Should the victims of Fort Hood receive a Purple Heart?

Bill Mattocks

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Here's a good one for ya:

http://www.legion.org/troops/3597/should-victims-fort-hood-receive-purple-heart

Yes because they were victims of an enemy attack in the war on terror.

Yes, as an exception to the standard procedure for awarding the Purple Heart, due to the unique circumstances of the incident.

No because this was a crime and not an act of terror.

No because the Purple Heart should only be awarded for those wounded on the field of battle in a combat theater.
You can 'vote' at the link above. I have to be honest - I have a member of the American Legion, but I have not 'voted' on this. I'm not sure how I feel about Purple Hearts in this case. Yes, I think it was an act of terror - that is beginning to become clear now. But what of those injured in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon? Did they get the Purple Heart (I ask because I do not know, not being rhetorical here). I could understand just about any answer to this one.

More info...
http://burnpit.legion.org/2009/11/t...the-fort-hood-purple-heart-medal-discussions/
 

Archangel M

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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 5 April 1917, has been wounded or killed, or who has died or may hereafter die after being wounded as follows:

1. In any action against an enemy of the United States.
2.
In any action with an opposing armed force of a foreign country in which the Armed Forces of the United States are or have been engaged.
3.
While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.
4.
As a result of an act of any such enemy of opposing armed forces.
5.
As the result of an act of any hostile foreign force
6.
After 28 March 1973, as a result of an international terrorist attack against the United States or a foreign nation friendly to the United States, recognized as such an attack by the Secretary of the Army, or jointly by the Secretaries of the separate armed services concerned if persons from more than one service are wounded in the attack.
7.
After 28 March 1973, as a result of military operations while serving outside the territory of the United States as part of a peacekeeping force.
 

Archangel M

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So if it doesn't fit those criteria, no. If it does, yes.
 
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Bill Mattocks

Bill Mattocks

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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 5 April 1917, has been wounded or killed, or who has died or may hereafter die after being wounded as follows:

1. In any action against an enemy of the United States.
2.
In any action with an opposing armed force of a foreign country in which the Armed Forces of the United States are or have been engaged.
3.
While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.
4.
As a result of an act of any such enemy of opposing armed forces.
5.
As the result of an act of any hostile foreign force
6.
After 28 March 1973, as a result of an international terrorist attack against the United States or a foreign nation friendly to the United States, recognized as such an attack by the Secretary of the Army, or jointly by the Secretaries of the separate armed services concerned if persons from more than one service are wounded in the attack.
7.
After 28 March 1973, as a result of military operations while serving outside the territory of the United States as part of a peacekeeping force.

OK, so how does #4 work in this case? Is Major Hasan an enemy of the United States? There is no 'opposing armed forces' in the sense that we have no declared war against any nation, but we do award the Purple Heart to those injured in Iraq and Afghanistan - there is no 'opposing armed forces' in the usual sense.
 

Archangel M

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I don't know if a soldier in your own military qualifies. Did the soldiers injured in the "fragging" incident early in the war get PH's?
 

MBuzzy

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While there may be an exception made in this case, I seriously doubt it. This is technically a friendly fire incident or a simple homicide and soldiers generally don't get Purple Hearts for friendly fire.

Although, I knew someone who got a purple heart because while sleeping in his tent, on a deployed installation, a mortar flew into the tent, detonated near him and he took two pieces of shrapnel in the arm. It was hostile fire...
 

kungfu penguin

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absolutley yes people have gotten them from friendly fire why not from a jerk that needed HELP! they deserve it!
 

Carol

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Pat Tillman was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, Silver Star, and a promotion, and he was reportedly killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan.
 

MBuzzy

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Ah, but it depends on the definition of Friendly Fire....to receive a purple heart, they have to be injured or killed by friendly fire as a result of enemy action. In other words, the "friendly fire" has to be aimed at the enemy and unintentionally wounds the soldier. It also has to happen in a combat zone, while engaged in hostile fire.

Of course, there are always exceptions, but recall that awards such as this are governed by regulations, which are generally pretty strict, particularly Army Regs. The Purple Heart is guided by Army Regulation 600-8-22, Paragraph 2-8.

(b) individuals wounded or killed as a result of "friendly fire" in the "heat of battle" will be awarded the purple heart as long as the "friendly" projectile or agent was released with the full intent of inflicting damage or destroying enemy troops or equipment.

(b) a member described in this subsection is a member who is killed or wounded in action by weapon fire while directly engaged in armed conflict, other than as the result of an act of an enemy of the united states, unless (in the case of a wound) the wound is the result of willful misconduct of the member.

The PH medal can legally be authorized to only three groups of personnel:


  1. [*]One, those wounded or injured as a direct result of hostile enemy action.
    [*]Second, those wounded or injured as a direct result of friendly fire (FF). (Broadly speaking, FF occurs only during a hostile encounter or initiative with, or in response to, an enemy when someone on your side mistakes you for the enemy.) Or when injured by your own non-projectile weapon (bayonet, sword, blunt instrument, etc.) or projectile weapons fire (bullet, explosive device, etc) while engaging, responding to or attacking an enemy.
    [*]And third, POWs injured or wounded as a result of individually directed conflict or punishment with their captor in violation of any article of the Geneva Convention Rules of Warfare Concerning the Treatment of Prisoners of War whether or not the captor's government is a signatory to the Convention.
 

