Preserving Our Past, Capitalizing on the Present, Embracing the Future

The Three Army Nurses Killed in the Ft. Hood Massacre

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 

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

CPT RussellAlso 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

 CPT John GaffaneyIn 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 Iraq. 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.