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Mr. CARTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I rise in support of section 552 of H.R. 4310. In fact, I rise in favor of the entire National Defense Authorization Act but specifically of this provision which justly awards the victims of Fort Hood and the Arkansas recruiting station shootings with the Purple Heart.
Mr. Chairman, I have the distinct honor of representing Fort Hood, Texas. We call it the ``Great Place.'' The day after the attack at Fort Hood, I was there. At that point in time, I began working on legislation to award combat status to the victims so that they could all receive the appropriate benefits that they deserve.
The shootings at Fort Hood and in Little Rock left 14 dead and 44 wounded. These soldiers were at a deployment processing center in Fort Hood and at a recruiting station in Arkansas when they were fired upon. Many of them at Fort Hood were getting ready to go to war or were returning from war for the reassignment to other assignments. In my opinion, the shooters extended the battlefield from Iraq and Afghanistan to Fort Hood and Little Rock in order to claim their targets before they reached their destinations in Iraq or Afghanistan.
While I am pleased to see the victims receive the Purple Heart, we should continue to work towards awarding the victims combat status and the appropriate recognition that they may deserve, including recognizing the civilians who were killed. But make no mistake, at Fort Hood, they targeted soldiers.
Mr. Chairman, in conclusion, I ask my colleagues to support this language but to continue to work towards awarding combat status for the victims as well. This is a bipartisan issue. I am very grateful to Chairman King for getting on board with this issue and for driving the force, as are all of our soldiers, and I am very grateful for the bipartisan consideration this concept had on both sides of the aisle. I support the National Defense Authorization Act. It is good for our country.
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