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Key Criteria Needed For Approval Of Purple Heart For Servicemembers Injured Or Killed In Chattanooga

Photo Credit: Army.milPhoto Credit: Army.mil

The Marine Corps has said that the Purple Heart packets are being prepared for the Marines wounded or killed in the recent attack in Chattanooga, but as we learned waiting for the approval of the Purple Heart for those wounded or killed in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting and the 2009 Arkansas recruiting center shooting, it may take a while and is not guaranteed unless specific criteria is met.

Recent changes to the requirements in order to qualify to have the Purple Heart approved will only make approval possible if the shooter is found during the investigation to have been not only in communication with a foreign terrorist organization, but also that the attack was inspired or motivated by the foreign terrorist organization.as outlined in H.R.3979 (Carl Levin and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015).

On November 5, 2009, Army Major Nidal Hasan opened fire on Fort Hood killing 13 and wounding 32 others.  Secretary of the Army John McHugh stated that the results of the investigation into the shooting showed that Hasan “was in communication with the foreign terrorist organization before the attack,” and that his radicalization and subsequent acts could reasonably be considered to have been “inspired or motivated by the foreign terrorist organization,”. That determination meant that the Servicemembers now met the criteria for the approval of the awarding of the Purple Heart which happened this past February.

April of this year, a Soldier who was killed and one who was injured in a 2009 attack outside a Little Rock, Arkansas Army Navy recruiting office were approved for the awarding of the Purple Heart specifically because the requirements were met due to the changes to the criteria for the Purple Heart in H.R.3979.

Approval of the Purple Heart will hinge on the results of the investigation which may take a while, but if the awarding of the Purple Heart to those Servicemembers in the Fort Hood attack and the Little Rock attack shows us anything, it is that as long as they have the evidence to meet the criteria, those Servicemembers wounded or killed in Chattanooga will be presented what is rightfully owed to them once it is approved.

Remember, the following the following are two key criteria which has to be met in order to approve the Purple Heart for those from Chattanooga:

  1. the shooter is found during the investigation to have been not only in communication with a foreign terrorist organization, and
  2. that the attack was inspired or motivated by the foreign terrorist organization

 

You can read the text covering the Purple Heart from the H.R.3979 – Carl Levin and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 below or view the whole document here.

SEC. 571. MEDALS FOR MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES AND CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE WHO WERE KILLED OR WOUNDED IN AN ATTACK BY A FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANIZATION.

(a) Purple Heart.–
(1) Award.–
(A) In general.–Chapter 57 of title 10, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 1129 the following new section: “Sec. 1129a. <<NOTE: 10 USC 1129a.>> Purple Heart: members killed or wounded in attacks by foreign terrorist organizations
(a) In General.–For purposes of the award of the Purple Heart, the Secretary concerned shall treat a member of the armed forces described in subsection (b) in the same manner as a member who is killed or wounded as a result of an international terrorist attack against the United States.
(b) Covered Members.–(1) A member described in this subsection is a member on active duty who was killed or wounded in an attack by a foreign terrorist organization in circumstances where the death or wound is the result of an attack targeted on the member due to such member’s status as a member of the armed forces, unless the death or wound is the result of willful misconduct of the member.
(2) For purposes of this section, an attack by an individual or entity shall be considered to be an attack by a foreign terrorist organization if–
(A) the individual or entity was in communication with the foreign terrorist organization before the attack; and
(B) the attack was inspired or motivated by the foreign terrorist organization.

(c) Foreign Terrorist Organization Defined.–In this section, the term `foreign terrorist organization’ means an entity designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the Secretary of State pursuant to section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189).”.
(B) Clerical amendment.–The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 57 of such title <<NOTE: 10 USC prec. 1121.>> is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 1129 the following new item:  “1129a. Purple Heart: members killed or wounded in attacks by foreign terrorist organizations.”.
(2) <<NOTE: 10 USC 1129a note.>> Retroactive effective date and application.–
(A) Effective date.–The amendments made by paragraph (1) shall take effect as of September 11, 2001.
(B) Review of certain previous incidents.–The Secretary concerned shall undertake a review of each death or wounding of a member of the Armed Forces that occurred between September 11, 2001, and the date of the enactment of this Act under circumstances that could qualify as being the result of an attack described in section 1129a of title 10, United States Code (as added by paragraph (1)), to determine whether the death or wounding qualifies as a death or wounding resulting from an attack by a foreign terrorist organization for purposes of the award of the Purple Heart pursuant to such section (as so added).
(C) Actions following review.–If the death or wounding of a member of the Armed Forces reviewed under subparagraph (B) is determined to qualify as a death or wounding resulting from an attack by a foreign terrorist organization as described in section 1129a of title 10, United States Code (as so added), the Secretary concerned shall take appropriate action under such section to award the Purple Heart to the member.
(D) Secretary concerned defined.–In this paragraph, the term “Secretary concerned” has the meaning given that term in section 101(a)(9) of title 10, United States Code.

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