Awarded by United States of America
Eligibility Military Personnel
Awarded for 'Being wounded or killed in any action against an enemy of the United States or as a result of an act of any such enemy or opposing armed forces'
Status Currently Awarded
First awarded February 22, 1932
Next (higher) Bronze Star
Next (lower) Meritorious Service Medals:
Joint Service, Branch Service
Purple Heart Ribbon
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 April 5, 1917 with the U.S. military. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New Windsor, New York. With its forerunner, the Badge of Military Merit, 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.
4.1 Retroactive requests
4.2 Destroyed record requests
4.3 Last resort requests
5 Notable recipients
6 See also
8 External links
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 August 7, 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 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.
On October 10, 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 The bill was withdrawn and action on the case ceased on January 3, 1928, but the office of the Adjutant General was instructed to file all materials collected for possible future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 in Ticonderoga, New York.
On January 7, 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. Her obituary, in the February 8, 1975 edition of the Washington Post newspaper, reflects her many contributions to military heraldry.