Supplement to “Heroes Living Among Us”
The Purple Heart is awarded to men and women who are injured as a result of enemy conflict. But on some occasions, those who were injured never received the award.
David Price, national vice commander of Region II for the Military Order of the Purple Heart, says anyone who believes they should have been given a Purple Heart should research their military files to see if the award is on their records, or if the records indicate the person was injured as a result of enemy actions. “A lot of times, it is on the record but the person never got the medal itself,” Price says.
If medical records are not available, the next best thing is eyewitness accounts. At least two eyewitness accounts (the higher the rank the better) must corroborate the story of the person who was injured.
The starting point is writing a letter to the National Personnel Records Center Medals Section (NRPMA-M), 9700 Page Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63132-5100. Price says to specify in a letter that a Purple Heart was not awarded, but it should have been. That Center will research medical records and send a Purple Heart for free if it finds evidence that it was earned.
Another place to try is www.archives.gov/veterans, where veterans and their families can download forms to request a former military person’s medical records. Military records, specifically a DD 214, may indicate that the person is owed a Purple Heart. Also, information is posted on the site as to where to send a request for medals.
The Kentucky Military Records, (502) 564-4883, has 90% of records on file for anyone who joined the military in or about 1946 or later in Kentucky, according to David Worley of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs. Worley says his office can help veterans who want to research their records and apply for a Purple Heart.
Purple Heart medals can be ordered through the Military Order of the Purple Heart. The organization’s Web site is www.purpleheart.org
and its phone number is (703) 642-5360. Anyone purchasing an additional Purple Heart must certify that they have been given the honor before they can buy the medal, Price says.
To read the Kentucky Living November 2005 feature that goes along with this supplement, click here: Heroes Living Among Us