The Purple Heart


I want to go back to a topic that is very important to me, The Purple Heart. Anyone who has visited my blogs knows I have a petition to have the Purple Heart Guidelines amended with regards to terrorism and terrorists activity.

The Guidelines were last amended in the 70’s when a new section was added to cover terrorists acts. However, if you read the guidelines you will see they do not address terrorism as we know it today.

The Purple Heart has a long and coloful history. It dates all the way back to the Revolutionary War when George Washington awarded the medal to three men [http://www.purpleheart.org/history.htmFor a number of years it wasn’t even given out.

Here is an exerpt from the Guidelines with regards to terrorism”

(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.”

Notice the words I have highlighted. This wording greatly limits who can receive the Purple Heart with respect to terrorists activity.

Now read on about how the Purple Heart is different from other medals:

“b. While clearly 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.”

So what are those criteria. Well here is an exerpt of the pertinent criteria as relates to my petition:

“(2) 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.

(3) 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.”

Certainly, if a terrorist rammed a soldier’s vehicle from behind at 100mph that[those] solder[s] should be awarded the Purple Heart.

So what are some exapmles of enemy related injuries that meet criteria for the award:

“(a) Injury caused by enemy bullet, shrapnel, or other projectile created by enemy action.
(b) Injury caused by enemy placed mine or trap.
(c) Injury caused by enemy released chemical, biological or nuclear agent.
(d) Injury caused by vehicle or aircraft accident resulting from enemy fire.
(e) Concussion injuries caused as a result of enemy generated explosions.”

You will notice that vehicular rammings to intentionally cause death is not mentioned.

Here are examples of cases not elegible for the Purple Heart. I have highlighted a couple because they were caused by combat. The individual soldier affected by these items did not do this to themselves. Combat was the cause. It is about time we, as a nation, got past our prejudices and sterotypes and moved into the present. Read on:

“(a)Frostbite or trench foot injuries.
(b) Heat stroke.
(c) Food poisoning not caused by enemy agents.
(d) Chemical, biological, or nuclear agents not released by the enemy.
(e) Battle fatigue.
(f) Disease not directly caused by enemy agents.
(g) Accidents, to include explosive, aircraft, vehicular, and other accidental wounding not related to or caused by enemy action.
(h) Self-inflicted wounds, except when in the heat of battle, and not involving gross negligence.
(i)Post traumatic stress disorders.
(j) Jump injuries not caused by enemy action.”

I highlighted two items because most people consider an injury solely a visible wound. However, noone who knows a victim of PTSD or who has PTSD can deny the terrible impact it has on veterans. Most of our homeless vets suffer from PTSD. That is a crime. I think of these vets as our lost souls that noone wants to claim. How cruel.

You can read the entire Guidelines at:

http://www.22ndinfantry.org/purpleheart.htm or

http://www.purpleheart.org/

I seek your support with my petition. I know many think this is an unimportant medal or issue. Not me!! My petition is linked from my “Purple Heart Petition” blog at:

http://purpleheartpetition.blogspot.com.

I have 400 signatures right now after about 6 months. I figure I need about 100,000 to get the attention necessary for Congress to take my petition seriously. I especially appeal to our military men and women and veterans for their support. Thank you all. God Bless our troops. God Bless America!!

[Adendum: My nephew “is not entitled to a Purple Heart! However, there are troops deserving a Purple Heart who will not be awarded one due to the way the guidelines are now written. This is a crime that needs to be corrected!] 

[edited for spelling and color continuity]

Advertisements

~ by devildog6771 on March 20, 2005.

