Posthumous purple heart awarded to MN soldier killed in Fort Hood massacre


The North St. Paul soldier among those killed in a mass shooting at a military base in Texas was awarded a posthumous purple heart Thursday.

Pfc. Kham See Xiong was one of 13 people killed when Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire at the Fort Hood base on Nov. 5, 2009.

And at the third annual Hmong-American Day celebration on Harriet Island Thursday, the Pioneer Press reports Xiong's widow Shoua Her accepted his purple heart, which honors soldiers wounded or killed in the line of duty.

Also at the ceremony were Xiong's children Kaylee, 10, Devyn, 8, and Jonah, 6, with hundreds of others witnessing the medal being awarded.

It marks the end of a long battle by the families of those killed at Fort Hood to get their loved ones honored with a purple heart, after they did not initially qualify as the shooting was considered "workplace violence" by the Department of Defense, the Killeen Daily Herald notes.

But a provision passed earlier this year that made victims of attacks inspired or motivated by foreign terrorist organizations eligible for the medals.

The Hmong-American soldier was preparing for a combat tour in Afghanistan when the shooting occurred, with the TC Daily Planet reporting he was assigned to the 510th Engineer Company, 20th Engineer Batallion.

In the wake of his death, then-Governor Tim Pawlenty ordered U.S. and Minnesota flags flown at half-staff in remembrance of Xiong and others killed and wounded in the massacre.

The Hmong-American Day held at Harriet Island Regional Park was the third such annual event in the Twin Cities, honoring the contributions of the Hmong people to America during the Vietnam War and since then in the United States, the event's Facebook page says.

This year is a particularly noteworthy one for the Hmong in Minnesota, given that it is 40 years since their migration to the state, which is being marked with a special exhibition at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul.

Next Up

Seimone Augustus

Lynx to retire jerseys of Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson next season

The former Lynx stars were a key piece of their four WNBA titles.

police tape, crime scene

Rushford police officer fires gun during report of a restraining order violation

The incident occurred on Highway 30 near the Rushford Municipal Airport.

lake water

18-year-old dies from drowning in Quarry Park

The incident is one of several drownings to occur in Minnesota in recent weeks.

Screen Shot 2021-06-13 at 8.28.44 AM

College pitcher from MN gets new prosthetic arm after his was stolen

A tough luck story turned out very positive for the Hawley native.

vaccine, covid

MN saw decline in routine child vaccinations amid pandemic

The CDC study looked at Minnesota and nine other states.


Child hospitalized after drowning in Ham Like

Their current condition is not known.


Man dies after falling from pontoon, being swept under boat

Friends believe he struck the motor while under the boat.


Man drowns in St. Croix River at William O'Brien State Park

It's not clear what caused the 46-year-old to go under.


Man, 66, dies after his ATV was hit by a minivan on highway

It happened in Renville County Friday evening.


Bemidji soldier awarded Purple Heart, gently breaks news of injury on Facebook

Karisa Hayes Molé, a 2010 Bemidji High School graduate, on Sunday was awarded a Purple Heart for an injury she sustained in May in Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device struck the Humvee she was traveling in. Not wanting to worry her mother, she gently, cheerfully shared the news that she was in a Kabul hospital in a post to her mom on Facebook.

WWII vet awarded belated Purple Heart

A World War II vet finally got the medal he earned over 60 years ago. Jack Olson of Wisconsin was awarded the purple heart but would not accept it at the time. He was afraid his mother would learn he had been hurt.