The Good New... Bad News -- A Maze To Care After The Purple Heart

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The Good New... Bad News Maze To Proper Care After The Purple Heart
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Center Image Is The Purple Heart Medal*
Awarded For Death & Injury In Battle
The Myth vs The Reality
Most Americans believe that all veterans are fully coveredand supported by the Veterans’ Administration.
Disabled veterans are classified by their needs. The severely wounded are identified, treated, and supported by the federal government.
However, many other veterans, often unknowingly with latent war related illness including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, "PTSD" 
“ fall through bureaucratic cracks. ”
Wherever this happens, you will find the DAV
ready to the serve the veteran.



A Downward Spiral Without Your Support
Good News... Bad News
Recently, Harley Davidson selected the DAV as the congressional chartered veterans’ organization that it wanted to support. The company also donated $1,000,000 to the DAV’s cause. Further, it has manufactured a mobile trailer which it brings to events, countrywide, to make vets aware of the DAV and the role that it plays in the vets’ ongoing support. That's the Good News.
Ironically, the Bad News is that in introducing the vets to the DAV, the financial demands on the DAV increase to deliver its services to the vets.
The DAV is not funded by Congress.  It is funded by YOU!
More Good News... Bad News
Today, due to federal privacy information laws, an individual’s medical and mental records must be kept private under HIPPA regulations. That’s the Good News.
The Bad News is that the DAV, and the local veteran boards of cities and towns do not know of the veteran's returning from the war; of vets moving into the area who have needs; or vets who have developed needs after returning.
Fortunately, the overall the Good News is that there are private, public, and charitable organizations attempting to make vets aware of the services available to truly SUPPORT THE TROOPS.
However, there is an increasing need to raise money to DELIVER these services beyond the slogan of “We Support Our Troops.”  Otherwise, without funds, the entire process is a downward spiral of promising services without the ability to deliver.  The DAV needs your help and donation.
Still More Good News... Bad News
The core of DAV’s veterans’ services is its role as ADVOCATE for veterans, individually, and as a “lobby” influencing federal and state legislation.
That’s the Good New.
The Bad News is that individually, without this advocacy, many veterans, exhausted and stressed from a war, avoid the further stress, or are incapable of handling the further stress of “processing-in” to the VA for treatment.
Vets --trained to expect the fog of war -- are ill prepared to struggle in the maze created by the government bureaucracy of stateside peace. It is not the intent of the VA to make the delivery of medical and mental treatment difficult, BUT, the VA and its hospitals are bureaucracies and possess all the frustrations of them.
“Without the DAV/MA I would have chucked the paperwork!”
is the common utterance of thankful vets throughout the years.
Fortunately, the DAV is there to ADVOCATE & FACILITATE their treatment. Without YOUR support, the DAV’s core programs and benefits will be limited, thus leaving our needy vets bruised, confused, and abused..  Clearly, this is not what it means to “Support Our Troops.”
Even More Good News... Bad News
There are many VA Hospitals.  However, over time, the Veterans’ Administration has determined that better MEDICAL CARE can be delivered by regionalizing hospitals by medical specialties.  That’s the Good News..
However, the Bad News is that while this may be the best medical case, it is not the best CONVENIENT case for the veteran who now must travel perhaps over 100 miles to see his/her medical specialist.
Fortunately, the DAV’s acclaimed Transportation Program is a key to delivering vets to their designated VA hospital.  The DAV needs your financial support for vans and volunteer support for drivers.  Without DAV transportation, many vets must ask family members / friends to miss work to bring the vet to the hospita... or not get treatment at all.
When You Support The DAV,
You Truly Support Our Troops and Veterans.

Click Image To Enlarge
The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after 5 April 1917 with the U.S. military. The Purple Heart is the oldest symbol and award that is still given to U.S. soldiers in service, surpassed only by the long obsolete Fidelity Medallion. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in Newburgh, New York.
Appearance:  A Purple Heart is a heart-shaped medal within a gold border, 1 3⁄8 inches wide, containing a profile of General George Washington. Above the heart appears a shield of the Washington coat of arms (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 3⁄8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes: 1⁄8 inch white; 1 1⁄8 inches purple; and 1⁄8 inch white. As with other combat medals, multiple awards are denoted by award stars for the Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, or oak leaf clusters for the Army and Air Force.