23 Responses to “The Purple Heart”

  1. FIRST OFF THIS IS A TOUCHY SUBJECT FOR EVERYONE. I’am a paratrooper with a combat jump. i was in country (Iraq) for about 8 months before i got injure.
    Here is my issue. company was conduction a vehicle patrol in-route to secure a small Mud/Straw village. well in-route out company get a small fire ambush.. Really pathetic assault.. well to make this story shorter. My soldier attempted to secure/detain/flex cuff a HAJI. we didnt have the time or proper security to secure the haji 3 us soldier to 1 haji. so when he attempted to flex cuff him. this must of been the bravest haji to date. but he started to wrestle/hand to hand with my soldier. my soldier was 5’6” and 165 pounds. he had his weapon slung to his back. well needless to say i couldnt get a clean line of sight to shoot the bastard so i jumped out of humm-v got him down and after all said and down. the gunner yells out vehicle rolling. i get the haji up and my soldier gets out of the way. i tried to jump on the hood so i wont get ran over. but i was too damn heavy and the humm v hits me down the hill. i tumble back ass first down this hill and of course the humm v follows me. IT TEEDER TOODERS DOWN THE HILL FRONT PART OF HUMMV MISSES ME THE RIGHT RIGHT TIRE SHATTERS MY FEMUR…

    my issue is this. I NEVER GOT THE PURPLE HEART FOR THAT. BECAUSE THE HAJI DIDNT DO IT TO ME.
    MY ARGUMENT IS …. ” I DIDNT DO THIS TO MY SELF TO F*%KEN MEDAL” UNCLE SAM PUT ME HERE. I LOVE MY COUNTRY.

    MOST IMPORTANTLY ITS NOT THE MEDAL THAT MATTERS ITS THE RECOGNITION THAT THE COUNTRY GIVE YOU. ” I SERVED AND GOT INJURED” BUT SEEMS LIKE IT WAS A “SUBSTANDARD WOUND”….

    PLEASE EMAIL ME GIVE ME YOUR THOUGHTS SHOULD I DROP TRYING TO GET THE PH. REBEL5000@HOTMAIL.COM

    P.S. I SPENT 45 DAYS IN HOSPITAL AND TOOK 6 MONTHS TO WALK WITHOUT A CRUTCH. I KNOW HAVE A 18 INCH TITANIUM ROD IN FEMUR. BUT STILL A SUBSTANDARD WOUND FOR THE PH… AS A SOLDIER. ITS A KICK IN THE PANTS.

  2. […] he would cry.” – PTSD Back in March of 2005, I wrote a post about the Purple Heart. In that post I suggested the criteria for awarding the Purple Heart needed to be changed to […]

  3. There is nothing I could possible add to this wonderful post. It is a real tribute and testimony to our troops, regardless of which war they served in, on the effects of war. We are a very backward people when it comes to any illness that affects the mind.

    I have PTSD and though it wasn’t caused by combat, everything you said made me shutter with recognition. You are so right when you talk about how hard it is for people to understand and be supportive. Your Dad was blessed with a very loving and amazing family. Don’t think for a moment that he doesn’t know this too!

    You, your family, and your Dad are in my prayers. I truly admire your courage. Your comments, more than anything else on this post, concur why I feel troops with PTSD deserve the Purple Heart. Their injury may be hard for some to see; but, it is very real and life altering.

  4. My father is a retired Marine who served two tours in Vietnam. He finished his second tour when he was 26 years old. He is now 67 and has just been diagnosed by two independent VA doctors as having PTSD. He has lived with this terrible physiological disorder for 41 years and never got any help with it because of the stigma against it. He has it through no fault of his own, and his family has suffered terribly as a result of him having it.

    He also qualified to be a member of the society of Mensa, but turned it down because he thought it was snooty. I say this just to give at least one data point of a high IQ person suffering from the disease. I don’t take the IQ statement personally, but wanted to throw this data point out there.

    I have a lot of childhood memories of my father dealing with this disorder. I remember him waking up in the middle of the night screaming, covered in sweat with tears streaming down his eyes because of flashbacks. I remember him morphing from a playful father to Marine in a state of combat rage because firecrackers went off down the street and instantly catapulted him back into the jungle. I remember the drinking. I remember the verbal and physical abuse as a result of his uncontrollable rages. I remember him falling into a thousand-yard stare and staying there for long periods of time. Sometimes he would cry.

