Funeral services were held Tuesday for Army Private and Navajo Nation tribal member Carlton Chee. He died earlier this month after collapsing while training at Fort Hood in Texas. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.
Graveside services were held at the National Veterans Cemetery in Gallup, New Mexico. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer presented a Navajo Nation flag and a proclamation in honor of Chee. He was 25 and is survived by his two children and fiancé.
“Today, we pay tribute to the life of PFC Chee and we offer our thoughts and prayers for his fiancé, children, parents, and siblings," said President Nez. "We pray to our Creator and ask for strength and comfort for all of the families that have lost loved ones while stationed at Fort Hood Army Base. By all accounts, PFC Chee was a strong warrior and a good family man who wanted the best for his family and his Navajo people. We will always be thankful for his service to the Navajo Nation and the United States."
Leaders also honored Army Specialist Miguel Yazzie who died in July while stationed at Fort Hood.
Families of the two men suspect foul play in the deaths and say the U-S Army hasn’t provided them with consistent information. Army officials recently told Navajo Council members that the branch’s Criminal Investigation Division has opened three inquiries.
President Nez is calling for a congressional investigation into the deaths of Chee and Yazzie. Two House subcommittees last week announced they’d examine the high rates of violent crime at Fort Hood. The Army has also begun an independent review.
In all, 28 service members have died at the base this year.