Western Pennsylvania Fort Hood victims to receive Purple Hearts
Lt. Col. Juanita Warman had been at Fort Hood for only a day when she was killed in a shooting rampage at the Texas military base in November 2009.
Warman, a 55-year-old psychiatric nurse practitioner who grew up in Sheraden, was preparing to deploy to Iraq.
The Army will posthumously award her a Purple Heart in a special ceremony Friday.
“It doesn’t bring her back, but it honors her and what she was going to do,” said her husband, Philip Warman of Havre de Grace, Md., a Uniontown native.
He will travel to Fort Hood for the ceremony, in which military officials will present 47 medals honoring victims of the attack.
Brandy Mason, an Army captain from Monessen who was wounded, also is expected to receive a Purple Heart.
In February, Army officials announced they would award the Purple Heart and its civilian counterpart, the Defense of Freedom medal, to Fort Hood victims — after years of pressure from families and a rule change approved by Congress.
Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, has been convicted of carrying out the attack, which killed 13 and wounded more than 30.
The Purple Heart usually is bestowed to those wounded in war zones, but it can be awarded in other situations, including terrorist attacks against the United States.
Military officials had been reluctant to deem the shooting a terrorist attack. The Pentagon categorized it as “workplace violence.”
Congress has expanded the eligibility criteria by redefining an attack by a “foreign terrorist organization” to include those motivated or inspired by a foreign terrorist organization.
Prosecutors say Hasan had communicated with Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical American-born cleric who served as a chief propagandist for al-Qaida.
“It’s a matter of the Army coming to grips that the enemy can be within their ranks,” Philip Warman said.
For years, he and families of other victims sought recognition for those killed and wounded.
“It recognizes her service, and I’m pleased with that,” he said.
Juanita Warman served 25 years in active duty and in the Army reserves. She specialized in post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.
She graduated from Langley High School in 1972 and studied nursing at the University of Pittsburgh.
She was a UPMC employee before taking a job at a Veterans Administration facility in Perry Point, Md., in 2005.
Warman, whose family lives in the Pittsburgh area, is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Mason is a company commander at Fort Riley, Kan. She learned earlier this year she was in line for a Purple Heart.
“It’s about time,” she told The Valley Independent in February.
Staff writer Chris Buckley contributed to this report. Tony Raap is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7827 or [email protected].