    For 41 years he dealt with this alone. His family didn’t understand. We loved him, because when he wasn’t in periods of distress over the past he was wonderful. We stuck by him. But we couldn’t help him. It is terrible to have to watch someone suffer alone and not be able to do anything to help them.

    He has not been able to really keep a job. He is one of those in the high percentage of vets who ended up in prison. He has all the classic symptoms of the disorder, and now, at 67 he has become able to face it and get help because he is too old to give a damn about the stigma anymore. With the exception of his family, he has lost everything.

    I personally think awarding the Purple Heart to those vets who have PTSD is a very wise idea. It may be a common disorder, but that doesn’t make vets any less worthy of receiving recognition. They have been physically damaged by things external to themselves while engaged in combat, and most of them have never and will never recover from the damage that was done. I think the Purple Heart would also help to remove the stigma of having the disorder and restore honor to men who feel they have lost it. Then they could get help, like my father, and experience some kind of improvement in the quality of the rest of their living years.

    Finally, I would like to say that my heart goes out to everyone who has PTSD or who is close to someone with it. I can never understand the horror of having it, but I highly esteem the men who willingly chose to serve their country along with those who had no choice. Civilians will never be able to understand the level of sacrifice you have all made, but for my part, I will say this. Thank you, I’m proud of you, and I’m honored to be numbered among your countrymen.

  5. Compelling reasons why the Purple Heart Medal should be awarded to those brave warriors suffering from “POST COMBAT STRESS DISORDER” ASAP are posted at Griffin’s Lair, http://www.grifslair.com Visit today, thanks, Grif.

  6. Cisco, let me clarify about lower “IQ” types. That info is from the medical sources I have studied over the years. It is, of course, not written in stone as an absolute. However, not all infantry and grunts are low “IQ” types as many want to same. That is even more true today than ever before in our “all volunteer” military. Or, I suppose you could say it is the “exception rather than the rule!”

    I apologize for that unintended “slight!” I was attempting to shatter a stereotype about who gets PTSD.

    Your remarks say all that I wanted to convey to people about what it is like for our troops who have PTSD. It is indeed an injury related to combat and as such deserves the Purple Heart in my opinion! I am sorry to open wounds. But, that brought you here. You have much to offer as far as understanding what PTSD is like for the troops. You are free to come to my blog anytime you want and offer information, ventilate, ask for support, or anything else related to PTSD or any other topic related to the war, your service, etc..

    If anyone deserves to do so, you do and our other troops. I will even start a forum for you and you and any other soldiers can use it to help each other if you like. It can be a closed. members only forum or an open forum. Just let me know.

    Please come back anytime you can and want to comment. You are most welcome. God Bless You and your fellow soldiers. May you again have peace in your life soon.

  7. IAM A AIRBORNE INFANTRY TEAM LEADER. 173RD AIRBORNE BRIGADE. “SOLDIERS ARE NOT THE SAME”…. MORE NUMB AND HATEFUL. MENTALLY SCARED AND DISTRUSTFUL OF SAFE ENVIORMENTS. NEXT TIME YOU MEET A INFANTRYMAN. TELL HIM TO HIS FACE THAT PTSD IS NOT A INJURY AND THAT THE PAPER PUSHER DESERVES MORE BECAUSE HE GOT A PIECE OF SHARPNEL IN HIS SHOULDER…… SHOT ME ANYDAY. OVER PTSD…
    I WOULD GIVE MY LEFT NUT NOT TO BE LIKE THIS. THIS TOPIC STIRRS UP ALOT OF EMOTIONS. SOMEONE NEEDS TO MAKE A DECISION ON THIS ASAP.
    AND TO COMMENT ABOUT THE “LOWER IQ INDIVIDUALS” ARE MORE PRONE TO PTSD….. I KNOW FOR SURE THAT INDIVIDUAL WHO WROTE THAT.. DIDNT HAVE TO LOOK DOWN THE BARREL OF HIS RIFLE AND AQUIRE A TARGET AND FIRE…
    LETS THINK OF THE INFANTRYMAN OUT THERE.

