SGT. SHAFT: Distinguished Warfare Medal to outrank Bronze Star, Purple Heart
• Rep. John R. Carter, Texas Republican, is re-introducing two bills, one that would help the families of the victims of the Fort Hood shooting receive benefits they deserve and another bill would protect soldiers and defense employees from retaliation for reporting radical Islamic threats.
Major Nidal Hasan is awaiting trial for the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting deaths of 14 people, including 12 service members, one civilian employee and an unborn child. Thirty-two people were injured in that attack.
The Fort Hood Families Benefits Protection Act, HR 625, would award the military and civilian casualties of the 2009 Fort Hood attack the same status that was awarded to the casualties of the Pentagon attack on Sept. 11, 2001. All of the casualties would be eligible for the Purple Heart Award or the Department of Defense civilian award equivalent.
The Military Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, HR 4267, would prevent service members and civilian defense employees, who alert the Department of Defense investigation or law enforcement of radical Islamic and other ideological terror threats, from being persecuted for political correctness.
“The men and women serving our country, whether in uniform or civilian clothes, should not have to face disciplinary retaliation and action for reporting what they see as security threats,” Mr. Carter said. “Failure to report such suspicions could be devastating to this nation. We cannot let another shooting, like the one that happened on Fort Hood, happen again.”
Both bills were introduced last session but did not make it through the approval process. Mr. Carter says the Secretary of Defense has the authority to grant casualty status and since Secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta refused, hopes this is a question asked of their replacement in the upcoming confirmation hearings for the next Secretary of Defense.
• The Armed Services YMCA has been awarded a $200,000 grant from Newman’s Own Foundation, the independent foundation created by the late actor and philanthropist, Paul Newman. The award to Armed Services YMCA reflects the ongoing commitment of Newman’s Own Foundation to organizations serving military service personnel, veterans and their families.
Mike Landers, president and CEO, said: “The impact this funding will have on our military families and their children is immeasurable. These funds will provide hundreds of military children with learning and bonding opportunities, coping mechanisms to help them deal with the challenges of military life, as well as memories that will last a lifetime.”
• Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330, call 202/257-5446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.