Friday, February 27, 2015

Purple Hearts For Fort Hood Soldiers But What About Longer Lasting Wounds?

Finally Fort Hood Soldiers shot by one of their own will received Purple Hearts.

It has been a long time coming. CNN reported on this effort from Congress back on November 17, 2009.

The bill was introduced by Texas GOP Rep. John Carter, who represents Fort Hood in the House of Representatives.

"As far as I'm concerned, this was an attack by an enemy upon American troops on American soil," Carter said Tuesday at a Capitol Hill news conference.

The Daily Star out of New York reported this yesterday and was shared by Military Times.
The bill "is about giving soldiers the benefits that other soldiers get when they are unfortunate enough to be killed or wounded in a combat zone."
But it was back on domestic soil on Nov. 5, 2009 where he would experience the most dangerous, violent and horrific experience of his military career. It was then that the Texas base from where he was preparing to deploy once again, this time to Afghanistan, became the backdrop for a massacre.

"I can remember it like it was yesterday," Cooke, the divorced father of two young sons, said Wednesday when contacted by The Daily Star at his mother's home near Charlotte, N.C. On that day, Cooke had gone to the Soldier Readiness Center at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, to deal with matters for his upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

He never made it to Afghanistan, and he almost didn't make it through that day.
"Matt doesn't trust people anymore because he was shot by one of his own," said Frappier, whose children include two daughters, Christina and Kimberly, the latter a resident of Oneonta. "When he lay on the floor in that building, so many people ran right past him. In his mind, he is going to be shot again."

He was shot by someone he was supposed to trust with his life and as a psychiatrist, in a position where many were supposed to trust him with their mental health. The damage done goes far beyond the bullets and the graves he filled or the number of days the wounded had to face recovering. The aftermath of the Fort Hood massacre is a never ending story of massive failures.

No one has reported on how many soldiers were treated by this terrorist. No one has tried to figure out how many of them committed suicide or died because of medications tied to this man who was responsible for their care. No one investigated how many got divorced, how many families broke apart or how many veterans lost their ability to trust anyone at anytime.

I was thinking about this most of the day and remembered the spike in suicides after this horrible day at Fort Hood.

By September of 2010 Fort Hood reported a record number of suicides with 4 in one weekend. By 2011 suicides at Fort Hood were higher.
Authorities found Giger, 42, of Houston dead in his apartment near Fort Hood, hanging by necktie. He was one of at least 22 GIs from the post to commit suicide in 2010.

The Fort Hood mark is a new record for the post and contributed to the Army’s worst year for suicides. There was, however, a sign of hope in the grim tally. Slightly fewer active-duty soldiers died by their own hand compared with 2009. But there was bad news, too: The number of suicides in the National Guard and Army Reserve rose sharply.

But it got worse and in 2013 there was this report, mostly forgotten to the rest of the news coverage.
While he was not one of the 13 soldiers who lost their lives or the 32 others who were struck by bullets, Josh Berry struggled through years of pain and suffering caused by the attack before he couldn't handle it anymore, family members said.

The Mason native committed suicide on Feb. 13, 2013, a result of years of post-traumatic stress caused by the Fort Hood shooting, according to his father.

Howard Berry knew soon after the attack that his son was a changed man. While it would be several years before he had to endure the pain of burying his son, he believes a part of his son died during the attack.

Will his family get a Purple Heart in his honor as well? Will any of the others?

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