Fort Hood Shooting Victims to Receive Purple Heart

Fort Hood Shooting Victims to Receive Purple Heart

February 10, 2015

Fort Hood Shooting Victims to Receive Purple Heart

Military service members and veterans who were victims of the 2009 Fort Hood shootings will receive the Purple Heart according to a recent Army statement. Civilians who were Fort hood shooting victims will receive the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom.

In a written statement from the Army, it was noted that this decision was due to Congress changing the criteria for Purple Heart eligibility. This 2015 change redefined an attack by a “foreign terrorist organization” when it comes to determine who is eligible for the Purple Heart.

Army Statement Regarding Fort Hood Victims and Purple Heart

Secretary of the Army John McHugh was quoted in an Army statement saying, "The Purple Heart’s strict eligibility criteria had prevented us from awarding it to victims of the horrific attack at Fort Hood. Now that Congress has changed the criteria, we believe there is sufficient reason to allow these men and women to be awarded and recognized with either the Purple Heart or, in the case of civilians, the Defense of Freedom medal. It’s an appropriate recognition of their service and sacrifice.”

The Army's investigation of Fort Hood came to the conclusion that the convicted shooter - Maj. Nidal Hasan - “was in communication with the foreign terrorist organization before the attack” and “the attack was inspired or motivated by the foreign terrorist organization.”

Disagreement Over Purple Heart for Fort Hood Shooting Victims

But not everyone agreed with the Army's decision to give victims of the Fort Hood shooting the Purple Heart. This group opposing the decision feel like the attack was more an act of "workplace violence rather than combat."

According to a Stars and Stripes article, this issue divided military veterans groups. One group that stands firmly opposed to the Fort Hood shooting victims receiving the Purple Heart is the Military Order of the Purple Heart. The 2014 Stars and Stripes article states that this, "...organization of about 45,000 Purple Heart recipients, opposes authorizing the medal for those attacked by “one of their fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, which was clearly a case of ‘workplace violence.’"

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