    AND PLEASE IF YOU NEVER SERVED IN A COMBAT “DONT THROW IN YOUR 2 CENTS”… AND IM TALKING ABOUT ALL OF YOU OUT THERE THAT WENT TO IRAQ. AND LIVED IN A DAMN BASE YOUR WHOLE TOUR…….

    I WANNA HEAR SOMETHING FROM A ” SOLDIER WITH A COMBAT MOS”…. NOT SUPPORT UNITS… I KNOW YOU DID YOUR PART… BUT THE ISSUE IS PTSD…. I FUCKING HATE WHEN I HEAR —— WAR STORIES FROM SOMEONE THAT NEVER HAD TO BREAK DOWN A DOOR OR SHOOT THEIR RIFLE… FOR ALL THE ” FIELD MEDICS”…. MUCH LOVE… I KNOW MY MEDIC ATTACHED TO US WAS IN THE FIGHT WITH US.. YOU HAVE MY RESPECT…

  8. I served my country too. However, I did not serve in combat. I am still proud of my service. I also have PTSD. I have to say I respectively disagree with you about a purple heart. Having served in the Corps, I can easily understand your position. However, had you been shot, and not dismembered, etc., you would likely feel the same. It’s a “Corps” thing! But, PTSD is very real, and it is as disabling as any physical injury for many troops.

    It is also one of the most mis-understood. PTSD is in no way a sign of weakness or lack of courage! It is an injury to a soldier’s mental and emotional well being. Granted the number of reported cases is becoming more prevalent; but, isn’t our mental and emotional self as important as our physical well being?

    Not to any way denigrate our troops who have been physically scarred and impaired for life; but our physical body does not define who we are as a person. I agree whole heartedly it can and does limit us, especially when injured permanently. But, our mental and emotional well being defines us.

    We have long had a stigmitism on mental health in America that is long out dated. Were it not, again, for our Vietnam Veterans, I dare say PTSD would still be considered a “weakness” and “cowardice” by many. The courage and personal strength to overcome PTSD is beyond imagination! And, while I agree that soldiers sign up for the whole package as you say, I don’t feel its victims are any less deserving of the Purple Heart as a soldier shot in combat.

    As for the guidelines for the Purple Heart and and other medals; well, they are periodically updated when the need arises. That update in no way takes away from the medal. Not so very long ago the Purple Heart guidelines were updated with regard to terrorism. It did not, however, take into account what our soldiers now face in combat. Urban warfare of the type fought now by this enemy was never expected to reach its present state.

    Please accept my heartfelt gratitude for all your service and personal sacrifice. While you hold your head proud for your service and surviving your war time injuries, do not denigrate your personal struggle with PTSD! It in no way takes away from your service and sacrifices as a Marine! As a fellow Marine Veteran, it only make4s me prouder to say “Semper Fi Marine” to you!

  9. i understand the arguments posted for the PH for PTSD, but i do not agree with them. I have been injured in Iraq and also suffer from PTSD, but I don’t think I deserve a medal for something so common as PTSD. Yes you suffer daily, yes it is hard to do things you could do easily previously; but it is just one of many possible effects of war or service that you risk being inflicted with.
    When you sign the contract of service to join any branch of our military, you pretty much are agreeing to the laws that govern the military. That includes the ways our medals and military decorations are awarded. This being said, with all the coverage of PTSD in the media or over the net, you should pretty much be able to figure out that you will stand a good chance of suffering from PTSD before you end your career.
    If you have a problem with the fact that you will not get a medal for it based on the criteria for it, than don’t sign the contract.
    I’ve been in the Marine Corps for 7 years and have spent about three of it in Iraq and have seen many things I hope no one else will have to witness, but that’s all part of it.
    I do not think there is much of an argument when the criteria clearly states that PTSD will not be an injury deserving of the medal. It would only lessen the importance of the decoration. I am proud of mine, i bled for my country. But i would not want to walk around with military members missing limbs or permanently scarred with it on my uniform knowing it was for PTSD. I will never complain about not receiving a second PH for my PTSD

