McSally requests Army investigation into dozens of Fort Hood deaths

Following the most recent deaths of two Navajo Nation military members serving at Fort Hood, U.S. Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) called for a comprehensive investigation into multiple other deaths that occurred at the U.S. Army post located in Killeen, Texas.

“We seek answers on behalf of the families of these two members of the Navajo Nation and for the families of the other service members who have died this year at Fort Hood,” wrote Sen. McSally and U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) in a Sept. 22 letter sent to U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy.

In total, 28 American service members have died at the installation this year from a wide range of causes, including training accidents, suicides, homicides, and other reasons that remain under investigation, according to the lawmakers’ letter.

“We ask that you complete thorough and prompt investigations into the multiple ongoing cases of deaths at Fort Hood this year and update Congress and the families of the fallen soldiers on your findings as soon as possible,” Sen. McSally and her colleague wrote.

The most recent deaths of Army Private Carlton Chee, 25, and Army Specialist Miguel Yazzie, 33, both Navajo Nation members, are of particular concern, they wrote, noting that Private Chee collapsed during a training exercise on Aug. 28 and died on Sept. 2, while Spc. Yazzie was found unresponsive and then airlifted to a hospital where he died on July 3. 

“We understand that Private Chee returned from Poland days prior to the incident. There are many unanswered questions related to his medical treatment and inconsistent information provided by military officials,” the senators wrote. “Specialist Yazzie’s father was unaware of any medical conditions his son may have had.”

Sen. McSally and her colleague wrote that “the lack of communication from military officials is disconcerting.”

Their requested investigation would be in addition to the Army’s recent appointment of a panel to conduct an independent review of the command climate at Fort Hood, as well as a new leadership change at the base, according to the senators’ letter.