Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why No Purple Hearts for Fort Hood Victims?

Why not?

When it comes to combat action, anyone who has been there can tell you that combat action takes all sorts of forms.

On the morning of November 5th, 2009, a combat situation took place when a Muslim insurgent, a terrorist, a jihadist, our enemy, opened fire in a vicious attack specifically designed as an ambush to kill as many U.S. soldiers as possible at Fort Hood.

Muslim jihadists are usually motivated with the ultimate aim of spreading Islam worldwide.  Jihadists use international Islamic terrorism, guerrilla warfare, and terrorist attacks - all in the name of their prophet Muhammad and Allah.

The Jihadist insurgent at Fort Hood was supposedly one of their own.

At approximately 1:34 pm local time, Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army Major who served as a Psychiatrist entered the Soldier Readiness Processing Center where he worked, a place where personnel receive routine medical treatment immediately prior to and on return from deployment.

He was armed with the FN Five-seven pistol, which he had fitted with two Lasermax laser sights: one red, and one green. He was also armed with a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver, but was not used.

According to eyewitnesses, Nidal Malik Hasan, the U.S. Army Major who turned Muslim Terrorist, had taken a seat at an empty table and bowed his head for several seconds before suddenly standing up and yelling "Allahu Akbar!" while he opened fire.

Witnesses said Hasan initially "sprayed bullets at soldiers in a fan like motion" before taking aim at individual soldiers. Eyewitness Sgt. Michael Davis said, "The rate of fire was pretty much constant shooting. When I initially heard it it sounded like an M16."

A shooting victim being transported to a waiting ambulance Army reserve Captain John Gaffaney attempted to stop Hasan by charging him, but was mortally wounded before he could reach him.

Civilian physician assistant Michael Cahill also tried to charge Hasan with a chair, but was shot and killed. Army reserve Specialist Logan Burnette tried to stop Hasan by throwing a folding table at him, but he was shot in the left hip, fell down, and crawled to a nearby cubicle.

His intent was to target U.S. Soldiers!

According to testimony from witnesses, Nidal Malik Hasan, the U.S. Army Major who turned Muslim Terrorist, passed up several opportunities to shoot civilians - but instead purposely targeting soldiers in uniform.

At one point, Hasan reportedly approached a group of five civilians hiding under a desk. He looked at them, swept the dot of his pistol's laser sight over one of the men's faces - then turned away without firing.

Base civilian police Sergeant Kimberly Munley, who had rushed to the scene in her patrol car, encountered Hasan in the area outside the Soldier Readiness Processing Center. Major Hasan fired at Munley, who returned fire using her 9mm M9 pistol.

Munley's hand was hit by shrapnel when one of Hasan's bullets struck a nearby rain gutter, and then two bullets struck Munley - the first bullet hit her thigh, and the second hit her knee. As she began to fall from the first bullet, the second bullet struck her femur, severely shattering it and knocking her to the ground.

Hasan then calmly walked up to Munley and kicked her pistol out of reach.

As the shooting continued outside, nurses and medics entered the building, secured the doors with a belt and rushed to help the wounded.

According to the responding nurses, the blood loss inside the building was so heavy they were unable to maintain balance, and had difficulty reaching the wounded to help them.

In the area outside the building, Nidal Malik Hasan, was not done yet. He continued his attack by shooting at fleeing soldiers. The enemy was certainly there that day.

Civilian police Sergeant Mark Todd arrived and shouted commands at Hasan to surrender.

Todd later said, "Then he turned and fired a couple of rounds at me. I didn't hear him say a word, he just turned and fired."

The two exchanged fire, and Hasan fell after being hit by five shots from Todd - who then went to Hasan and kicked his pistol out of his hand and away from the maniac. As Hasan became unconscious, Todd placed him in handcuffs.

Hasan wanted to commit Mass Destruction!

An investigator later testified that 146 spent shell casings were recovered inside the building. Another 68 casings were collected outside, for a total of 214 rounds were fired by either the attacker or the responding police officers.

A medic who treated Major Hasan's wounds said that Hasan's pockets were full of pistol magazines.

When the shooting ended, he was still carrying 177 rounds of unfired ammunition in his pockets, contained in both 20- and 30-round magazines.

As a result of enemy action that day, which lasted about 10 minutes, 30 people wounded and 13 killed. All in all, 12 soldiers and one civilian. Eleven died at the scene, and two died later in a hospital.

Initially, three soldiers were believed to have been involved in the terrorist attack. Two soldiers were actually detained, but who were subsequently released.

The Fort Hood website posted a notice indicating that the terrorist attack was indeed -  not a drill.

Immediately after the shooting, the base and surrounding areas were locked down by military police and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) until around 7 pm local time. In addition, Texas Rangers, Texas DPS troopers, deputies from the Bell County Sheriff's Office, and FBI agents from Austin and Waco were dispatched.

Later, President Obama was briefed on what took place and immediately put their political machine into gear to play down the Muslim terrorist attack and depict it as a simple workplace shooting incident. I still don't understand why the Obama White House made such a concerted effort to play down the role that Hasan's Muslim faith played in his decision to kill American soldiers?

It's as if Obama just refused to acknowledge that this was an act of Islamic terrorism.

Fact is, by his own admission, Army Major Nidal Hasan waged "jihad" against American soldiers that day. So whether the Obama administration wants to call a spade a spade or not, fact is that it was a Muslim terrorist attack on our military.

