Because the incident is not considered an act of terrorism, the victims do not get combat-related special compensation that provides disability pay for medically retired servicemembers. Manning, who was shot six times, was recently denied such benefits.
The victims are also ineligible for Purple Hearts or medals for valor.
Stalnaker said her husband, Sgt. Rex Stalnaker, feels diminished by the government denying he suffered through a terrorist attack, and it causes him to doubt the importance of what he did that day. As a medic, Stalnaker treated many of the victims and was one of the last to leave the building. His uniform was soaked in blood.
The coalition has the support of two Republican congressmen from Texas, who wrote a letter this month to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asking for the designation.
“Based on all the facts, it is inconceivable to us that the DoD and the Army continue to label this attack ‘workplace violence’ in spite of all the evidence that clearly proves the Fort Hood shooting was an act of terror,” Reps. John Carter and Michael McCaul wrote.
Should the government classify the shooting as terrorism, the victims and their families could be eligible for compensation and benefits similar to those received by families of 9/11 victims.
The congressmen believe Hasan, despite being known to colleagues as an unstable, radical Islamist, was promoted in the Army and not fully investigated after suspicious behavior because the military was afraid being seen as biased against his religion. They think that hesitancy is still at play in deciding what to call the shooting.
The Fort Hood victims “should not be ignored or mistreated now because of misplaced and inappropriate practice of political correctness,” the congressmen wrote.