A week after dozens of victims of the 2009 Fort Hood shooting were awarded Purple Heart medals, Army Secretary John McHugh announced Thursday that those victims will also receive all possible benefits that come along with the honors.
“After making the determination that the victims of the Fort Hood attack are now eligible for the Purple Heart, it seems only right and fair that these soldiers also receive the benefits it traditionally entails,” McHugh said in a statement Thursday.
Those benefits include hostile fire compensation for medal recipients wounded in the attack, and payment for retired soldiers with combat-related disabilities.
In November 2009, former Maj. Nidal Hasan opened fire at the Central Texas military base, killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 others. Hasan was sentenced to death in 2013.
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At a ceremony in Killeen last week, victims and surviving family members expressed gratitude for finally receiving Purple Hearts after waiting more than five years, but cautioned that the road to recovery is far from over. Some of the soldiers have had difficulty claiming compensation for their injuries, and others have been frustrated by the federal government’s resistance to label the shooting an act of terrorism — the Army initially classified the attack as workplace violence.
The Fort Hood victims became eligible for Purple Hearts after Congress expanded eligibility for the award in December.