The History Of The Purple Heart Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 26 October 2016

The History Of The Purple Heart

The history of the purple heart goes all the way back to the revolutionary war. Although it wasn’t called the purple heart, George Washington had established the badge of military merit, then established by the commander-in-chief of the continental army by the order from Newburgh, New York headquarters on august 7,1782. Although the badge of military merit was only awarded to three revolutionary war soldiers it was never abolished but it was not proposed again until October 10,1927. Army chief of staff general Charles Pelot Summerall put in a draft bill to receive the badge of military merit, a few months later on January 3,1928 the bill was withdrawn and all actions on the case ceased but the adjutant general instructed to keep all files for future possible use. Many private parties sought out to have the medal back in the army, one of which these groups were the board of directors of Fort Ticonderoga Museum in New York. The Badge of Military Merit was created by George Washington in 1782 and the badge was awarded for bravery in combat, the purple heart was designed to commemorate soldiers bravery as well as recognize the ones who were wounded or killed.

Later during world war II the purple heart medal was changed into a medal to recognize only those who were injured or killed in combat, since then the reasons how to receive the award changed to add soldiers injured in acts of terrorism and military personnel injured by friendly fire. The purple heart is one of the most recognized symbol for combat injuries and the sacrifice of military personnel safety. It is not an award which someone is recommended more of an award of their heroism. On January 7, 1931 General Douglaas MacArthur reopened work on a new design. This design was to incorporate George Washingtons 200th birthday, An army heraldic specialist know as Elizabeth Will was the one to redesign the newly revived medal, which got the name Purple Heart. With general specifications she was told she designed the Purple heart. The purple heart was revived on Febuary 22, 1932 for George Washington’s 200th birthday out of respect to him for his memory and military achievements. The purple heart award is a heart shaped medal with a gold trim border and also contains a profile of George Washington, above George washingtons profile is the shield of the coat of arms of George Washington between two green leaves.

On the back is a raised bronze heart with the words “for military merit” right below the shield and leaves. The purple heart ribbon is 1 and 3/8 inches wide and has 3 strips 2 white stripes 1/8 inch on both sides of a purple stripe 1 and 1/8 inchs wide. Additional awards of the purple heart are given in oak leaf clusters and by gold stars 5/16 inch size. The criteria for the award was announced in the war department on February 22,1932 and was an authorized award for soldiers with their request, to any soldier who had been awarded the Meritorious Service citation Certificate, army wounded ribbon or if they were authorized to wear Wound Chevrons, after April 5,1917 right before the united states went into World War I. During the early portion of world war II the purple heart was awarded to soldiers for wounds received from the enemies and for meritorious performance of duty, with the Legion of Merit being established the purple heart was no longer given for Meritorious performance.

On june 13, 1985 the Purple Heart was moved the precedence from aboce the good conduct medal to immediately above the Meritorious Service Medals, as well soldiers could receive the medal as a result of friendly fire. On may 18 1998 they had changed the criteria for who receives the medal again and no longer would authorize the Purple heart to any civilian of the united states who were serving with authorities of the armed forces. The Exact criteria for the purple heart is any member of the Uninted states armed forces who while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. armed services after April 5,1917 who was wounded or killed in combat.

Examples of reason why someone would receive the purple heart are 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. Injuries from the enemy which allegeable military personal for the award the Purple Heart include injury caused by enemy bullet, shrapnel, or other projectile created by enemy action as well as injury caused by enemy placed land mine, naval mine, or traps, injury that come from enemy released chemical, biological, or nuclear agent and injuries caused by vehicle or aircraft accident resulting from enemy fire, also injuries caused from an enemy generated explosions.

You will not receive a purple heart unless enemy actions were involved or if her or him shoots himself or friendly fire during the heat of action and they weren’t being neglecting to weapon safeties. soldiers injured because of their own fault, 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 ammunitions as war souvenirs, will not be awarded the Purple Heart as they were not injured by enemy attack rather an injury from not following orders or bringing themselves into the harm which could and should have been avoided. Between the years of 1942 and 1997 the purple heart was eligible to all civilians who worked in direct affiliations with the armed forces, such as red cross workers. Just about 100 civilian men and women received the purple heart, the most famous to receive the purple heart is newspaper reporter Ernie Pyle who was awarded the awarded later after being killed by Japanese machine gun fire in 1945.

