Purple Heart
Overview
 
The Purple Heart is a United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 military decoration
Awards and decorations of the United States military
Awards and decorations of the United States Military are military decorations which recognize service and personal accomplishments while a member of the United States armed forces...

 awarded in the name of the President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917 with the U.S. military
Military of the United States
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor
National Purple Heart Hall of Honor
National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located along NY 300 in the Town of New Windsor, New York, less than two miles south of the Town of Newburgh line and not far from the City of Newburgh. It is a Purple Heart national registry of military personnel that were injured or killed during combat...

 is located in New Windsor, New York
New Windsor, New York
New Windsor is a town in Orange County, New York, United States. The population was estimated at 25,244 in 2010 by the US Census.The Town of New Windsor is in the eastern part of the county, bordering the Town of Newburgh and the City of Newburgh....

. With its forerunner, the Badge of Military Merit
Badge of Military Merit
The Badge of Military Merit is considered the first military award of the United States Armed Forces. Although the Fidelity Medallion is older, after being issued to three soldiers for a specific event in 1780 it was never awarded again, so the Badge of Military Merit is often considered the oldest...

, which took the form of a heart made of purple cloth, the Purple Heart is the oldest award that is still given to members of the U.S. military, the only earlier award being the obsolete Fidelity Medallion
Fidelity Medallion
The Fidelity Medallion is the oldest decoration of the United States military and was created by act of the Continental Congress in 1780. Also known as the "André Capture Medal", the Fidelity Medallion was awarded to those soldiers who participated in the capture of Major John André, of the...

.
The original Purple Heart, designated as the Badge of Military Merit
Badge of Military Merit
The Badge of Military Merit is considered the first military award of the United States Armed Forces. Although the Fidelity Medallion is older, after being issued to three soldiers for a specific event in 1780 it was never awarded again, so the Badge of Military Merit is often considered the oldest...

, was established by George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

—then the commander-in-chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the Continental Army
Continental Army
The Continental Army was formed after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the colonies that became the United States of America. Established by a resolution of the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775, it was created to coordinate the military efforts of the Thirteen Colonies in...

—by order from his Newburgh, New York headquarters
Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site
Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site is a historic site in Newburgh, New York, USA. It consists of the Hasbrouck House, the longest-serving headquarters of George Washington during the American Revolutionary War, and three other structures....

 on August 7, 1782.
Encyclopedia
The Purple Heart is a United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 military decoration
Awards and decorations of the United States military
Awards and decorations of the United States Military are military decorations which recognize service and personal accomplishments while a member of the United States armed forces...

 awarded in the name of the President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917 with the U.S. military
Military of the United States
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor
National Purple Heart Hall of Honor
National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located along NY 300 in the Town of New Windsor, New York, less than two miles south of the Town of Newburgh line and not far from the City of Newburgh. It is a Purple Heart national registry of military personnel that were injured or killed during combat...

 is located in New Windsor, New York
New Windsor, New York
New Windsor is a town in Orange County, New York, United States. The population was estimated at 25,244 in 2010 by the US Census.The Town of New Windsor is in the eastern part of the county, bordering the Town of Newburgh and the City of Newburgh....

. With its forerunner, the Badge of Military Merit
Badge of Military Merit
The Badge of Military Merit is considered the first military award of the United States Armed Forces. Although the Fidelity Medallion is older, after being issued to three soldiers for a specific event in 1780 it was never awarded again, so the Badge of Military Merit is often considered the oldest...

, which took the form of a heart made of purple cloth, the Purple Heart is the oldest award that is still given to members of the U.S. military, the only earlier award being the obsolete Fidelity Medallion
Fidelity Medallion
The Fidelity Medallion is the oldest decoration of the United States military and was created by act of the Continental Congress in 1780. Also known as the "André Capture Medal", the Fidelity Medallion was awarded to those soldiers who participated in the capture of Major John André, of the...

.

History

The original Purple Heart, designated as the Badge of Military Merit
Badge of Military Merit
The Badge of Military Merit is considered the first military award of the United States Armed Forces. Although the Fidelity Medallion is older, after being issued to three soldiers for a specific event in 1780 it was never awarded again, so the Badge of Military Merit is often considered the oldest...

, was established by George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

—then the commander-in-chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the Continental Army
Continental Army
The Continental Army was formed after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the colonies that became the United States of America. Established by a resolution of the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775, it was created to coordinate the military efforts of the Thirteen Colonies in...

—by order from his Newburgh, New York headquarters
Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site
Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site is a historic site in Newburgh, New York, USA. It consists of the Hasbrouck House, the longest-serving headquarters of George Washington during the American Revolutionary War, and three other structures....

 on August 7, 1782. The Badge of Military Merit was only awarded to three Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 soldiers and from then on as its legend grew, so did its appearance. Although never abolished, the award of the badge was not proposed again officially until after World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

.

On October 10, 1927, Army Chief of Staff
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
The Chief of Staff of the Army is a statutory office held by a four-star general in the United States Army, and is the most senior uniformed officer assigned to serve in the Department of the Army, and as such is the principal military advisor and a deputy to the Secretary of the Army; and is in...