History:  The original Purple Heart, designated as the Badge of Military Merit, was established by George Washington—then the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army—by order from his Newburgh, New York headquarters on 7 August 1782. The actual order includes the phrase: "Let it be known that he who wears the military order of the purple heart has given of his blood in the defense of his homeland and shall forever be revered by his fellow countrymen." The Badge of Military Merit was only awarded to three Revolutionary War soldiers and fell into disuse following the War of Independence. Although never abolished, the award of the badge was not proposed again officially until after World War I.
Revival:  On 10 October 1927, Army Chief of Staff General Charles Pelot Summerall 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 3 January 1928, but the office of the Adjutant General was instructed to file all materials collected for possible future use.
On 7 January 1931, Summerall’s successor, General Douglas MacArthur, 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 specialist in the Office of the Quartermaster General, 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. The Commission of Fine Arts solicited plaster models from three leading sculptors for the medal, selecting that of John R. Sinnock of the Philadelphia Mint in May 1931.
By Executive Order of the President of the United States, 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 22 February 1932. The criteria was announced in War Department circular dated 22 February 1932 and authorized award to soldiers, upon their request, who had been awarded the Meritorious Service Citation Certificate, Army Wound Ribbon, or were authorized to wear Wound Chevrons subsequent to 5 April 1917, the day before the United States entered World War I.
The first Purple Heart was awarded to MacArthur.

Redefinitions:  During the early period of American involvement in World War II (7 December 1941-22 September 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, by an Act of Congress, the practice of awarding the Purple Heart for meritorious service was discontinued.
Executive Order 9277, dated 3 December 1942, extended the decoration was 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 award only for wounds received.
Executive Order 10409, dated 12 February 1952, revised authorizations to include the Service Secretaries subject to approval of the Secretary of Defense.
Executive Order 11016, dated 25 April 1962, included provisions for posthumous award of the Purple Heart.
Executive Order 12464, dated 23 February 1984, authorized award of the Purple Heart as a result of terrorist attacks or while serving as part of a peacekeeping force subsequent to 28 March 1973.
The Senate approved an amendment to the 1985 Defense Authorization Bill on 13 June 1985 which changed the precedent from immediately above the Good Conduct Medal to immediately above the Meritorious Service Medals.
Public Law 99-145 authorized the award for wounds received as a result of friendly fire.
Public Law 104-106 expanded the eligibility date, authorizing award of the Purple Heart to a former prisoner of war who was wounded before 25 April 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 18 May 1998.

Subtitle G—Military Decorations and Awards


(a) IN GENERAL.—(1) Chapter 57 of title 10, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

‘‘ 1131. Purple Heart: limitation to members of the armed forces

‘‘The decoration known as the Purple Heart (authorized to be awarded pursuant to Executive Order 11016) may only be awarded to a person who is a member of the armed forces at the time the person is killed or wounded under circumstances otherwise qualifying that person for award of the Purple Heart.’’.

(2) The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by adding at the end the following new item:

‘‘1131. Purple Heart: limitation to members of the armed forces.’’.

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—Section 1131 of title 10, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall apply with respect to persons who are killed or wounded after the end of the 180-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act.

Today:  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 5 April 1917, has been wounded or killed, or who has died or may hereafter die after being wounded...

1. In any action against an enemy of the United States.
2. In 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.
3. 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.
4. As a result of an act of any such enemy of opposing armed forces.
5. As the result of an act of any hostile foreign force
6. 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.
7. 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.
While an individual decoration, 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 will be awarded to be worn on the medal or ribbon. Not more than one award will be made for more than one wound or injury received at the same instant or from the same missile, force, explosion, or agent. 
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.
Examples of enemy-related injuries which justify award of the Purple Heart are... 
  Injury caused by enemy bullet, shrapnel, or other projectile created by enemy
  Injury caused by enemy placed mine or trap.
  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 are....
  Frostbite or trench foot 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, except when in the heat of battle, and not involving gross
  Post-traumatic stress disorders
  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. Note the following examples: 
(a) In a case such as 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.
(b) 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.
(c) Individuals injured as a result of their own negligence; for example, 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.