The jihadist attack at Fort Hood is no different than the thwarted Muslim terrorist attack on Fort Dix. The 2008 terrorist plot to attack Fort Dix was stopped and led to the arrest and conviction of  "The Ft. Dix Six" which was a homegrown Muslim terror cell of immigrants here from Jordan, Turkey and Yugoslavia.

Fact is, Nidal Hasan's jihadist attack resulted in the first massacre of American troops on U.S. soil by Muslims in the War on Terrorism.

Fox News program "The Enemy Within" interviews Survivors.

Survivors of the Fort Hood massacre say they expected Army Major Nidal Hasan, to "come in and finish the job," according to exclusive interviews to broadcast on "Fox Files: The Enemy Within."

"I saw the muzzle of the weapon pointed at me about six feet away," Pvt. George Stratton III told Fox News in his first TV interview since the November 5th, 2009, Muslim terrorist attack that killed 13 and injured more than 43 others.

Private Stratton, who had just turned 18 years of age at the time of the attack, said the Readiness Center was turned into a battlefield bathed in blood as the wounded crawled to the exit doors to trying to save themselves.

"As soon as I got out the first set of doors, I got up to my knees, pushed the other door open and kneed my way out, and I got up to my feet," he said.

Stratton, who needed his family’s permission to enlist at the age of 17, thought he might be safe until he heard a soldier cry out that the shooter was following the wounded.

"He's coming around the corner with the gun, he's shooting and killing people," Stratton said. "I just sat there - felt helpless - felt hopeless waiting for this person to come in and finish the job."

Staff Sgt. Shawn Manning was shot six times, with one bullet narrowly missing his heart.

Manning said, he had sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States against all enemies Foreign and Domestic. Manning paused as he described the shooter.

"Domestic enemy, I mean, that’s what this was," Manning said. "He might have wore the uniform, but he wasn't a soldier. He didn't act like a soldier. He tried to kill soldiers. I mean, he was an enemy - plain and simple."

When it came to Hasan, Manning said, there was a double standard. Hasan wrote emails to radical American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki - seeking advice on reconciling his Muslim faith with serving in the Army.

Believe it or not, this fact was known to the FBI - but they did nothing about it.

And yes, Manning has a point here when he says, "You could lose your security clearance in the Army for having bad credit and be kicked out of the Army. But you can't lose your security clearance for talking to a member of Al Qaeda, through e-mail. I mean, it doesn't make any sense."

The Awards!

On November 5, 2010, one year later, 52 individuals received awards for their actions in the shooting.

The Soldier's Medal was awarded to 10 soldiers, one of which was Captain John Gaffaney, who died attempting to charge the shooter.

The Soldier's Medal is an award of the United States Army.  Per Army Regulation 600-8-22, the criteria for the Soldier's Medal are as follows: "The Soldier's Medal is awarded to any person of the Armed Forces of the United States or of a friendly foreign nation who, while serving in any capacity with the Army of the United States, distinguished himself or herself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy."

Granted that the Soldier's Medal is a honor to receive, it is held to be equal to or greater than the level which would have justified an award of the Distinguished Flying Cross had the act occurred in combat.

Any American service member who is eligible for retirement pay will receive an increase of 10 percent in retirement pay, if the level of valor was equal to that which would earn the Distinguished Service Cross.

The Soldier's Medal is the highest honor a soldier can receive for an act of valor in a non-combat situation. 
 
But friends, this was a combat action no different than if it took place in Afghanistan or Iraq or wherever else our troops are in harm's way. This was an enemy attack.
 
This is no different than when Sgt. Hasan Akbar, of the 101st Airborne Division, attacked Army Captain Christopher Seifert and Air Force Major Gregory Stone, as well as wounding 14 fellow soldiers in March 2003 in Kuwait at the beginning of the war in Iraq.
 
That attack occurred at Camp Pennsylvania, Kuwait, a rear base camp. There, Sgt Akbar threw four hand grenades into three tents during the early morning when the majority of troops were sleeping - and then opened fired on his fellow soldiers with his rifle during the ensuing chaos.
 
The situation in Fort Hood is no different in circumstance, just location.
 
Thankfully, the Secretary of the Army Award for Valor was awarded to police officers Kimberly Munley and Mark Todd, for the roles they played in stopping the shooter.

On May 23, 2011, the Army Award for Valor was also posthumously awarded to civilian physician assistant Michael Cahill, who died attempting to charge Major Hasan with a chair.

So why no Purple Hearts?

Why haven't the Soldiers wounded or killed in that terrorist attack received Purple Hearts?

The Purple Heart differs from all other U.S. military decorations in that an individual is not "recommended" for the decoration. It is strictly based on whether he or she is entitled to it upon meeting specific criteria.

Per United States Army regulation 600-8-22: the Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Services after April 5, 1917, has been wounded or killed.

Current active duty personnel are awarded the Purple Heart upon recommendation from their chain of command, stating the injury that was received, and the action in which the service member was wounded.

The award authority for the Purple Heart is normally at the level of an Army Brigade, Marine Corps Division, Air Force Wing, or Navy Task Force.

While the award of the Purple Heart is considered automatic for all wounds received in combat, each award presentation must still be reviewed to ensure that the wounds received were as a result of enemy action.

Despite calls from some members of Congress, none of the wounded or murdered soldiers from the 2009 terrorist attack at Fort Hood - the action in which the service member was wounded or killed - have been awarded the Purple Heart.

In my opinion, this should be corrected. It needs to be made right!


Story by Tom Correa

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