 General Charles Pelot Summerall
Charles Pelot Summerall
Charles Pelot Summerall was a U.S. general. He fought in World War I, and was Army Chief of Staff between 1926 and 1930. He was also the President of The Citadel between 1931 and 1953.-Early life and career:...

 directed that a draft bill be sent to Congress "to revive the Badge of Military Merit". The bill was withdrawn and action on the case ceased on January 3, 1928, but the office of the Adjutant General
Adjutant general
An Adjutant General is a military chief administrative officer.-Imperial Russia:In Imperial Russia, the General-Adjutant was a Court officer, who was usually an army general. He served as a personal aide to the Tsar and hence was a member of the H. I. M. Retinue...

 was instructed to file all materials collected for possible future use. A number of private interests sought to have the medal reinstituted in the Army. One of these was the board of directors of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum
Fort Ticonderoga
Fort Ticonderoga, formerly Fort Carillon, is a large 18th-century fort built by the Canadians and the French at a narrows near the south end of Lake Champlain in upstate New York in the United States...

 in Ticonderoga, New York
Ticonderoga, New York
Ticonderoga is a town in Essex County, New York, USA. The population was 5,167 at the 2000 census. The name comes from the Mohawk tekontaró:ken, meaning "it is at the junction of two waterways"....

.

On January 7, 1931, Summerall’s successor, General Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

, confidentially reopened work on a new design, involving the Washington Commission of Fine Arts. This new design was issued on the bicentennial of George Washington's birth. Elizabeth Will, an Army heraldic
Heraldry
Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander"...

 specialist in the Office of the Quartermaster General
Quartermaster general
A Quartermaster general is the staff officer in charge of supplies for a whole army.- The United Kingdom :In the United Kingdom, the Quartermaster-General to the Forces is one of the most senior generals in the British Army...

, was named to redesign the newly revived medal, which became known as the Purple Heart. Using general specifications provided to her, Will created the design sketch for the present medal of the Purple Heart. Her obituary
Obituary
An obituary is a news article that reports the recent death of a person, typically along with an account of the person's life and information about the upcoming funeral. In large cities and larger newspapers, obituaries are written only for people considered significant...

, in the February 8, 1975 edition of the Washington Post newspaper, reflects her many contributions to military heraldry.

The Commission of Fine Arts solicited plaster models from three leading sculptors for the medal, selecting that of John R. Sinnock
John R. Sinnock
John Ray Sinnock was the eighth Chief Engraver of the United States Mint and designer of the Roosevelt dime and Franklin half dollar, among other U.S. coins. His initials "JS" on the dime can be found at the base of the Roosevelt bust...

 of the Philadelphia Mint
Philadelphia Mint
The Philadelphia Mint was created from the need to establish a national identity and the needs of commerce in the United States. This led the Founding Fathers of the United States to make an establishment of a continental national mint a main priority after the ratification of the Constitution of...

 in May 1931. By Executive Order of the President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

, the Purple Heart was revived on the 200th Anniversary of George Washington's birth, out of respect to his memory and military achievements, by War Department General Orders No. 3, dated February 22, 1932. The Purple Heart award is a heart
Heart (symbol)
The heart has long been used as a symbol to refer to the spiritual, emotional, moral, and in the past, also intellectual core of a human being...

-shaped medal within a gold border, 1 inches (35 mm) wide, containing a profile of General George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

. Above the heart appears a shield of the coat of arms of George Washington
Coat of arms of George Washington
The coat of arms of George Washington, President of the United States of America from 1789 to 1797, were first used to identify the family in the twelfth century, when one of George Washington's ancestors took possession of Washington Old Hall, then in County Durham, in North East England.The...

 (a white shield with two red bars and three red stars in chief) between sprays of green leaves. The reverse consists of a raised bronze heart with the words FOR MILITARY MERIT below the coat of arms and leaves. The ribbon is 1 and inches (35 mm) wide and consists of the following stripes: inch (3 mm) white 67101; 1 inches (29 mm) purple 67115; and inch (3 mm) white 67101. As with other combat medals, multiple awards are denoted by award star
Award star
An award star is a decoration issued to personnel of the United States Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard in lieu of multiple awards of the same award. An award star is very similar to an oak leaf cluster, which serves the same purpose in the United States Army and United States Air Force...

s for the Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

, Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

, or Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...

, or oak leaf cluster
Oak leaf cluster
An oak leaf cluster is a common device which is placed on U.S. Army and Air Force awards and decorations to denote those who have received more than one bestowal of a particular decoration. The number of oak leaf clusters typically indicates the number of subsequent awards of the decoration...

s for the Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 and Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

.

The criteria were announced in a War Department
United States Department of War
The United States Department of War, also called the War Department , was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army...

 circular dated February 22, 1932 and authorized award to soldiers, upon their request, who had been awarded the Meritorious Service Citation Certificate, Army Wound Ribbon
Army Wound Ribbon
The Army Wound Ribbon was a short lived decoration of the United States Army which was created on September 6, 1917 to recognize those soldiers who had received combat wounds during World War I...

