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   Purple Heart
Service: ALL
Instituted: 1932
Authorized: DOD 1348-33-M
Issuing Country: ( US ) - UNITED STATES
Purple Heart
Back of Medal
 
Devices
Description:
  1. Established by General George Washington -- known as the “Badge of Military Merit”-- on August 7, 1782. Revived as the Purple Heart in 1932 by General Douglas MacArthur (War Department General Orders No. 3, as amended and Navy authority is Executive Order 9277 
  2. Awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or any civilian national of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Forces, after April 5, 1917, has been wounded, killed, or who has died or may hereafter die of wounds received under any of the following circumstances: 
  • 1. In action against an enemy of the United States. 
  • 2. In 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 March 28, 1973, as a result of an international terrorist attack against the United States or a foreign nation friendly to the United States. 
  • 7. After March 28, 1973, as a result of military operations while serving outside the territory of the United States as part of a peacekeeping force. 
  • 8. A Service member who is killed or wounded in action as the result of action by friendly weapon fire while directly engaged in armed conflict, other than as a result of an act of an enemy of the U. S., unless (in the case of a wound) the wound is the result of willful misconduct of the member under Section 1129, title 10, U.S.C. 9. Before April 25, 1962, while held as a prisoner of war (or while being taken captive) in the same manner as a former prisoner of war who is wounded on or after that date while held as a prisoner of war (or while being taken captive under Section 521, DoD Authorization Act for 1996


Background:
  1. The original Purple Heart, designated as the Badge of Military Merit, was established by General George Washington by order from his headquarters at Newburgh, New York, August 7, 1782. The writings of General Washington quoted in part: "The General ever desirous to cherish a virtuous ambition in his soldiers, as well as to foster and encourage every species of Military Merit, directs that whenever any singularly meritorious action is performed, the author of it shall be permitted to wear on his facings over the left breast, the figure of a heart in purple cloth or silk, edged with narrow lace or binding. Not only instances of unusual gallantry, but also of extraordinary fidelity and essential service in any way shall meet with a due reward". 
  2. So far as the known surviving records show, this honor badge was granted to only three men, all of them noncommissioned officers: Sergeant Daniel Bissell of the 2d Connecticut Regiment of the Continental Line; Sergeant William Brown of the 5th Connecticut Regiment of the Continental Line, and Sergeant Elijah Churchill of the 2d Continental Dragoons, which was also a Connecticut Regiment. 
  3. Subsequent to the Revolution, the Order of the Purple Heart had fallen into disuse and no further awards were made. By 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 or were authorized to wear wound chevrons subsequent to 5 April 1917. 
  4. During the early period of World War II (7 Dec 41 to 22 Sep 43), 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. By Executive Order 9277, dated 3 December 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 award only for wounds received. 
  5. 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. 
  6. 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. 
  7. 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.