Sometimes heroes are not recognized when they should be. The case of COL (RET) Kathy Platoni, and her fellow survivors and victims of the Ft. Hood Terrorist Attack of November, 2009, is a sad example of this. The prevalence of political correctness is not helping in this situation. COL Platoni believes she is far from alone and that there are many heroes of this horrific terrorist attack who remain forgotten.
Dr. Platoni, a now retired Army Reserve psychologist who has had her own private practice for 20 years and has been a practicing psychologist for 34 years, has had a distinguished military career. She served in Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom in both Afghanistan and at Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She also provided counseling for first responders of the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City. If that was not enough, Dr. Platoni survived the Ft. Hood Terrorist Attack and lives with the memories of her colleagues and Soldiers who died that day. She watched some of them die, powerless to do anything because their wounds were fatal.
The Soldiers who died at the Ft. Hood Terrorist Attack were not awarded Purple Hearts for giving their lives in service to their country. The administration refuses to label the Ft. Hood Terrorist Attack as a terrorist attack even though the terrorist, Major Hasan, states his actions were very clearly acts of Islamic terrorism.
The award of the Purple Heart is not only a tangible symbol of physical sacrifice, but the award opens up a door of benefits such as priority of Department of Veteran’s Affairs Medical Care, burial at Arlington National Cemetery, and a host of other benefits. However, the administration labels the Ft. Hood Terrorist Attack as “workplace violence” that were acts of a disgruntled employee. It also says that labeling the Ft. Hood Terrorist Attack as a terrorist attack would not ensure a fair trial for the accused. Good grief.
The Purple Heart is not the only award that is missing from the personnel records of the Ft. Hood heroes. Those who were wounded, and those who were not wounded but escaped the attack, are likely eligible for the Combat Action Badge (CAB) or possibly even the Combat Medical Badge (CMB). The non- infantry equivalent of the Combat Infantryman’s Badge (CIB), the CAB and CMB are awarded to those engaged by the enemy. Like the Purple Heart and the CIB, the CAM and CMB also open up priority care and other benefits.
There is more than enough precedent for these awards to be given:
First and foremost, there is common sense and decency.
Second, those killed and wounded at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 were awarded the Purple Heart for a terrorist attack that occurred on inside the United States. Ft. Hood meets the same criteria.
Third, the military commonly issues awards, like the Soldier’s Medal, for actions performed even after duty hours such as saving a drowning civilian. In fact, CPT John Gaffaney, who died at COL Platoni’s knees as she and her brave colleagues tried desperately to save him, was awarded the Soldier’s Medal posthumously one year to the date of the Fort Hood Terrorist Attack.
Fourth, the military oath of enlistment states that a Soldier will defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic.” If the terrorist who killed soldiers at Ft. Hood, in the name of the enemy that the soldiers were getting ready to leave Ft. Hood to combat, was not a domestic enemy, there are no domestic enemies.
It is time the administration reversed course, threw away political correctness, and awarded these heroes their Purple Hearts and appropriate Combat Action Badges and other awards. Anything less amounts to a continued travesty of justice for those killed in action, their families, the wounded, the survivors, and the first responders.
*Views expressed in this article are those of the author, many other Americans, and not necessarily any government or affiliated agency.