, or were authorized to wear Wound Chevron
Wound Chevron
A Wound Chevron was a badge of the United States Army which was authorized for wear on an Army uniform between the years of 1918 and 1932. The Wound Chevron was displayed on the lower right cuff of a military uniform, and denoted wounds which were received in combat against an enemy force...

s subsequent to April 5, 1917, the day before the United States entered World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. The first Purple Heart was awarded to MacArthur. During the early period of American involvement in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 (December 7, 1941 – September 22, 1943), the Purple Heart was awarded both for wounds received in action against the enemy and for meritorious performance of duty. With the establishment of the Legion of Merit
Legion of Merit
The Legion of Merit is a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements...

, by an Act of Congress, the practice of awarding the Purple Heart for meritorious service was discontinued. By Executive Order 9277, dated December 3, 1942, the decoration was extended to be applicable to all services and the order required that regulations of the Services be uniform in application as far as practicable. This executive order also authorized the award only for wounds received. AR 600-45, dated September 22, 1943, and May 3, 1944 identify circumstances required to meet in order to be eligible for the Purple Heart for military and civilian personnel during World War II era.
Executive Order 10409, dated February 12, 1952, revised authorizations to include the Service Secretaries subject to approval of the Secretary of Defense
United States Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries...

. Executive Order 11016, dated April 25, 1962, included provisions for posthumous award of the Purple Heart. Executive Order 12464, dated February 23, 1984, authorized award of the Purple Heart as a result of terrorist attacks or while serving as part of a peacekeeping force subsequent to March 28, 1973.

The Senate approved an amendment to the 1985 Defense Authorization Bill on June 13, 1985 which changed the precedence from immediately above the Good Conduct Medal
Good Conduct Medal
The Good Conduct Medal is one of the oldest military awards of the United States military. The Navy Good Conduct Medal was first issued in 1869, followed by a Marine version in 1896. The Coast Guard Good Conduct Medal was issued in 1923 and the Army Good Conduct Medal in 1941. The Air Force was...

 to immediately above the Meritorious Service Medals
Meritorious Service Medal (United States)
The Meritorious Service Medal is a military decoration presented to members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguished themselves by outstanding meritorious achievement or service to the United States subsequent to January 16, 1969...

. Public Law 99-145 authorized the award for wounds received as a result of friendly fire
Friendly fire
Friendly fire is inadvertent firing towards one's own or otherwise friendly forces while attempting to engage enemy forces, particularly where this results in injury or death. A death resulting from a negligent discharge is not considered friendly fire...

. Public Law 104-106 expanded the eligibility date, authorizing award of the Purple Heart to a former prisoner of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 who was wounded before April 25, 1962. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998 (Public Law 105-85) changed the criteria to delete authorization for award of the Purple Heart Medal to any civilian national of the United States while serving under competent authority in any capacity with the Armed Forces. This change was effective May 18, 1998.

During World War II, nearly 500,000 Purple Heart medals were manufactured in anticipation of the estimated casualties resulting from the planned Allied invasion of Japan
Operation Downfall
Operation Downfall was the Allied plan for the invasion of Japan near the end of World War II. The operation was cancelled when Japan surrendered after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Soviet Union's declaration of war against Japan. The operation had two parts: Operation...

. To the present date, total combined American military casualties of the sixty-five years following the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 — including the Korean
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 and Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

s — have not exceeded that number. In 2003, there were still 120,000 of these Purple Heart medals in stock. There are so many in surplus that combat units in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 are able to keep Purple Hearts on-hand for immediate award to wounded soldiers in the field.

The "History" section of the November 2009 edition of National Geographic estimated the number of purple hearts given as below. Above the estimates, the text reads, "Any tally of Purple Hearts is an estimate. Awards are often given during conflict; records aren't always exact" (page 33).
  • World War I
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

    : 320,518
  • World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

    : 1,076,245
  • Korean War
    Korean War
    The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

    : 118,650
  • Vietnam War
    Vietnam War
    The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

    : 351,794
  • Persian Gulf War: 607
  • Afghanistan War
    War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
    The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

    : 7,027 (as of 5 June 2010)
  • Iraq War: 35,321 (as of 5 June 2010)

Criteria

Per United States Army regulation 600-8-22, the Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Services after April 5, 1917, has been wounded or killed. Specific examples of services which warrant the Purple Heart include any action against an enemy of the United States; any action with an opposing armed force of a foreign country in which the Armed Forces of the United States are or have been engaged; while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party; as a result of an act of any such enemy of opposing armed forces; or as the result of an act of any hostile foreign force. After 28 March 1973, as a result of an international terrorist attack against the United States or a foreign nation friendly to the United States, recognized as such an attack by the Secretary of the Army, or jointly by the Secretaries of the separate armed services concerned if persons from more than one service are wounded in the attack. After 28 March 1973, as a result of military operations while serving outside the territory of the United States as part of a peacekeeping force.