A Purple Heart will be issued to the next of kin of each person entitled to a posthumous award. Issue will be made automatically by the Commanding General, PERSCOM, upon receiving a report of death indicating entitlement.
Upon written application to Commander, ARPERCEN, ATTN: DARP-VSE-A, 9700 Page Boulevard. St. Louis, MO 63132-5200, award may be made to any member of the Army, who during World War I, was awarded a Meritorious Service Citation Certificate signed by the Commander in Chief, American Expeditionary Forces, or who was authorized to wear wound chevrons. Posthumous awards to personnel who were killed or died of wounds after 5 April 1917 will be made to the appropriate next of kin upon application to the Commanding General, PERSCOM.
Any member of the Army who was awarded the Purple Heart for meritorious achievement or service, as opposed to wounds received in action, between 7 December 1941 and 22 September 1943, may apply for award of an appropriate decoration instead of the Purple Heart.
For those who became Prisoners of War after 25 April 1962, the Purple Heart will be awarded to individuals wounded while prisoners of foreign forces, upon submission by the individual to the Department of the U.S. Army of an affidavit that is supported by a statement from a witness, if this is possible. Documentation and inquiries should be directed to Commander, PERSCOM, ATTN: TAPC-PDA, Alexandria, VA 22332-0471.
Any member of the U.S. Army who believes that he or she is eligible for the Purple Heart, but through unusual circumstances no award was made, may submit an application through military channels, to Commander, PERSCOM, ATTN: TAPC PDA, Alexandria, VA 22332-0471. Application will include complete documentation, to include evidence of medical treatment, pertaining to the wound.
Presentation Procedures
Modern Day Presentations:  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 Brigade, Marine Corps Division, Air Force Wing, or Navy 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.  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.

Unrecorded Presentations:  During the Vietnam War, Korean War, and World War II, 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.

Retroactive Presentations:  Service members requesting retroactive awards of the Purple Heart must normally apply through the National Personnel Records Center. 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. Air Force veterans are awarded the Purple Heart by the Awards Office of
Randolph Air Force Base 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 (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. In such cases, service departments will review service histories and all available records to determine if a veteran may be retroactively awarded the Purple Heart.

Destroyed Record Requests:  Due to the 1973 National Archives Fire, 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. If a Purple Heart is warranted, all available alternate records sources are forwarded to the military service department for final determination of issuance.

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

Other Information
Legal:  Any false verbal, written, or physical claim to the Purple Heart Medal, by an individual to whom it has not been awarded, is a federal felony offense punishable by up to a year in jail and up to a $10,000 fine.
Interesting Facts:  During World War II, nearly 500,000 Purple Heart medals were manufactured in anticipation of the casualties resulting from the abandoned invasion of Japan, Operation Downfall. However, all the American military casualties of the following sixty years, including the Korean, Vietnam War, and the Iraq War, appear to have exhausted this stockpile by 2007.
The most Purple Hearts received by one person is eight.
Six U.S. Army soldiers share that distinction:
  • Richard J. Buck - Four Purple Hearts in the Korean War and four in the Vietnam War
  • Robert T. Frederick - Eight Purple Hearts in World War II; also received two Distinguished Service Crosses
  • David H. Hackworth - Eight Purple Hearts in the Korean War and Vietnam War;also received two Distinguished Service Crosses and ten Silver Stars
  • Robert L. Howard - Eight Purple Hearts in the Vietnam War; also received the Medal of Honor
  • William L. Russell - Eight Purple Hearts in World War II; Silver Star
  • William Waugh - Eight Purple Hearts in the Vietnam War; also received the Silver Star.


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