“Losing a Soldier is a tragic loss; losing a Soldier who ministers to other Soldiers is an even bigger loss,” said Master Sgt. Michael Lavigne yesterday. Lavigne is the Public Affairs official at Fort Riley, Kansas. His comment came on the heels of this Examiner’s article suggesting there was mystery surrounding the death of Army Capt. Yohan Lee. In fact, there appears to be no mystery whatsoever, in spite of the lack of online information available.
Capt. Lee, 45, died off-post in Manhattan, Kansas, April 9, 2016. While a full week lapsed before there was an official announcement from Fort Riley, MSG Lavigne explained that the delay was due to the logistics of notifying Capt. Lee’s next-of-kin. Lee, who was a chaplain, listed his wife as the first to be notified if the worst should happen. Capt. Lee had also listed a family member in Korea as the second next-of-kin to be notified. Notifying the second family member took time.
Chaplain Lee was assigned to the 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade. He had been at Fort Riley, Kansas since January 2014.
Following his death, Col. John Cyrulik, Commander of the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade released this statement:
“Our hearts are heavy today over the loss of Chaplain Lee. He gave so much of himself to the soldiers and families of this brigade. We pledge our love and support to his family during this incredibly difficult time.”
In a solemn ceremony, Chaplain Yohan Lee’s family, friends, and Soldiers paid their final respects April 21.
The original article by the National Military news Examiner was prompted by several inquiries from readers into the cause of death for Chaplain Lee. The investigation comes under the purview of the Riley County Sheriff’s Department. No foul play was suspected.
Of interest, According to Army Times, Chaplain Lee was featured in an Army news story as one of several service members to become U.S. citizens.