The Purple Heart differs from all other decorations in that an individual is not "recommended" for the decoration; rather he or she is entitled to it upon meeting specific criteria. A Purple Heart is authorized for the first wound suffered under conditions indicated above, but for each subsequent award an oak leaf cluster
Oak leaf cluster
An oak leaf cluster is a common device which is placed on U.S. Army and Air Force awards and decorations to denote those who have received more than one bestowal of a particular decoration. The number of oak leaf clusters typically indicates the number of subsequent awards of the decoration...

 is awarded. Not more than one award will be made for more than one wound or injury received at the same instant. A "wound" is defined as an injury to any part of the body from an outside force or agent sustained under one or more of the conditions listed above. A physical lesion is not required; however, the wound for which the award is made must have required treatment by a medical officer and records of medical treatment for wounds or injuries received in action must have been made a matter of official record. When contemplating an award of this decoration, the key issue that commanders must take into consideration is the degree to which the enemy caused the injury. The fact that the proposed recipient was participating in direct or indirect combat operations is a necessary prerequisite, but is not sole justification for award. The Purple Heart is not awarded for non-combative injuries.

Enemy-related injuries which justify the award of the Purple Heart include injury caused by enemy bullet
Bullet
A bullet is a projectile propelled by a firearm, sling, or air gun. Bullets do not normally contain explosives, but damage the intended target by impact and penetration...

, shrapnel
Fragmentation (weaponry)
Fragmentation is the process by which the casing of an artillery shell, bomb, grenade, etc. is shattered by the detonating high explosive filling. The correct technical terminology for these casing pieces is fragments , although shards or splinters can be used for non-preformed fragments...

, or other projectile created by enemy action; injury caused by enemy placed land mine
Land mine
A land mine is usually a weight-triggered explosive device which is intended to damage a target—either human or inanimate—by means of a blast and/or fragment impact....

, naval mine
Naval mine
A naval mine is a self-contained explosive device placed in water to destroy surface ships or submarines. Unlike depth charges, mines are deposited and left to wait until they are triggered by the approach of, or contact with, an enemy vessel...

, or trap
Booby trap
A booby trap is a device designed to harm or surprise a person, unknowingly triggered by the presence or actions of the victim. As the word trap implies, they often have some form of bait designed to lure the victim towards it. However, in other cases the device is placed on busy roads or is...

; injury caused by enemy released chemical, biological, or nuclear agent; injury caused by vehicle or aircraft accident resulting from enemy fire; concussion injuries caused as a result of enemy generated explosions.

Injuries or wounds which do not qualify for award of the Purple Heart include frostbite
Frostbite
Frostbite is the medical condition where localized damage is caused to skin and other tissues due to extreme cold. Frostbite is most likely to happen in body parts farthest from the heart and those with large exposed areas...

 or trench foot
Trench foot
Trench foot is a medical condition caused by prolonged exposure of the feet to damp, unsanitary, and cold conditions. It is one of many immersion foot syndromes...

 injuries; heat stroke; food poisoning not caused by enemy agents; chemical, biological, or nuclear agents not released by the enemy; battle fatigue; disease not directly caused by enemy agents; accidents, to include explosive, aircraft, vehicular, and other accidental wounding not related to or caused by enemy action; self-inflicted wounds (e.g., a soldier accidentally fires their own gun and the bullet strikes his or her leg), except when in the heat of battle, and not involving gross negligence; post-traumatic stress disorders; and jump injuries not caused by enemy action.

It is not intended that such a strict interpretation of the requirement for the wound or injury to be caused by direct result of hostile action be taken that it would preclude the award being made to deserving personnel. Commanders must also take into consideration the circumstances surrounding an injury, even if it appears to meet the criteria. In the case of an individual injured while making a parachute landing from an aircraft that had been brought down by enemy fire; or, an individual injured as a result of a vehicle accident caused by enemy fire, the decision will be made in favor of the individual and the award will be made. As well, individuals wounded or killed as a result of "friendly fire" in the "heat of battle" will be awarded the Purple Heart as long as the "friendly" projectile or agent was released with the full intent of inflicting damage or destroying enemy troops or equipment. Individuals injured as a result of their own negligence, such as by driving or walking through an unauthorized area known to have been mined or placed off limits or searching for or picking up unexploded munitions as war souvenirs, will not be awarded the Purple Heart as they clearly were not injured as a result of enemy action, but rather by their own negligence.

From 1942 to 1997, civilians serving or closely affiliated with the armed forces—as government employees, Red Cross workers, war correspondents and the like—were eligible to receive the Purple Heart. About 100 men and women received the award, the most famous being newspaperman Ernie Pyle
Ernie Pyle
Ernest Taylor Pyle was an American journalist who wrote as a roving correspondent for the Scripps Howard newspaper chain from 1935 until his death in combat during World War II. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1944...

, who was awarded a posthumous Army Purple Heart after being killed by Japanese machine gun fire in 1945.

The most recent Purple Hearts presented to civilians occurred after the terrorist attacks at Khobar Towers, Saudi Arabia, in 1996—about 40 U.S. civil service employees received the award for their injuries.

In 1997, however, at the urging of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Congress passed legislation prohibiting future awards of the Purple Heart to civilians. Today, the Purple Heart is only for those men and women in uniform. Civilians who are killed or wounded as a result of hostile action now receive the new Defense of Freedom Medal
Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom
The Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom is a decoration established to acknowledge civilian employees of the United States Department of Defense who are killed or wounded in the line of duty.-Description:...