MBuzzy

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absolutley yes people have gotten them from friendly fire why not from a jerk that needed HELP! they deserve it!

Here's the thing.....as much as I WANT to say "Hell yes they deserve it! They should get every honor possible." I know that the Purple heart is generally not reserved for this type of situation. As I said, there ARE exceptions and I do hope that they get it.

You just have to realize that if it is awarded, it is for one of two reasons. 1) An exception to policy was mad 2) The awarding official (The President) determined that this was in fact an act of terror as a result of a war.

Unfortunately, as I see it, this is a crime. He was a psychopath and was seriously unbalanced....and he committed homicide.
 

MBuzzy

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Pat Tillman was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, Silver Star, and a promotion, and he was reportedly killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan.

He was.....during an enemy attack, as the result of Blue Forces intending to fire on the enemy.
 

MA-Caver

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Unfortunately, as I see it, this is a crime. He was a psychopath and was seriously unbalanced....and he committed homicide.
I agree with this because he had not covertly or openly declared himself as an enemy or allied with an known enemy of the U.S. and it was not in a COMBAT situation. Combat being war time engagements against a known enemy of the U.S.
 

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I don't know if a soldier in your own military qualifies. Did the soldiers injured in the "fragging" incident early in the war get PH's?

From what I am able to find, those soldiers wounded and killed in the 2003 grenade/rifle attack in Kuwait have not been awarded the Purple Heart. They were attacked by a sergeant in their own unit who had some claims like the Fort Hood killer.

Soldiers in combat who were killed by friendly fire (Pat Tillman) or injured in accidents in a combat zone (Max Cleland) have been awarded the Purple Heart.

I believe both the Kuwait victims and those in Fort Hood do qualify, but obviously the successive Sec Defs aren't calling me for an opinion.....
 

MBuzzy

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I believe both the Kuwait victims and those in Fort Hood do qualify, but obviously the successive Sec Defs aren't calling me for an opinion.....

Based on the Army regulations quoted earlier, in what way do you feel that they qualify?

Even if he is ruled as a terrorist, a terrorist attack no our own soil doesn't really fit the standards for a PH.
 

grydth

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I have to respectfully disagree with you on the question of a terrorist attack on American soil not qualifying one for the Purple Heart.

It appears that at least one senior NCO, MSgt Noel Sepulveda, received both the Airman's Medal and the Purple Heart for his actions at the Pentagon on 9/11.

Further, as the military has been handing out the Global War on Terrorism Medal for quite some time, it would appear by inference that geographical location is no longer dispositive.

I do not believe that the enemy being in friendly uniform is determinative, either. American soldiers have been murdered by agents or turncoats in friendly uniform in Iraq on multiple occasions- would anyone expect those soldiers not to get the Purple Heart? The mere fact that the terrorist infiltrates our forces makes it no less of an act of terrorism when the killer strikes.

I am not one for changing rules for awards based on sympathy, emotion or anything else. I simply believe these soldiers were killed and wounded per paragraph (4), and that this attack should be define for what it was which would then qualify under (6)
 

Carol

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Philosophically speaking (which really has nothing to do with the Army...LOL) I don't think they qualify.

To me the purple heart, the bronze star, the silver star etc. have gone to war fighting enemies that we can't see and doing things that may never get any notice in the civilian world.

The Ft. Hood victims received a lot of notice for what they did. In addition, the fallen and the wounded are likely going to have more of a public and financial outpouring of support than the servicepeople KIA or injured abroad.
 

MBuzzy

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I have to respectfully disagree with you on the question of a terrorist attack on American soil not qualifying one for the Purple Heart.

It appears that at least one senior NCO, MSgt Noel Sepulveda, received both the Airman's Medal and the Purple Heart for his actions at the Pentagon on 9/11.

Further, as the military has been handing out the Global War on Terrorism Medal for quite some time, it would appear by inference that geographical location is no longer dispositive.

I do not believe that the enemy being in friendly uniform is determinative, either. American soldiers have been murdered by agents or turncoats in friendly uniform in Iraq on multiple occasions- would anyone expect those soldiers not to get the Purple Heart? The mere fact that the terrorist infiltrates our forces makes it no less of an act of terrorism when the killer strikes.

I am not one for changing rules for awards based on sympathy, emotion or anything else. I simply believe these soldiers were killed and wounded per paragraph (4), and that this attack should be define for what it was which would then qualify under (6)

It really comes down to a question of interpretation of the reg and the "circumstances of the incident."

For this to qualify under paragraph 4, the murderer must be recognized as an "enemy of opposing armed forces." And for it to qualify under paragraph 6, the incident would have to be "recognized as such an attack by the Secretary of Army" "as the result of an international terrorist attack against the United States" and as far as I know, he hasn't made that ruling.

I would agree that geographic location isn't necessarily an issue any more, but the attack must be classified as an attack on American forces. If this is ruled as such, then it fits the requirements for a purple heart.

Has it been determined that he was in fact a "plant" of some terrorist force? Or was he just a mal-adjusted psychopath that chose to murder a bunch of innocent people. that distinction makes a huge difference.

I feel that the bottom line here is that purple hearts are intended to recognize soldiers wounded in the course of battle. The people wounded were not in the course of battle, they were innocent and murdered in cold blood - unarmed. It was a tragedy......i'm just still not sure if they should get PH's.
 
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