Fort Hood Casualties Awarded Purple Hearts and Defense of Freedom Medals

10 April 2015, FORT HOOD, TEXAS. On Friday, 10 April 2015, the surviving wounded from the 5 November 2009 shooting rampage of former Army Major Nidal Hassan, together with the families of those he killed, gathered at Fort Hood to receive Purple Heart and Defense of Freedom medals.  Lieutenant-General Sean B. MacFarland, Commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, together with Secretary of the Army, Honorable John McHugh presented these awards.  Heirs and representatives of ten of the dead received Purple Hearts, as did 26 of the surviving wounded.  The Department of the Army civilian police officer who shot and Hassan received a Defense of Freedom medal, as did the Dept of the Army civil servant Hassan killed.  Ceremonies in the communities of the other victims will honor them.

The III Corps Commander at the time, retired General Robert Cone spoke at the ceremony.  Several Texas Members of the U. S. House of Representatives and U. S. Senator John Cornyn were also present for the solemn occasion.  These members of the Texas Congressional delegation pushed through the legislative change allowing the awards to be presented for wounds and deaths that occurred at a base in the U. S., rather than on a distant battlefield.

Last year, an Army court convicted Hassan on 13 counts of murder and 31 counts of attempted murder and sentenced him to death.  He was not tried on terrorism charges. This sentence will not be carried out until the current Commander of Fort Hood reviews the trial documents and the appeals are exhausted.

General Cone called the awards a victory for the wounded and the fallen.  These awards are a step toward recognizing that terrible shooting rampage as an act of terrorism and not workplace violence.  What distinguished this attack as terrorism was Hassan’s later statements that he carried out the shootings as expression of jihad in solidarity with the Taliban and Islamist militant/terrorist groups.

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The facts came from the sources below, while the opinions are my own and not necessarily those of my employers, the National Guard, the U. S. Army or the DOD.

Sources

http://www.npr.org/2015/04/10/398824614/fort-hood-purple-heart-ceremony-honors-survivors-of-2009-shooting

http://www.forthoodpresscenter.com/go/doc/3439/2489870/

http://www.foxsanantonio.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/live-fort-hood-victims-honored-at-purple-heart-ceremony-11889.shtml#.VS0kDUJPIts

http://kxan.com/2015/04/10/fort-hood-attack-survivors-and-family-to-get-purple-hearts/

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/28/fort-hood-shooter-sentenced-death

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