, created shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Presentation

Current active duty personnel are awarded the Purple Heart upon recommendation from their chain of command, stating the injury that was received and the action in which the service member was wounded. The award authority for the Purple Heart is normally at the level of an Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 Brigade
Brigade
A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of two to five battalions, plus supporting elements depending on the era and nationality of a given army and could be perceived as an enlarged/reinforced regiment...

, Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 Division
Division (military)
A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. In most armies, a division is composed of several regiments or brigades, and in turn several divisions typically make up a corps...

, Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 Wing, or Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 Task Force. While the award of the Purple Heart is considered automatic for all wounds received in combat, each award presentation must still be reviewed to ensure that the wounds received were as a result of enemy action. Modern day Purple Heart presentations are recorded in both hardcopy and electronic service records. The annotation of the Purple Heart is denoted both with the service member's parent command and at the headquarters of the military service department. An original citation and award certificate are presented to the service member and filed in the field service record.
During the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the Purple Heart was often awarded on the spot, with occasional entries made into service records, but this was often not the case. In addition, during the mass demobilizations that followed each of America's major wars of the 20th century, it was a common occurrence for the Purple Heart to be omitted from service records, due to clerical errors, once the service record was closed upon discharge. An added complication is that a number of field commanders would engage in bedside presentations of the Purple Heart which would typically entail a general entering a hospital with a box of Purple Hearts, pinning them on the pillows of wounded service members, and then departing with no official records kept of the visit or the award of the Purple Heart. Service members, themselves, could complicate the issue by leaving hospitals unofficially, returning to their units in haste to rejoin a battle or to not appear as a malingerer. In such cases, even if a service member had received actual wounds in combat, both the award of the Purple Heart, as well as the entire visit to the hospital which treated the enemy wound, would never be recorded in official records.

Service members requesting retroactive awards of the Purple Heart must normally apply through the National Personnel Records Center
National Personnel Records Center
The National Personnel Records Center is an agency of the National Archives and Records Administration, created in 1956. It is divided into two large Federal Records Centers located in St...

. Following a review of service records, those Army members so qualified are awarded the Purple Heart by the U.S. Army Human Resources Command in Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2009, the city had a total population of 139,966. Located along the Western bank of the Potomac River, Alexandria is approximately six miles south of downtown Washington, D.C.Like the rest of northern Virginia, as well as...

. Air Force veterans are awarded the Purple Heart by the Awards Office of Randolph Air Force Base
Randolph Air Force Base
Randolph Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located east-northeast of San Antonio, Texas. The base is under the jurisdiction of the 902d Mission Support Group, Air Education and Training Command ....

 while the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard presents Purple Hearts to veterans through the Navy Liaison Officer at the National Personnel Records Center. Simple clerical errors, where a Purple Heart is denoted in military records but was simply omitted from a DD Form 214
DD Form 214
The DD Form 214, officially DD Form 214 "Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty", but generally referred to as a "DD 214", is a document of the United States Department of Defense, issued upon a military service member's retirement, separation or discharge from active-duty...

 (Report of Separation), are corrected on site at the National Personnel Records Center through issuance of a document known as a DD-215.

Retroactive requests

As the Purple Heart did not exist prior to 1932, records of the decoration are not annotated in service histories of those veterans who were wounded or killed by enemy action prior to the establishment of the medal. The Purple Heart, however, is retroactive to 1917 meaning that it may be presented to veterans as far back as the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. Prior to 2006, service departments would review older service records, service histories, and all available records to determine if a veteran authorized a retroactive Purple Heart. As of 2008, such records are listed as "Archival" by the National Archives and Records Administration meaning they have been transferred from the custody of the military and can no longer be loaned and transferred for retroactive medals determination. In such cases, requestors asking for a Purple Heart (especially from records of the First World War) are provided with a complete copy of all available records (or reconstructed records in the case of the 1973 fire) and advised that the Purple Heart may be privately purchased if the requestor feels it is warranted.

A clause to the archival procedures was revised in mid 2008, where if a veteran themselves or (if deceased) an immediate member of the family requested the Purple Heart on an Army or Air Force record, the medal would still be granted by the National Archives. In such cases where a determination was required to be made by the military service department, photocopies of the archival record (but not the record itself) would be forwarded to the headquarters of the military branch in question. This stipulation was granted only for the Air Force and Army; Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard archival medals requests are still typically offered a copy of the file and told to purchase the medal privately. For requests received directly from veterans, these requests are routed through a Navy Liaison Office on site at 9700 Page Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63132-5100 (the location of the Military Personnel Records Center).

Destroyed record requests

Due to the 1973 National Archives Fire
1973 National Archives Fire
The National Personnel Records Center fire of 1973, also referred to as the 1973 National Archives fire was a fire that occurred at the United States National Personnel Records Center in Overland, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, on July 12, 1973, striking a severe blow to the National Archives...

, a large number of retroactive Purple Heart requests are difficult to verify since all records to substantiate the award may very well have been destroyed. As a solution to this, the National Personnel Records Center maintains a separate office to deal with Purple Heart requests where service records have been destroyed in the 1973 fire. In such cases, NPRC searches through unit records, military pay records, and records of the Department of Veterans Affairs
United States Department of Veterans Affairs
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs is a government-run military veteran benefit system with Cabinet-level status. It is the United States government’s second largest department, after the United States Department of Defense...

