation calls on our national leaders to follow all avenues available to protect the lives of our Navajo warriors and those who serve in the US Armed Forces, ”said Council President Seth Damon.

“Our hearts are heavy today at the news of Private Carlton Chee’s passing,” Navajo Nation Council deputy Jamie Henio said in a news release Friday when Chee’s identity was revealed.

“Our Navajo youth continue to serve at the highest per capita rates in the country,” Henio said.

“When we lose just one of our honorable warriors, the entire nation feels that pain,” continued the delegate.

Fort Hood deaths: Navajo Nation calls for investigation

Corlton L. Chee. Photo: US Army via AP.

Chee was the father of two children, including a 3-week-old boy he had not yet met, reported AZ Central.

“We are having a hard time adapting to everything that has happened. It all happened so suddenly, ”Carma Johnson, Chee’s older sister, told Indian Country Today.

“He was always adventurous, very healthy, wanting to do something brave and very, very loving,” Johnson told the news agency. “I know that all he wanted was the best for his children and his fiancee,” he added.

Army officials have said Chee’s death is under investigation and that the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas will conduct an autopsy. They said she died in a hospital near Fort Hood in the company of her family.

Chee first joined the Army in February as a tank crewman and was assigned to his unit in July, according to the Associated Press. His awards included the National Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon, AP reported.

Last week, the Army announced changes in leadership at Fort Hood amid what they said was a growing investigation into the murder of another soldier at the post.

Rep. Deb Haaland, Democrat of New Mexico, said in a tweet Sunday that she was “incredibly concerned” about the deaths at Fort Hood and would seek answers as a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

“This is terribly tragic. My heart goes out to the Carlton Chee family and the entire Navajo Nation, ”he tweeted. “I am incredibly concerned about the recent cases from Ft. Hood and as a member of the House Armed Services Committee I will work to get answers.”

Fort Hood deaths: Navajo Nation calls for investigation

Photo: Twitter.

A fellow soldier who allegedly beat Hispanic soldier Vanessa Guillén to death has sparked calls for the military to change the way they handle sexual abuse and harassment.

Before Chee, Fort Hood Sgt. Elder Fernandes, whose disappearance prompted a week-long search, hanged himself, according to a preliminary autopsy report released Tuesday, KWTX reports.

Fernandes’s body was found shortly before 6 p.m. Aug. 25 hanging from a tree near the Sammons Park train tracks in Temple. He had filed a report of sexual contact before disappearing.

Fernandes, of Brockton, Mass, joined the Army in 2016 and had been assigned since April 2019 to the 1st Cavalry Division Sustainability Brigade, whose troops participated in the search.

Fort Hood confirmed an open “sexual contact abuse” investigation involving Fernandes, 23, who reported inappropriate sexual contact in May when a superior grabbed him by the buttocks.

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