For U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Shawn Manning, Nov. 5, 2009, was a routine day at Fort Hood, Texas, waiting for a health checkup before his scheduled deployment to Afghanistan. Suddenly, he heard someone yell "Allahu akbar" -- Arabic for God is Great -- before the first of six bullets slammed into his chest, piercing his right lung and liver.
Almost four years later, Manning is engaged in another fight -- for the military's Purple Heart, bestowed on soldiers injured in battle. The court-martial of Major Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder, is stoking calls to label the shooting rampage an act of terrorism and to award Purple Hearts, which carry federal benefits.
"This wasn't a random act of violence where a guy was having a bad day," Manning, 37, said in a phone interview.