|The Purple Heart|
I have to admit this is an emotional issue for the military community and being part of that community it hit me hard when the "terrorist attack" occurred at Ft Hood in 2009. Watching the story of the court martial of the terrorist while he continues to draw his salary as a US Army soldier is just disgusting. Compare that to the families of those killed during the attack who have been denied many benefits because of how the Army categorized the attack! Their pay stopped the minute that the terrorist's bullets ended the lives of their soldiers.
The story that finally went over the top for me was the court martial testimony concerning Spc. Frederick Greene! Specialist Greene was shot 12 times while charging the shooter. A shooter who was declaring "Allahu Akbar" (God is the Greatest in Arabic) while spraying semi automatic fire at unarmed soldiers and civilians. Greene will receive no Purple Heart (How about a Medal of Honor?) or other decorations for his bravery because of a decision politicized in our Nation's capital! But the Boston bombers are charged with terrorism (in a similar extremist Islamic attack) > tell me, what is the difference?
Is it possible that the government has less respect for the lives of our soldiers than civilians involved in other terrorist attacks such as the Boston Marathon attack? Where is the Commander in Chief on this issue? Why did the Army Chief of Staff not stand up for his soldiers and their families during this event? I am simply confounded by this decision.
A critical piece of data is the criteria published by the Department of Defense for the Purple Heart. Note the last piece of the criteria: "... or as a result of an act of international terrorism".
"Background: The Badge of Military Merit established by George Washington on Aug. 7, 1782, was revived as the Purple Heart by War Department General Orders Number 3 on Feb. 22, 1932. Criteria: The Purple Heart may be awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the Armed Forces, has been wounded, killed, or who has died or may die of wounds received in armed combat or as a result of an act of international terrorism." Reference: http://ourmilitaryheroes.defense.gov/medalInformation.html
So the Army families wait for justice for almost four years; the heroes are still not recognized and many are denied benefits they deserve! I think it is time that the Army and DoD leadership take a stand for their soldiers' sake!
Col K is a retired Air Force pilot who served with the best of the military community from the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force. He flew combat rescue and special operations helicopters, fixed wing trainers and airlift and retired while flying the C-17 as the Vice Wing Commander of the 62nd Airlift Wing at McChord AFB. He enjoys writing about military issues and is a frequent contributor to the the DoD Blogger Roundtable at DoDLive. A member of a proud military family that created MilitaryAvenue.com to support the troops and their families, he enjoys the continued military ties from blogging.