Lawmakers pledge to bring benefits to Fort Hood victims.

Print
Email
|

by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on September 2, 2013 at 6:17 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 2 at 6:48 PM

Thirteen men and women were killed in the Fort Hood massacre in 2009. But nearly four years later, the dead and the 32 others who were wounded don't have the same benefits and awards as soldiers hurt or killed in combat.

Three lawmakers from Texas want to change that.

It's an issue that has many Americans and certainly the victims and their families outraged.

The Pentagon made the decision to classify the shooting as "workplace violence," thus denying battlefield benefits to the dozens of dead and wounded.

It appears now that designation is on its way to being changed.

The case is laid out in a privately produced video by victims of the shooting called "The Truth About Fort Hood."

For the 13 killed and the more than 30 injured, getting battlefield honors and benefits has been difficult or denied.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn along with Texas congressmen John Carter and Roger Williams met in Killeen Monday to make the announcement so many have waited for.

"As a country, we must insure that the dead and the wounded and the families of the victims receive the full honors and benefits that are bestowed upon soldiers who are killed in the line of duty overseas in a combat zone," Sen. Cornyn said, adding that he and the two congressmen are proposing legislation that would reverse the Pentagon's designation of Nidal Hasan's 2009 attack as "workplace violence."

"Nobody in America thinks this is workplace violence," Rep. Williams said. "They know and they knew it was a terrorist attack."

The new law would be called "Honoring the Fort Hood Heroes Act," and it will be introduced when Congress returns next week.

All three lawmakers are confident it will overwhelmingly pass, giving the deceased and injured combat compensation, life insurance, tax breaks and military honors.

Leila Hunt-Willingham, the surviving sister of Specialist J.D. Hunt, says the action is overdue.

"Some have bullets that remain in their bodies; some have physical pain and handicaps that inhibit their daily activity; most have emotional trauma that will understandably never go away," she said.

The three lawmakers say they tried to introduce legislation earlier, but were advised to wait until the Hasan trial was over.

Now that that part of the story has concluded, the lawmakers pledge to make sure all benefits will be restored and made retroactive to the day of the attack.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

Print
Email
|