Fort Hood provides new details about Navajo private’s death

Pvt. Corlton L. Chee, 25, of Pinehill, N.M. died on Sept. 2 at a local hospital.
Pvt. Corlton L. Chee, 25, of Pinehill, N.M. died on Sept. 2 at a local hospital.(Fort Hood photo)
Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 7:44 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 9, 2020 at 11:17 AM CDT
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FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) - Fort Hood released new details Tuesday evening about the death of Pvt. 2nd Class Corlton L. Chee, 25, of Pinehill, N.M., who collapsed after physical training on Aug. 28 and died on Sept. 2 in a local hospital.

The Navajo Nation is calling on the Army to investigate Chee’s death and the deaths of more than two-dozen other Fort Hood soldiers this year.

“We are deeply disturbed by the string of deaths at Fort Hood, and if there is any malfeasance or negligence involved, the Navajo Nation calls on our national leaders to pursue every available avenue to protect the lives of our Navajo warriors and those serving in the U.S. Armed Forces,” Speaker of the Council Seth Damon said.

Foul play is not suspected in Chee’s death, the post said in a press release Tuesday evening.

An autopsy was ordered.

The Army CID is investigating.

“It is too early in the process to draw any conclusions about why he collapsed or passed away,” the post said Tuesday.

Chee, who joined the Army in February, was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division’s 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, was on a 2.2-mile run with the other members of his 11-man platoon at around 7 a.m. on Aug 28, the post said in press release Tuesday evening.

“Witnesses stated PV2 Chee showed no signs of struggling and was running at the front of the group when he collapsed near the end of the run,” the post said.

Soldiers in the unit “provided initial care” until medics and paramedics arrived and found Chee unresponsive and without a pulse.

“They implemented advanced life saving measures until his circulation returned,” the post said.

Chee was taken first to Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, where he was admitted to intensive care.

The next day he was transferred to Scott & White Medical Center in Temple.

His family was contacted on the day of the incident, the post said.

“His leadership made continued efforts to maintain contact with his family and support them through the trying time at the hospital. They continue reaching out to his family over the phone and will provide as much support and information as possible,” the post said.

U.S. Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) called in a letter dated Sept. 3 for a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the recent deaths and disappearances of Fort Hood soldiers.

“We are determined to seek justice and answers for their families and to ensure the Army is implementing necessary reforms at Fort Hood, and that Congress is holding the Army accountable,” Cornyn and his colleagues wrote.

Data obtained by KWTX before Chee’s death showed 26 soldiers assigned to the post had died so far this year.

A unit memorial is planned and “with the family’s blessing” soldiers and officers from Chee’s unit plan to attend his funeral in New Mexico.

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