WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren met the only Navajo currently serving in the U.S. Coast Guard.
Petty Officer Second Class Corylee Redhorse, 35, from Hxóyééʼ or Tsin Naaʼeeł, Arizona, and two of his shipmates met with the president to talk about recruiting more Navajos to think about enlisting into the Coast Guard.
Petty Officer Redhorse who is Tábąąhí, born for Naakai Łizhinii, whose maternal grandfather is Tótsohnii, and whose paternal grandfather is Naakai Łizhinii, said he worked at Sage Memorial Hospital in Ganado. He added he was also a swim coach for 10 years in Ganado prior to his enlistment.
But he wasn’t satisfied, he said. So, he left for Denver, Colorado, where he came across the Coast Guard recruiting office.
Growing up, Redhorse said his family always encouraged him to join the military.
“With my relatives out here — all my uncles and family — everyone said, ‘Military, military,’” Redhorse told the president. “And now I’m here, ten years later.”
Chief Jeremy Crawford, who accompanied Redhorse to visit President Nygren, said the coast guard was looking for diversify.
“This is really the first time the Coast Guard has made a push for the for the Navajo Nation,” Chief Crawford told President Nygren.
The Odessa, Texas-native added Petty Officer Redhorse has been a big help introducing the Coast Guard and its capabilities to the Navajo Nation.
“So, it’s it’s just been a pleasure. Everybody that we’ve talked to the last couple days have been so nice and so welcoming. We’re trying to make a turn for diversity in our workplace,” said Chief Crawford.
Crawford said the Coast Guard is pulling some strings to get Petty Officer Redhorse stationed in Phoenix, Arizona, where he can introduce the Coast Guard and share what the military branch is about to the region.
“I don’t think any of it would have been possible without him. I mean, just the connections that he’s able to make for us,” Chief Crawford said of Petty Officer Redhorse.
“Thank you, sir. I appreciate it and I am looking forward to you being in Phoenix,” said President Nygren.
Petty Officer Redhorse said he’s currently stationed in California. When his superiors learned the Coast Guard might be actively recruiting for potential candidates from the reservation, he said he was given temporary orders to return home and speak of the Coast Guard.
Chief Crawford said the Coast Guard sponsored this year’s 2023 Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, which was held this past weekend in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Before heading for GON, Petty Officer Redhorse said he took his shipmates around Window Rock.
President Nygren asked if they had some mutton stew. For lunch he said he got them Navajo tacos.
After the visit, President Nygren thanked them and extended his administration’s assistance to help Redhorse and the Coast Guard with getting the message out about the military branch, which is one of the country’s six armed forces. It is the only military branch in the Department of Homeland Security.
“I appreciate you coming all the way out here. I’m glad that we were able to come together and then whatever we can do from my office, just let me know,” said President Nygren.
Redhorse has been enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard for 10 years.