The most recent civilians who received the purple heart was in 1996, about 40 civilian who were injured/killed after the terrorist attack at khobar tower. However in 1997 congress passed legislation prohibiting civilians toe receive the purple heart in the future only men and women in the military may receive it. The purple heart is different than all other decorations in that an individual can not be recommended for the award rather he or she must be entitled it upon meeting specific criteria’s. The award is issued for the first wound suffered and an oak leaf cluster is awarded for each additional wound, no more than one award will be given for more than one wound or injury received at the same time. AS well as the previous criteria for receiving the award the wound doesn’t need to be a laceration or bleeding wound but the person must need to seek medical treatment as well as put down in the medical record. The purple heart is awarded in the name of the president of the united states of America.

The national purple heart Hall of honor is located in new Windsor New York is collecting the stories of purple heart recipients and sharing them with the public. The “Military order of the Purple heart” was formed in 1932 for protection and interests of all who receive the medal of Purple Heart, It is the only veterans service organization that consists of only combat veterans, purple heart recipients. During world war II almost 500000 purple heart medals were made in anticipation for the estimated casualties from the planned allied invasion of japan. As of June 2010 there has been more than 1,900,000 purple heart given to Marines, sailors, soldiers and airmen.

The purple of heart is the oldest award still given. The first badge of military merit was awarded on may 3,1783 to sergeant Elijah Churchill. In 1780 Churchill successfully led a attack on the British forces and destroyed a British supply fort and took 300 prisoners a year later he was the only one wounded in a successful raid on the British stronghold on long island. The modern Purple heart medals first recipient in 1932 is unsure because so many were given out for so many months and across the nation with and without ceremonies but Douglass Macarthur ordered his purple heart to be number one but there are no records to prove so.

During world war I more than 320,000 people had received the purple heart. In world war II just a little less than 1,100,000 people received the medal of honor. Just about 120,000 people received the medal of honor during the Korean war. The Vietnam war had about 350,000 medal of honor recipients and the Persian gulf war had about 600 recipients. During the Afghanistan war around 7500 military personnel received the purple heart and 35,000 during the Iraq war. The exact number of purple heart medals given for traumatic brain injuries is unclear because they are not tracked nor the type of injury the person suffer.

Few people who have received the purple heart; John F. Kennedy received the purple heart during world war II on august 2,1943 when he sustained a back injury, he also is the only president to receive a purple heart. Two famous actors as well received the Purple Heart, James garner received the purple heart twice during WWII one for shrapnel to his hand and face, and the second when he was shot in the butt by friendly fighter jets. Also was James Arness who served in the army during world war II, he was so tall he was the first off the boat in the invasion on Anzio, Italy to test the depth of the water which got him injured in his first year when he was shot in the leg. Humans aren’t the only people who received a purple heart K9s have received them as well. One famous K9 is Sergeant Stubby, a famous war k9 and the most decorated dog of world war II, stubby was injured when a German soldier threw a grenade into his trench, stubby survived and returned to the trenches after his recovery.

To me the purple heart is an extremely high and should not be a sought after award but still an honor to receive ether for oneself or for the family of the proud military personal. They joined the service to protect their country and to serve and during combat they were wounded and possibly killed so the award itself doesn’t make anything better but its to honor him or her who put their life on the line to protect their squad and took action despite all the possible risk.

The purple heart to me is as high as a medal of honor, most medal of honor recipients had died in combat to protect their brother beside them and protect their fire team regardless of the dangers while the purple heart recipients are in the same shoes they faced enemy attack or actions and got wounded or possibly even killed so they should be given all the same respect and honor as a medal of honor recipient. Just my option but the purple heart should be more awarding than a medal of honor unlike the medal of honor the purple heart cant be receive without being in a combat situation, an example in 1901 John Henry Helms received the medal of honor for saving the ships cook from drowning, during peacetime. That is all good but everyday there are military personnel putting themselves in real danger and saving each other so really all purple heart recipients should receive a medal of honor for their heroism.

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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 26 October 2016

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