In the infamous 5 November 2009 mass shooting at the Soldier Readiness
Center, Ft. Hood Texas, Major Nadal Hasan, MC, murdered 13 people,
including three Army Nurse Corps officers. The December 2009 issue of
the Army Nurse Corps Association's newsletter, The Connection,
included a profile of these three, all members of the US Army Reserve
who had been called to active duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom
and Operation Enduring Freedom. The author was COL (Retired) Nickey
McCasland, ANC, Editor of the newsletter. That piece is reproduced here.
With great sadness we report that among the thirteen killed in the
shootings at the Ft. Hood Soldier Readiness Center on 5 November were
three Army Nurse Corps officers. Although many questions are unanswered
and details remain unknown about this tragic event, here is what we know
to date. All three were reservists who had been activated and were
being processed for deployment at the center.
LTC Juanita Warman
In her civilian job Lieutenant Colonel Warman
worked at the Perry Point (Maryland) VA Medical Center. She had a MSN
from the University of Pittsburgh, and was a certified psychiatric nurse
practitioner, specializing in PTSD and traumatic brain injury. At age
55, she had a total of 25 years Army service, both active and reserve.
She had arrived at Ft. Hood only the previous day, and was to have
received more training there, in addition to training received recently
at Ft. Hunter Liggett, California, before deployment to Iraq. This would
have been her fourth deployment, including a year at Landstuhl, as part
of the Missouri-based 1908th Medical Detachment, one of about eight
Army Reserve combat-stress units around the US. At home, she had
actively participated in outreach events for returning Veterans and
assisted the National Guard with implementation of the Beyond the Yellow
Ribbon Reintegration Program.
LTC Warman is survived by her husband
Phillip, two daughters and six grandchildren. She was buried at
Arlington National Cemetery on 23 November 2009.
CPT Russell Seager
Also a VA employee, Captain Seager was a
Nurse Practitioner in the Primary Care Mental Health Integration Program
at the Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, leading a mental health
team that helps veterans with mental health issues reintegrate into
society. He had a MSN from Marquette, and was on the faculty of Bryant
& Stratton College in the medical assistant and nursing programs. He
was working on an Ed.D., and planned to return to teaching after his
active duty tour. About four years ago he had been commissioned a
reserve ANC and was assigned to the 467th Medical Detachment (Combat
Stress Control), in Madison, WI. The unit was in the process of
deployment to Afghanistan. In an interview in August, CPT Seager, age
51, said about joining the military this late in his life, "I’ve always
had a great deal of respect for the military and for service, and I just
felt it was time that I stepped up and did it."
CPT Seager is survived by his wife Cynthia and a 20 year-old son. He was buried in Wonewoc, Wisconsin on 16 November 2009.
CPT John Gaffaney
In civilian life Captain Gaffaney, a
psychiatric nurse, had been a Supervisor in the San Diego County,
California, Adult Protective Services Department for over 20 years. "He
had this affinity for working with the mentally ill," said friend and
colleague Nancy Garcia-Drew, who worked side-by-side with him and had an
office next to his. "He loved going out into the field to talk to
senior citizens in their homes instead of them coming to the office." He
was a native of Williston, North Dakota, who served in the Navy from
1973 to 1978 and the California National Guard from 1984 to 1999,
retiring as a Major. Since 9/11/01 he had repeatedly sought appointment
in the Reserve, but was turned down because of a hearing deficiency.
However, he persisted and at last received a waiver and at age 56 was
going with his Reserve unit, the 1908th Medical Detachment (CSC) to
CPT Gaffaney is survived by his wife
Christine and a son, Matthew. He was buried at Ft. Rosecrans National
Cemetery, San Diego, California, on 14 November 2009.
The Army Nurse Corps Associations’ deepest condolences go to the families of these devoted and patriotic officers, and to those of the other victims of this terrible tragedy.