Battle over benefits for family of soldier killed at Fort Hood

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by Rucks Russell / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on December 5, 2013 at 7:50 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 8:00 PM

HOUSTON -- The spouse of a fallen soldier choked back tears Thursday as she glanced for the first time at his name etched in granite at Houston’s Fallen Warriors Memorial.

“It’s really an honor to be here and to see everyone do something like this means so much,” said Cristie Greene, with her two daughters standing by her side.

Greene’s husband, Army Specialist Frederick Greene, is honored at the site along with hundreds of other service personnel killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

But because of where Greene died, the government sees things differently.

Greene was one of 13 people shot to death at Fort Hood four years ago by army Major Nidal Hasan.

The victims’ deaths were classified as workplace violence-related as opposed to “killed in action.” That means surviving family members don't receive the same life insurance, tax breaks and other benefits.

“It’s been very hard on all of us,” added Greene. “It’s been hard on everybody involved.”

But for Greene and her daughters, things could soon change. Texas Senator John Cornyn has introduced legislation to reclassify the Fort Hood victims so that their families can receive more help.

“He was a soldier,” said Cheryl Whitfield with the National Memorial Ladies. “Whether it was in theater or here, he was protecting our freedom.”

It was a calling for which Specialist Greene gave his life.

“That was Fred,” said Greene. “He wouldn’t have had it any other way. That was him.”

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