. If a Purple Heart is warranted, all available alternate records sources are forwarded to the military service department for final determination of issuance.

The loaning of fire related records to the military has declined since 2006, since a large number of such records now fall into the "archival records" category of military service records meaning that the records have been transferred from the military to the National Archives. In such cases, the Purple Heart may be privately purchased by the requestor (see above section of retroactive requests for further details) but is no longer provided by the military service department.

Last resort requests

Some veterans who have exhausted all available sources often still feel that they should be awarded a Purple Heart, even if there are no records of the decoration. In such cases, service members may appeal directly to the military service department by way of a Defense Department Form 149, which requests an official change to military records. Usually, if the 149 is denied by the service department, there is nothing more a veteran can do and will not be awarded the Purple Heart. In some cases, however, veterans have been recommended for the Purple Heart, after the fact, by a United States Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 or Congressman
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

. Such cases are treated as brand new award recommendations and the process for presenting the Purple Heart begins again with a review of records and interview of witnesses to the action in which a service member was wounded.

Notable recipients

  • Pat Tillman
    Pat Tillman
    Corporal Patrick Daniel "Pat" Tillman Jr. was an American football player who left his professional career and enlisted in the United States Army in June 2002 in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks. He joined the Army Rangers and served several tours in combat before he died in the...

    , Arizona Cardinals
    Arizona Cardinals
    The Arizona Cardinals are a professional American football team based in Glendale, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix. They are currently members of the Western Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League...

     Safety
    Safety
    Safety is the state of being "safe" , the condition of being protected against physical, social, spiritual, financial, political, emotional, occupational, psychological, educational or other types or consequences of failure, damage, error, accidents, harm or any other event which could be...

  • Carlos Hathcock
    Carlos Hathcock
    Carlos Hathcock was a United States Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant sniper with a service record of 93 confirmed kills. Hathcock's record and the extraordinary details of the missions he undertook made him a legend in the Marine Corps...

    , legendary sniper from Arkansas, with a confirmed body count of 93 in Vietnam War
  • James Arness
    James Arness
    James King Arness was an American actor, best known for portraying Marshal Matt Dillon in the television series Gunsmoke for 20 years...

    , actor
  • James Garner
    James Garner
    James Garner is an American film and television actor, one of the first Hollywood actors to excel in both media. He has starred in several television series spanning a career of more than five decades...

    , actor
  • Charles Bronson
    Charles Bronson
    Charles Bronson , born Charles Dennis Buchinsky was an American actor, best-known for such films as Once Upon a Time in the West, The Magnificent Seven, The Dirty Dozen, The Great Escape, Rider on the Rain, The Mechanic, and the popular Death Wish series...

    , actor
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., writer
  • Oliver Stone
    Oliver Stone
    William Oliver Stone is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. Stone became well known in the late 1980s and the early 1990s for directing a series of films about the Vietnam War, for which he had previously participated as an infantry soldier. His work frequently focuses on...

    , director
  • Richard Winters
    Richard Winters
    Major Richard "Dick" D. Winters was a United States Army officer and decorated war veteran. He commanded Company "E", 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, during World War II....

    , major who fought in World War II
  • Dale Dye
    Dale Dye
    Dale Adam Dye is an American actor, presenter, businessman, and retired U.S. Marine captain who served in combat during the Vietnam War.-Early life & Marine service:...

    , actor
  • Warren Spahn
    Warren Spahn
    Warren Edward Spahn was an American Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher. He played his entire 21-year baseball career in the National League. He won 20 games each in 13 seasons, including a 23-7 record when he was age 42...

    , baseball player
  • Lee Marvin
    Lee Marvin
    Lee Marvin was an American film actor. Known for his gravelly voice, white hair and 6' 2" stature, Marvin at first did supporting roles, mostly villains, soldiers and other hardboiled characters, but after winning an Academy Award for Best Actor for his dual roles in Cat Ballou , he landed more...

    , actor
  • Charles Durning
    Charles Durning
    Charles Durning is an American actor. With appearances in over 100 films, Durning's memorable roles include police officers in the Oscar-winning The Sting and crime drama Dog Day Afternoon , along with the comedies Tootsie, To Be Or Not To Be and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the last two...

    , actor
  • Charles Franklin Hildebrand
    Charles Franklin Hildebrand
    Charles Franklin Hildebrand, usually known as Franklin Hildebrand , was an American journalist who from 1930 to 1957 published the Jeff Davis Parish News, subsequently renamed the Jennings Daily News and located in Jennings, the seat of Jeff Davis Parish in southwestern Louisiana.Hildebrand was...

    , journalist and publisher
  • Audie Murphy
    Audie Murphy
    Audie Leon Murphy was a highly decorated and famous soldier. Through LIFE magazine's July 16, 1945 issue , he became one the most famous soldiers of World War II and widely regarded as the most decorated American soldier of the war...

    , Medal of Honor
    Medal of Honor
    The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

     recipient, most decorated soldier of WWII, actor
  • John Kerry
    John Kerry
    John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to former President George W...

