The casualties of the radical Islamic terror attack on Fort Hood, Texas on November 5, 2009 should be granted the same combat status as the victims of the radical Islamic terror attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, says Congressman John Carter (R-TX31).
Carter, Co-Chairman of the House Army Caucus, today asked Members of the House Armed Services Committee to again incorporate the Fort Hood Victims and Families Benefits Protection Act into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Committee added language from the Carter legislation to last year's NDAA.
Carter told Committee Members that, "those injured or killed in terrorist acts, whether in combat zones or on U.S. soil, have sacrificed their lives or health for this country and the very least we can do for their eternal sacrifice is ensure that they or their family will be taken care of and protected."
The former Texas judge, who represents the Fort Hood area, has authored multiple legislative efforts to support victims of the attack, improve security measures against similar incidents at U.S. military installations, and eliminate the gagging effect of political correctness on military whistleblowers who might help identify radicalized service members before they commit future attacks.
The shooting left 14 dead and 32 wounded, and was identified as the "deadliest terrorist attack within the United States since September 11, 2001," by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs report.
The Carter bill would deem the Fort Hood attack to have occurred in a combat zone during a contingency operation, and at the hands of a terrorist and enemy of the United States. The designation would provide all casualties with the same benefits and eligibilities as if the attack occurred in a combat zone. Benefits would include eligibility to receive the Purple Heart and the comparable civilian award at the discretion of the Secretary of Defense, without changing any existing Purple Heart criteria, the same treatment as that afforded the 9-11 casualties at the Pentagon.
Combat status would also provide for combat-related special compensation upon retirement; expenses incident to the death of a DOD civilian serving a in a contingency operation; provisions relating to unearned portions of bonuses; special pay for subjection to hostile fire or imminent danger; combat-related injury rehabilitation pay; continuation of special pay during hospitalization/rehabilitation; payment for meals at military treatment facilities; provisions relating to deductions for pay; and multiple tax provisions.