Petri Joins Push to Label Fort Hood Shooting “Act of Terrorism,” Honor Victims

Sep 17, 2013 Issues: Veterans, Defense and National Security

Washington, D.C.—Today, U.S. Representative Tom Petri (R-WI) joined Representative John Carter (R-TX) and over 100 other House members in introducing the Honoring the Fort Hood Heroes Act.  The bipartisan bill would declare that the attack at Fort Hood was an act of terrorism, require the Army to award Purple Hearts and Secretary of Defense Medals of Freedom (for civilians) to victims, and allow victims and their families to be eligible for appropriate combat-related benefits.

Currently, the Fort Hood attack is classified as a “workplace violence” incident which precludes military awards and benefits to soldiers who were killed or wounded on November 5, 2009.

Six soldiers from Wisconsin were among the service members killed or wounded at Fort Hood, three of whom are from Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District:

  • Sergeant Amy Krueger from Kiel was killed in action.  Sgt. Krueger joined the service in response to 9/11, served in Afghanistan, and took as her motto, “All gave some, some gave all. Sacrifice."
  • Captain Russell Seager from Mount Pleasant was killed in action.
  • Private First Class Amber Gadlin (formerly Amber Bahr) from Random Lake was shot in the back during the attack but still managed to apply a tourniquet to a fellow soldier and drag another to safety.
  • Specialist Grant Moxon, a mental specialist from Lodi, was shot while filling out paperwork in a waiting room.
  • Sergeant John Pagel of Denzer.
  • Captain Dorrie Carskadon of Madison.

“This terrible tragedy still looms in the recent memory for many of us,” Petri said.  “It’s a shame these soldiers—who were attacked by a self-proclaimed enemy of the United States—cannot receive the medals and benefits they deserve because of the way the incident is classified.  It’s bureaucratic and political. This is an attack where our men and women in uniform lost their lives and have lingering effects from their injuries.  It’s only right that this be called what it was, an act of terrorism, and those heroes be rightly honored.”

Petri attended the memorial service at Fort Hood in 2009 and said at the time he was “anguished” by the death of Amy Krueger and “mourned the loss” of Captain Russell Seager.

“Wisconsin lost two proud soldiers that day, and others fortunately survived their injuries,” said Petri.  “This is simply the right thing to do.”

Previously, the Pentagon indicated it had concerns about classifying the attack as an act of terrorism because of the ongoing trial of Nidal Malik Hasan, the shooter.  Hasan was convicted on August 23, 2013, on all counts, and sentenced to death on August 28, 2013.

Military service members and their families are traditionally eligible for awards and benefits when killed or wounded in a combat zone.  However, the federal government set historic precedent when it awarded military victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks with Purple Hearts, as well as honoring civilian victims with the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom award.  This precedent should be followed for the Fort Hood attack.

The Honoring the Fort Hood Heroes Act is a companion bill to Senator John Cornyn’s (R-TX) legislation, introduced last week.