President Nez calls for congressional inquiry following deaths of two members of the Navajo Nation at Fort Hood Army Base

(Photo: Navajo Nation - Office of the President and Vice President)

Press Pool

Families of Army Specialist Miguel D. Yazzie and Private Carlton L. Chee suspect foul play may have contributed to their deaths

News Release

Navajo Nation -Office of the President and Vice President

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer issued several letters to congressional members calling for a congressional inquiry and a formal investigation into the recent deaths of two members of the Navajo Nation who were stationed at the Fort Hood Army Base in the state of Texas.

Pictured: Private Carlton L. Chee, 25, was a member of the Navajo Nation from Ramah Pine Hill, New Mexico.
Pictured: Private Carlton L. Chee, 25, was a member of the Navajo Nation from Ramah Pine Hill, New Mexico.(Photo: courtesy 24th Navajo Nation Council - Office of the Speaker)

It was recently reported that Private Carlton L. Chee, a member of the Navajo Nation, collapsed during a training exercise on August 28, 2020 and eventually passed away at Carl R. Darnall Medical Center on September 2, 2020. His death marked the 28th casualty involving military personnel at Fort Hood this year.

Pictured: Army Specialist Miguel D. Yazzie was a member of the Navajo Nation.
Pictured: Army Specialist Miguel D. Yazzie was a member of the Navajo Nation.(Photo: courtesy Navajo Nation -Office of the President and Vice President)

In addition, the Office of the President and Vice President recently received information from the family of Army Specialist Miguel D. Yazzie, also a member of the Navajo Nation, who lost his life on July 3, 2020 while stationed at the Fort Hood Army Base. Specialist Yazzie enlisted in the Army in 2016 and served as an Air Defense Enhanced Early Warning System Operator. He was previously stationed in South Korea prior to his death at the Fort Hood Army Base.

President Nez spoke with the mother of Private Chee to offer his condolences to the family and offer support for seeking a congressional inquiry into his death.

“On behalf of the Navajo Nation, we offer our thoughts and prayers for the families of Private Chee and Specialist Yazzie. We spoke with the families of Private Chee and Specialist Yazzie and they have many concerns and questions related to inconsistent information and details provided by military officials. It is very troubling that while they are mourning the loss of their loved ones, they are not receiving adequate and timely factual information regarding the time leading up to their deaths,” said President Nez.

The families stated that they suspect that foul play may have contributed to the deaths of Private Chee and Specialist Yazzie, who are among 28 military men and women who have lost their lives while stationed at Fort Hood Army Base.

“Our concern is not only for these two members of the Navajo Nation, but for the many Navajo men and women who are serving in every branch of the military around the world. As you know, the Navajo people have a long and proud history of serving in the Armed Forces at a higher per capita rate than any other demographic in the United States. This is not only a call for a congressional inquiry, but it is a call for accountability and answers for the families that are grieving for their loved ones,” stated Vice President Lizer.

Private Chee is survived by his parents, five sisters, fiancé, and two sons. The family is requesting donations through their GoFundMe page to help with expenses. Please click on the following link to access the donation website: https://www.gofundme.com/f/7y4w9-funeral?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=sms&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet

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(Image: Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President)
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