Should the servicemen murdered in Chattanooga receive Purple Hearts?

Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John McCain is working to ensure that the four Marines and Navy petty officer who died in the terror attack on the Marine recruiting station in Chattanooga recieve Purple Heart medals for their sacrifice.

Washington Times:

Some of the Marines may have saved their fellow service members by ushering them to safety before returning to try to neutralize Abdulazeez.

“While I cannot share specific details about what happened that morning, our Marines reacted the way you would expect — rapidly going from room to room. They got their fellow Marines to safety,” Maj. Gen. Paul Brier, commander of the 4th Marine Division, said during a news conference Wednesday. “Once they got them to safety, some willingly ran back into the fight.”

Twenty Marines and two Navy corpsmen were in the naval reserve center inspecting their equipment after returning from a training program, Gen. Brier told reporters, indicating that the massacre could have been much worse if not for the Marines’ acts of courage.

Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White, the support center’s commanding officer, used his personal firearm to engage Abdulazeez during the attack, the Navy Times reported. Four sources confirmed that the officer’s actions were included in a report distributed to senior Navy leaders after the attack.

“When history records what happened in Chattanooga last week, it won’t be remembered for the heinous actions of one individual,” Gen. Brier said. “The legacy of that day is one of valor.”

The rules governing eligibility for Purple Hearts were changed in the wake of the Fort Hood massacre in 2009:

Changes in the fiscal 2015 defense policy bill allow the Purple Heart to be awarded to active-duty troops killed or wounded anytime after Sept. 11, 2001, by people who had communicated with or were inspired by a foreign terrorist organization.

The bill opened up victims of the 2009 shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, and a military recruitment office in Little Rock, Arkansas, to receive the award. Civilians at Fort Hood who were injured or killed were awarded the Defense of Freedom Medal, the civilian equivalent to the Purple Heart.

McCain isn't sure whether the Chattanooga servicemen are eligible under the current rules or whether a new bill will have to be passed.

At least one Democrat is supporting Senator McCain.  Rhode Island senator Jack Reed wants to go a step farther and develop guidelines for all servicemen killed in domestic terror attacks:

Sen. Jack Reed, Rhode Island Democrat and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Congress should consider the honor because those killed at Fort Hood were authorized to receive the medal.

He also called on lawmakers to develop a standard for domestic attacks so they can give the service secretaries a set of criteria by which they can award the medals rather than legislating for individual attacks.

“I think we should probably step back and make a determination not incident-by-incident but general authority to the secretary of the service to make awards, give them some criteria,” he said.

“The immediate reaction is these young Marines and the sailor sacrificed their lives for the country — that’s pretty clear,” he said.

This is long overdue, and legislation should be included in next year's defense authorization bill.  And isn't it about time that we gave our servicemen the opportunity to defend themselves and allow them to carry arms?  Somehow, Democrats have tied this issue to gun control, which is absurd on its face.  There will be a lot fewer Purple Hearts if that simple precaution is taken.

Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John McCain is working to ensure that the four Marines and Navy petty officer who died in the terror attack on the Marine recruiting station in Chattanooga recieve Purple Heart medals for their sacrifice.

Washington Times:

Some of the Marines may have saved their fellow service members by ushering them to safety before returning to try to neutralize Abdulazeez.

“While I cannot share specific details about what happened that morning, our Marines reacted the way you would expect — rapidly going from room to room. They got their fellow Marines to safety,” Maj. Gen. Paul Brier, commander of the 4th Marine Division, said during a news conference Wednesday. “Once they got them to safety, some willingly ran back into the fight.”

Twenty Marines and two Navy corpsmen were in the naval reserve center inspecting their equipment after returning from a training program, Gen. Brier told reporters, indicating that the massacre could have been much worse if not for the Marines’ acts of courage.

Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White, the support center’s commanding officer, used his personal firearm to engage Abdulazeez during the attack, the Navy Times reported. Four sources confirmed that the officer’s actions were included in a report distributed to senior Navy leaders after the attack.

“When history records what happened in Chattanooga last week, it won’t be remembered for the heinous actions of one individual,” Gen. Brier said. “The legacy of that day is one of valor.”

The rules governing eligibility for Purple Hearts were changed in the wake of the Fort Hood massacre in 2009:

Changes in the fiscal 2015 defense policy bill allow the Purple Heart to be awarded to active-duty troops killed or wounded anytime after Sept. 11, 2001, by people who had communicated with or were inspired by a foreign terrorist organization.

The bill opened up victims of the 2009 shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, and a military recruitment office in Little Rock, Arkansas, to receive the award. Civilians at Fort Hood who were injured or killed were awarded the Defense of Freedom Medal, the civilian equivalent to the Purple Heart.

McCain isn't sure whether the Chattanooga servicemen are eligible under the current rules or whether a new bill will have to be passed.

At least one Democrat is supporting Senator McCain.  Rhode Island senator Jack Reed wants to go a step farther and develop guidelines for all servicemen killed in domestic terror attacks:

Sen. Jack Reed, Rhode Island Democrat and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Congress should consider the honor because those killed at Fort Hood were authorized to receive the medal.

He also called on lawmakers to develop a standard for domestic attacks so they can give the service secretaries a set of criteria by which they can award the medals rather than legislating for individual attacks.

“I think we should probably step back and make a determination not incident-by-incident but general authority to the secretary of the service to make awards, give them some criteria,” he said.

“The immediate reaction is these young Marines and the sailor sacrificed their lives for the country — that’s pretty clear,” he said.

This is long overdue, and legislation should be included in next year's defense authorization bill.  And isn't it about time that we gave our servicemen the opportunity to defend themselves and allow them to carry arms?  Somehow, Democrats have tied this issue to gun control, which is absurd on its face.  There will be a lot fewer Purple Hearts if that simple precaution is taken.