    , Massachusetts
    Massachusetts
    The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

     Senator
    United States Senate
    The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

     and 2004 Democratic
    Democratic Party (United States)
    The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

     nominee for the Presidency of the United States
  • John McCain
    John McCain
    John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

    , Arizona
    Arizona
    Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

     Senator and 2008 Republican
    Republican Party (United States)
    The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

     nominee for the Presidency of the United States
  • John F. Kennedy
    John F. Kennedy
    John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

    , 35th President of the United States
    President of the United States
    The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

  • General Wesley Clark
  • Bruce Sundlun
    Bruce Sundlun
    Bruce Sundlun was an American politician and member of the Democratic Party who served as 71st Governor of Rhode Island from 1991 to 1995. He was Rhode Island's second Jewish governor, and the only Jewish governor in the United States during his two terms...

    , former governor of Rhode Island.
  • Steponas Darius
    Steponas Darius
    Steponas Darius was a Lithuanian-American pilot....

    , an aviator, who fought for the U.S. Army during World War I
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

  • Rod Serling
    Rod Serling
    Rodman Edward "Rod" Serling was an American screenwriter, novelist, television producer, and narrator best known for his live television dramas of the 1950s and his science fiction anthology TV series, The Twilight Zone. Serling was active in politics, both on and off the screen and helped form...

    , the host, creator, and writer of the 1959 CBS
    CBS
    CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

     television series The Twilight Zone
    The Twilight Zone
    The Twilight Zone is an American television anthology series created by Rod Serling. Each episode is a mixture of self-contained drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, suspense, or horror, often concluding with a macabre or unexpected twist...

    .
  • Robert M. Polich, Sr.
    Robert M. Polich, Sr.
    Robert M. Polich is a former United States Army Air Corp pilot and a recipient of the United States military's decoration—the Distinguished Flying Cross—for his actions in World War II.-Biography:...

    , featured in Minnesotas Greatest Generation (2008) short Film Festival
  • Colin Powell
    Colin Powell
    Colin Luther Powell is an American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. He was the first African American to serve in that position. During his military...

    , General, former United States Secretary of State
    United States Secretary of State
    The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

    .
  • Charles P. Roland
    Charles P. Roland
    Charles Pierce Roland is an American historian and professor emeritus of the University of Kentucky whose research specialty is in the fields of the American South and the Civil War.-Biographical sketch:...

    , American historian
  • Eric Shinseki
    Eric Shinseki
    Eric Ken Shinseki is a retired United States Army four-star general who is currently serving as the 7th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs. His final U.S. Army post was as the 34th Chief of Staff of the Army...

    , General, current United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs
    United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs
    The United States Secretary of Veterans' Affairs is the head of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the department concerned with veterans' benefits and related matters...

    .
  • Gilbert R. Tredway
    Gilbert R. Tredway
    Gilbert Riley Tredway is a retired historian from Indiana and Kentucky, who has authored two books relating to the American Civil War.-Early years, military, education:...

    , American historian wounded in Pacific Theatre
  • Robert Leckie
    Robert Leckie (author)
    Robert Leckie was an American author of popular books on the military history of the United States. As a young man, he served in the Marine Corps with the 1st Marine Division during World War II...

     US Marine ( 1923-2001 ) and author . One of the main protaginst for The Pacific
  • Ron Kovic
    Ron Kovic
    Ronald Lawrence Kovic is an anti-war activist, veteran and writer who was paralyzed in the Vietnam War. He is best known as the author of the memoir Born on the Fourth of July, which was made into an Academy Award–winning movie directed by Oliver Stone, with Tom Cruise playing Kovic...

    , writer
  • James Jones
    James Jones (author)
    James Jones was an American author known for his explorations of World War II and its aftermath.-Life and work:...

    , writer
  • Rocky Bleier, football player Pittsburgh Steelers
    Pittsburgh Steelers
    The Pittsburgh Steelers are a professional football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The team currently belongs to the North Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League . Founded in , the Steelers are the oldest franchise in the AFC...

  • Lex
    Lex (dog)
    Lex is the first active duty, fully fit military working dog to be granted early retirement in order to be adopted. Working for his United States Marine Corps handler Corporal Dustin J...

    , honorary, USMC, military working dog
    Dogs in warfare
    Dogs in warfare have a long history starting in ancient times. From 'war dogs' trained in combat to their use as scouts, sentries and trackers, their uses have been varied and some continue to exist in modern military usage.-History:...

  • Salvatore Giunta
    Salvatore Giunta
    Salvatore Giunta is a retired Italian football player who played for, among others, AC Milan and Albacete Balompié, as well as the Italian under-21 side.Giunta played for AS Cannes in French Ligue 2 during the 1998-99 season....

    , the first living person since the Vietnam War to receive the Medal of Honor.
  • Manny Babbitt
    Manny Babbitt
    Manuel Pina "Manny" Babbitt was a U.S. Marine veteran of the Vietnam War who was convicted of the murder of a 78-year-old woman, Leah Schendel, during a burglary in Sacramento, California in 1980. He was executed by the state of California by lethal injection at San Quentin State Prison, one day...

