25-year-old soldier dies after collapsing during training exercise at Fort Hood

Sept. 5 (UPI) — A 25-year-old soldier is dead after collapsing during a training exercise at Fort Hood in Texas, officials announced Friday.

According to a press release from the installation, 25-year-old Pvt. Corlton L. Chee died Wednesday after collapsing during a training exercise last week.

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Chee was from Pinehill, N.M., and joined the Army in February 2020 as a tank crewman. He had been assigned to 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division since July 2020.

His awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.

According to the Army, Chee collapsed during physical fitness training Aug. 28 and was transported to Baylor Scott and White Health in Temple, Texas, Aug. 30.

Chee died at the hospital with family by his side.

The Army said an autopsy will be conducted by the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas.

According to Fort Hood’s press release, the incident is under investigation.

“Our team is devastated by the loss of Pvt. Chee. Corlton was an amazing Trooper and so full of life and potential.” said Lt. Col. Ron Sprang, commander of 2nd Bn. 12th Cav. Regt. “Every loss effects every single person in this Battalion because we a family of warriors, but this is exceptionally heartbreaking. The entire Thunderhorse team sends our condolences to his family members and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.”

Chee was a member of the Navajo Nation, which has called for an investigation into his death.

“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 purse every available avenue to protect the lives of our Navajo warriors and those serving in the U.S. Armed Forces,” Navajo Nation speaker Seth Damon said Friday.

Chee is one of several soldiers to die on or near Fort Hood this year.

Earlier this week a medical examiner released a report describing the death of 23–year-old Elder Fernandes, who had gone missing in mid-August, as a suicide.

In July investigators determined that human remains found near the installation were those of Spc. Vanessa Guillen, who had been missing since April.

A suspect in Guillen’s death, Spc. Aaron David Robinson, died by suicide when officers made contact with him.

And investigators now suspect foul play in the death of Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales, who went missing last August but was found dead in June.

Guillen’s death prompted at least four investigations and sparked discussion about the installation’s culture, with Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy saying in August that its rate of violent crime is the highest of any military installation in the country.

On the same day Fernandes’ autopsy report was released, the Army announced it had named a new acting senior commander at the installation and that it would conduct an in-depth investigation into the chain of command’s response to Guillen.

The Army had also hired a consulting team to conduct an independent review of the installation.

Fernandes had filed a sexual assault complaint, which was not substantiated, and Guillen had told family members she was being sexually harassed on the installation, but had not filed a formal complaint.

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