Fort Hood Shooting Victims, Families Deserve Full Compensation, Benefits

Senator John Cornyn
2013-08-20 11:18:05
THE LONESTAR WEEKLY Senator Cornyn�s E-Newsletter The Lonestar Weekly* *Fort Hood Shooting Victims, Families Deserve Full Compensation, Benefits* *'We have a sacred obligation to take care of those among us who are willing to put themselves in harm�s way so that the rest of us can live free and peaceful'* � *The following op-ed by Senator John Cornyn first appeared in the�*Killeen Daily Herald [link 1]: As the trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan draws the eyes of the nation, let us direct that attention to those who deserve it: the victims and their families. The strength and resilience of the Fort Hood community is legendary. No U.S. military installation has deployed more troops into overseas theaters of combat since Sept. 11, 2001, than Fort Hood, and none have endured more combat casualties in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Twelve soldiers and one civilian were killed at Fort Hood on that November day in 2009. Over 30 were injured. Among the dead were Michael Cahill, a 62-year-old civilian physician assistant, and Capt. John Gaffaney, 56, who were shot down as they charged the shooter. Their bravery and their heroism saved lives. Also among the dead was Francheska Velez, a 21-year-old private first class who served honorably in Iraq. She was six weeks pregnant. These men and women came from all walks of life and every corner of the nation, but they were bound together by a love of country and a desire to serve. As a country, we must ensure that the dead, the wounded, and the families of the victims receive the full honors and benefits bestowed upon soldiers who are wounded or killed in overseas combat zones and their families. Unfortunately, we have not yet lived up to that commitment. To date, no Purple Hearts or the civilian counterpart, the Medal for the Defense of Freedom, have been awarded to the victims. Many of the benefits associated with serving in overseas combat zones have been similarly withheld. Benefits like hostile fire pay and special compensation for combat-related disabilities. And families of victims are being denied the additional life insurance benefits and associated tax relief that they are due. This is wrong, and it requires our immediate attention. To that end, I am currently drafting legislation that would make the Fort Hood victims and their families eligible for all the honors and benefits available to their comrades serving in overseas combat zones. This is not completely without precedent. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Department of Defense awarded the Purple Heart to victims in uniform and the Medal for the Defense of Freedom to their civilian colleagues. The Fort Hood victims deserve equal treatment. Looking forward, I am optimistic that my legislation will garner broad, bipartisan support and be adopted in the upcoming defense authorization bill. There is nothing remotely political about this issue. It�s about honoring the victims and providing assistance to them and their loved ones. We are a nation at war, and the location in which our men and women in uniform come under hostile fire should not unduly prejudice them and their families from receiving the full honors, recognition and benefits associated with their courageous service. As a country, we have a sacred obligation to take care of those among us who are willing to put themselves in harm�s way so that the rest of us can live free and peaceful lives. We must not let them down. News Releases* *August 16:�Cornyn Op-Ed: Obamacare and the Rule of Law [link 2] August 15:�Cornyn: Admin�s Misplaced Priorities Impede Meal Service For Wounded Warriors At Walter Reed [link 3] August 14:�Cornyn Op-Ed: Long Border Entry Wait Times Hurt Our Economy [link 4] August 13:�Cornyn: Make Delays Permanent [link 5] August 12:�U.S. Senator John Cornyn letter: Defund and repeal Obamacare [link 6] August 9:�Cornyn Op-Ed: Obama's Economic Plan Continues Tepid Recovery [link 7] August 8:�Cornyn Op-Ed: Voter ID Protects Voter Equality [link 8] August 5: Cornyn: Cancel All Contracts With Russian Firm Arming Assad [link 9] August 5: Cornyn Op-Ed: Someone to Speak For and Protect Sexual Assault Victims [link 10] August 2: Cornyn Applauds CBP Efforts to Improve Texas Ports of Entry [link 11] * Social Media* Sen. Cornyn regularly updates his profiles with the latest news and developments from around Texas and Capitol Hill. [image = cornyn.enews.senate.gov/images/twitter.gif] [link 12]� [image = cornyn.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/instagram-logo-icon.jpg] [link 13]�� [image = cornyn.enews.senate.gov/images/facebook.gif] [link 14]� [image = cornyn.enews.senate.gov/images/youtube.gif] [link 15]� [image = cornyn.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/Flickr.png] [link 16] Texas Times Column* *August 5: Texas� Very Own Royal Heir [link 17]* *July 25: Experiencing Texas� Natural Beauty [link 18] July 1: A Day to Reflect and Recommit Ourselves to America�s Founding Ideals [link 19] May 24: Honoring the Fallen in Smithville, TX [link 20] April 23: Courage and Grace in West, Texas [link 21] March 18: Honoring Montford Point Marine Calvin Curtis [link 22] February 28: A Moment Bigger Than The Game [link 23] February 20: Texas Treasure Returns to the Alamo [link 24] February 5: Honoring Members of our Greatest Generation [link 25] January 28: Remembering the Crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia [link 26] �* �

Fort Hood Shooting Victims, Families Deserve Full Compensation, Benefits
'We have a sacred obligation to take care of those among us who are willing to put themselves in harm�s way so that the rest of us can live free and peaceful'

 

The following op-ed by Senator John Cornyn first appeared in the :

As the trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan draws the eyes of the nation, let us direct that attention to those who deserve it: the victims and their families.

The strength and resilience of the Fort Hood community is legendary. No U.S. military installation has deployed more troops into overseas theaters of combat since Sept. 11, 2001, than Fort Hood, and none have endured more combat casualties in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Twelve soldiers and one civilian were killed at Fort Hood on that November day in 2009. Over 30 were injured.

Among the dead were Michael Cahill, a 62-year-old civilian physician assistant, and Capt. John Gaffaney, 56, who were shot down as they charged the shooter. Their bravery and their heroism saved lives.

Also among the dead was Francheska Velez, a 21-year-old private first class who served honorably in Iraq. She was six weeks pregnant.

These men and women came from all walks of life and every corner of the nation, but they were bound together by a love of country and a desire to serve.

As a country, we must ensure that the dead, the wounded, and the families of the victims receive the full honors and benefits bestowed upon soldiers who are wounded or killed in overseas combat zones and their families.

Unfortunately, we have not yet lived up to that commitment. To date, no Purple Hearts or the civilian counterpart, the Medal for the Defense of Freedom, have been awarded to the victims. Many of the benefits associated with serving in overseas combat zones have been similarly withheld. Benefits like hostile fire pay and special compensation for combat-related disabilities. And families of victims are being denied the additional life insurance benefits and associated tax relief that they are due.

This is wrong, and it requires our immediate attention. To that end, I am currently drafting legislation that would make the Fort Hood victims and their families eligible for all the honors and benefits available to their comrades serving in overseas combat zones.

This is not completely without precedent. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Department of Defense awarded the Purple Heart to victims in uniform and the Medal for the Defense of Freedom to their civilian colleagues. The Fort Hood victims deserve equal treatment.

Looking forward, I am optimistic that my legislation will garner broad, bipartisan support and be adopted in the upcoming defense authorization bill. There is nothing remotely political about this issue. It�s about honoring the victims and providing assistance to them and their loved ones.

We are a nation at war, and the location in which our men and women in uniform come under hostile fire should not unduly prejudice them and their families from receiving the full honors, recognition and benefits associated with their courageous service.

As a country, we have a sacred obligation to take care of those among us who are willing to put themselves in harm�s way so that the rest of us can live free and peaceful lives. We must not let them down.

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Sen. Cornyn regularly updates his profiles with the latest news and developments from around Texas and Capitol Hill.

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