Language added to the National Defense Authorization Act on Wednesday night would allow victims of the 2009 Fort Hood shooting to receive Purple Heart Medals.
During the House Armed Services Committee’s markup of the fiscal year 2015 authorization act, Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Midland, offered the amendment on behalf of Reps. John Carter, R-Round Rock, and Roger Williams, R-Austin, according to a release from Carter’s office. The committee voted by voice to adopt the amendment unanimously, showing strong bipartisan support.
The amendment’s passage is still pending full House approval, followed by the Senate.
“Last night was a tremendous victory for the victims and families of the 2009 Fort Hood terror attack,” Carter said in a release Thursday.
“By adopting this amendment we will provide the benefits, the recognition, and hopefully some closure to the victims and their families, all of whom have experienced unimaginable pain and hardship.”
In the Nov. 5, 2009, Fort Hood shooting, former Army Maj. Nidal Hasan gunned down dozens of unarmed soldiers, killing 13 people and wounding 32.
The amendment would adjust the Purple Heart criteria so that service members and civilians, who experience an attack inspired by or motivated by a U.S. State Department-designated foreign terrorist organization, could receive Purple Heart Medals or the civilian equivalent.
The provision would be retroactively effective as of Sept. 11, 2001.
Amendments with the same intentions were also added to the authorization act in years 2013 and 2014.
This year’s language is different, Carter’s office said.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has proposed sister legislation in the Senate and he “applauded” the House committee’s inclusion of the amendment.
“The 2009 Fort Hood victims should be eligible for all the honors and benefits available to U.S. troops who fall victim to an international terrorist attack, especially Purple Heart medals, and this would make that a reality,” he said in a release.
Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here. You can contact Rose L. Thayer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.