Fort Hood shooting victims to receive full benefits

First, the Pentagon denied the attack by Major Nidal Hassan was even terrorism. They called it "workplace violence."

Then they denied the victims the Purple Heart decoration for wounds received in battle.

After agreeing to give the victims Purple Hearts, the Pentagon then denied them the benefits that ordinarily go to wounded soldiers.

Now, after pressure from Capitol Hill, the Pentagon has relented and will award the benefits due the victims of the attack.

It only took 6 years for the brass to come around.

The Hill:

The U.S. Army on Thursday approved additional benefits for soldiers who were wounded in the 2009 Fort Hood mass shooting.

The service also announced it would award the Purple Heart to a soldier who was killed and another who was wounded in an attack by a radicalized Muslim in 2009 at a recruiting center in Little Rock, Ark.

“In addition to the Purple Heart medal, there are certain other benefits for which Soldiers receiving the Purple Heart are traditionally eligible,” Army Secretary John McHugh wrote in an April 14 memo.  “I intend to ensure that the soldiers receiving the Purple Heart under the expanded criteria also receive all other related benefits for which they are eligible.”

McHugh, a former GOP member of the House Armed Services Committee, ordered benefits that include payment of hostile-fire pay for Purple Heart recipients “killed, injured or wounded” in the attacks and combat-related special compensation for retired troops disabled in the shootings. 

The secretary made the announcement less than a week after the Army honored more than 40 victims of the attacks with the Purple Heart and the Defense Medal of Freedom, its civilian equivalent, after years of lobbying by lawmakers.

The Defense Department initially classified the Fort Hood shooting, in which Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others, as workplace violence rather than an act of terrorism. 

He was convicted in 2013 of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder.

But a provision in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act expanded eligibility for the Purple Heart by broadening what should be considered an attack by a "foreign terrorist organization."

Capitol Hill lawmakers applauded the news that victims from both incidents would receive extra benefits.

There were apparently some officers at the Pentagon who believed giving Purple Hearts to soldiers killed or wounded in a terrorist attack on a domestic army base was not in keeping with the spirit of what the Purple Heart represented. There were also officers who knew that the administration did not want Hassan's attack to be considered terrorism and were playing politics with the issue.

In the end, the Pentagon did the right thing, although much delayed. The hope now is that the living victims of the attack and their families can begin to get on with their lives and put this nightmare behind them. 

 

First, the Pentagon denied the attack by Major Nidal Hassan was even terrorism. They called it "workplace violence."

Then they denied the victims the Purple Heart decoration for wounds received in battle.

After agreeing to give the victims Purple Hearts, the Pentagon then denied them the benefits that ordinarily go to wounded soldiers.

Now, after pressure from Capitol Hill, the Pentagon has relented and will award the benefits due the victims of the attack.

It only took 6 years for the brass to come around.

The Hill:

The U.S. Army on Thursday approved additional benefits for soldiers who were wounded in the 2009 Fort Hood mass shooting.

The service also announced it would award the Purple Heart to a soldier who was killed and another who was wounded in an attack by a radicalized Muslim in 2009 at a recruiting center in Little Rock, Ark.

“In addition to the Purple Heart medal, there are certain other benefits for which Soldiers receiving the Purple Heart are traditionally eligible,” Army Secretary John McHugh wrote in an April 14 memo.  “I intend to ensure that the soldiers receiving the Purple Heart under the expanded criteria also receive all other related benefits for which they are eligible.”

McHugh, a former GOP member of the House Armed Services Committee, ordered benefits that include payment of hostile-fire pay for Purple Heart recipients “killed, injured or wounded” in the attacks and combat-related special compensation for retired troops disabled in the shootings. 

The secretary made the announcement less than a week after the Army honored more than 40 victims of the attacks with the Purple Heart and the Defense Medal of Freedom, its civilian equivalent, after years of lobbying by lawmakers.

The Defense Department initially classified the Fort Hood shooting, in which Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others, as workplace violence rather than an act of terrorism. 

He was convicted in 2013 of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder.

But a provision in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act expanded eligibility for the Purple Heart by broadening what should be considered an attack by a "foreign terrorist organization."

Capitol Hill lawmakers applauded the news that victims from both incidents would receive extra benefits.

There were apparently some officers at the Pentagon who believed giving Purple Hearts to soldiers killed or wounded in a terrorist attack on a domestic army base was not in keeping with the spirit of what the Purple Heart represented. There were also officers who knew that the administration did not want Hassan's attack to be considered terrorism and were playing politics with the issue.

In the end, the Pentagon did the right thing, although much delayed. The hope now is that the living victims of the attack and their families can begin to get on with their lives and put this nightmare behind them.