    , executed in California, 1999.


The most Purple Hearts received by one person is nine. A U.S. Army soldier holds this distinction. Six U.S. Army soldiers and one U.S. Marine share the distinction of holding 8 Purple Hearts:
  • Richard J. Buck – Four Purple Hearts in the Korean War
    Korean War
    The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

     and four in the Vietnam War
    Vietnam War
    The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

  • Robert T. Frederick
    Robert T. Frederick
    Robert Tryon Frederick was a highly decorated American combat commander during World War II, who commanded the 1st Special Service Force, the 1st Airborne Task Force and the 45th Infantry Division.-Career:...

     – Eight Purple Hearts in World War II; also received two Distinguished Service Crosses
    Distinguished Service Cross (United States)
    The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Army, for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force. Actions that merit the Distinguished Service Cross must be of such a high degree...

  • David H. Hackworth
    David H. Hackworth
    Colonel David Haskell Hackworth also known as "Hack", was the most highly decorated soldier in United States military history having received 24 decorations for heroism in combat from the Distinguished Service Cross to the Army Commendation Medal. He was also a prominent military journalist...

     – Eight Purple Hearts in the Korean War and Vietnam War; also received two Distinguished Service Crosses
    Distinguished Service Cross (United States)
    The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Army, for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force. Actions that merit the Distinguished Service Cross must be of such a high degree...

     and ten Silver Stars
  • Robert L. Howard
    Robert L. Howard
    Robert Lewis Howard was a highly decorated United States Army soldier and Medal of Honor recipient of the Vietnam War. He was wounded 14 times over 54 months of combat, was awarded 8 Purple Hearts, 4 Bronze Stars, and was nominated for the Medal of Honor three separate times...

     – Eight Purple Hearts in the Vietnam War; also received the Medal of Honor
    Medal of Honor
    The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

     and two Distinguished Service Crosses
    Distinguished Service Cross (United States)
    The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Army, for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force. Actions that merit the Distinguished Service Cross must be of such a high degree...

    , a Silver Star
    Silver Star
    The Silver Star is the third-highest combat military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States armed forces for valor in the face of the enemy....

    , and four Bronze Stars
  • Albert L. Ireland, USMC – Five Purple Hearts in World War II and three in the Korean War
    Korean War
    The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

    ; also received the Bronze Star
  • William L. Russell – Eight Purple Hearts in World War II; Silver Star
    Silver Star
    The Silver Star is the third-highest combat military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States armed forces for valor in the face of the enemy....

  • William Waugh
    Billy Waugh
    Sergeant Major William "Billy" Waugh , is a highly decorated American Special Forces soldier and a Central Intelligence Agency Paramilitary Operations Officer who served in the United States military and CIA special operations for more than fifty years. SGM Waugh served in the U.S...

     – Eight Purple Hearts in the Vietnam War; also received the Silver Star
    Silver Star
    The Silver Star is the third-highest combat military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States armed forces for valor in the face of the enemy....



In May 2006, a soldier made national headlines after giving his Purple Heart to a girl who had written many letters to troops. In May 2007, Vietnam veteran Jerrell Hudman announced that he planned to give one of his three Purple Hearts to George
George (dog)
George, , was a Jack Russell Terrier from New Zealand who was posthumously awarded a PDSA Gold Medal in February 2009. He defended children from an attack by two Pit Bulls but subsequently died of his injuries.-Biography:...

, a Jack Russell terrier
Jack Russell Terrier
The Jack Russell terrier is a small terrier that has its origins in fox hunting. It is principally white-bodied smooth, rough or broken-coated which is commonly confused with the Parson Russell terrier and the Russell terrier with the term "Jack Russell" commonly misapplied to other small white...

. George died from injuries sustained when he saved a group of five children from being mauled by two pit bull terriers in New Zealand.

See also

  • Law Enforcement Purple Heart
  • Sacrifice Medal
    Sacrifice Medal
    The Sacrifice Medal is a decoration that was created in 2008 as a replacement for the Wound Stripe, being gifted by the Canadian monarch, generally through his or her viceroy-in-Council, to members of the Canadian Forces or allied forces who were wounded or killed in action.-Design:The Sacrifice...

  • Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom
    Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom
    The Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom is a decoration established to acknowledge civilian employees of the United States Department of Defense who are killed or wounded in the line of duty.-Description:...

  • Thomas Jefferson Star for Foreign Service (State Department)
  • Wound stripe
    Wound stripe
    A wound stripe is a distinction of dress bestowed on soldiers wounded in combat. It was typically worn on military uniform jackets.-France:In the French Army, the wound bar or Insigne des blessés militaires, was awarded beginning in 1916....

  • Wound Badge
    Wound Badge
    Wound Badge was a German military award for wounded or frost-bitten soldiers of Imperial German Army in World War I, the Reichswehr between the wars, and the Wehrmacht, SS and the auxiliary service organizations during the Second World War. After March 1943, due to the increasing number of Allied...

  • Elizabeth Cross
    Elizabeth Cross
    The Elizabeth Cross is a commemorative emblem given to the recognised next of kin of members of the British Armed Forces killed in action or as a result of a terrorist attack after the Second World War...


External links

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