BY U.S. REPRESENTATIVE TOM COTTON –
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Rick Crawford (AR-1), Tim Griffin (AR-2), Steve Womack (AR-3), and Tom Cotton (AR-4) today sent a joint letter to U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Secretary Chuck Hagel demanding that DoD complete the report required by law to review DoD eligibility for the Purple Heart to victims of the 2009 attack at Fort Hood, Texas, that killed 13 and wounded 32 individuals, and the 2009 attack outside of a Little Rock, Arkansas military recruiting station that claimed the life of Private William Andrew Long and wounded Private Quinton Ezeagwula.
This report is required by law under Section 565 of the FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The report was due to Congress no later than 180 days after President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on December 26, 2013. DoD has violated the law by not completing the report in the allotted number of days and has informed Congress that it plans to continue the delay of this report until July 2015. The letter says in part:
“Given that it has been more than 5 years since these attacks, we find it unacceptable that DoD has delayed this review for yet another year. Further, as you know, the current regulations for awarding a Purple Heart state that members of the Armed Forces who have been killed or wounded ‘after March 28, 1973, as a result of an international terrorist attack against the United States’ shall be eligible for a Purple Heart. All of the men and women killed or wounded in these attacks were victims of terrorism, targeted because they were soldiers. They deserve this recognition for their service and their sacrifice.
“The delay in this report and DoD’s insistence that these brave men and women do not deserve the honor of being awarded the Purple Heart has denied these service members and their families essential benefits that are provided to Purple Heart recipients. As members of the Armed Forces, we find this continued inaction by the DoD disgraceful, as well as unlawful, and we urge you to exercise your authority to complete this report and honor these men and women with the award they have earned.”