  10. My son’s been back from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan for 4 years (82nd Airborne Infantry – 10 years total Army time). His wife left him, took the baby. My husband and I struggle every day to help him put his life back together. VA and our congressman have helped but the pain he feels is real. His agony is wrenching. He can’t seem to make friends or maintain relationships. He constantly sees the images of the past and says he’s a murderer and deserves no love. Just recently he’s begun sharing some of his memories with us and I force myself not to cringe or cry when he does so. I’ll pray for your cause. I don’t know the answer but I do know the suffering is so very real. God bless those who suffer so and also those that show no compassion for their pain. May they never know it’s reality.

  11. Whoever complain about the PTSD and PH should look around and see what’s going on. I’m diagnose with Chronic PTSD. Some you guys forgot to mention the word “FEELINGS”. What about if I tell you I don’t have the same strong feelings that I had before. I’m like a Mommy. I do love my family but there are certain things that make me different from you. For example when we go on vacations my wife and my son they are very exited. Guess what!! I’m not. I enjoy it but not like I used to. I used to have patience. Now I don’t. I’m explosive. I’m totally different than I was before. I have to take Celexa every day. So, What’s different between a soildier that suffer injuries in combay and the one who just suffer from PTSD? Simple… The scars will stay with you all your life. But mentally you can have a healthy life. In my case I don’t have scars visible. But if you look inside me my heart and my brain is bleeding. Mental Health is like any other injury. PTSD will be with me all my life. I can even show the emotions to my family like im supposed to. Now, YOU the one that is complaining about the PH. Let’s make a deal. Give me you scars I’ll give you my PTSD and you can keep the PH. The only reason i would like to get it is for my family. That’s a recognition not just for me. It’s for them. They are suffering everything im going thru. We are all brothers in arms and have to help each other. Instead of complain try to help. and in you you help don’t say anything keep it to your self

  12. Your petition has been removed. Hope you saved the signatures you had!!!

  13. One more thing, to quote Michael Durant in a 2003 VFW magazine article to another Somalia Vet…”It’s OK to look back, but don’t stare”

  14. I am diagnosed with cronic PTSD. I still have effects from combat some 15 years ago..and a few from Iraq. Here is the problem I have with a PH for PTSD. A “professional” can diagnose PTSD based on what the Soldier tells them. Some Soldiers claim they have dibilitating PTSD for one rocket that landed on their compound – probably a few hundred meters away from them. I have never questioned those troops I hear that say they have PTSD from something like this, however, that alone makes diagnoses that much harder on one hand and that much easier for troops to fake it on the other. Tough sell here…I was physically injured during an IED/RPG attack. My injuries were muscular – no bullet wounds or anything. I didn’t receive the PH. Some of my friends did, and they have the scars they will live with for the rest of their lives to prove it…this is such a sensitive topic that you probably couldn’t even have it if it was in a public forum – on a blog, yeah…

    I don’t know the answer but I will support your cause and sign your petition. If receipt of this medal will somehow help, then lets do it…but remember, this medal will not make anything go away, nor will it result in better benifits or anyting else from what I know…its just a piece of medal on a ribbon. good luck.

  15. I’ll find it for you. Lower IQ’s don’t absorb as much input as the higher IQ’s. PTSD also “is” a physical assault on the brain. I have a few good reads and links on my side bar too.

  16. Your absolutely right. Injured vets should not be ignored. They should get the help that they need. I was arguing the point that they should not receive an award for non-physical injuries..thats it devildog.

    I have noticed throughout my tour over here that the army has become more self aware of TBI’s and PTSD. As medical personnel in the army we have attended classes just recently to become more aware of these issues. In the class I attended on PTSD it was put out that those with a lower IQ are more prone to get PTSD then someone with a higher IQ score. If you could send me the link where you got that info that conflicts that statement I would be much appreciative. Thanks

  17. “I totally disagree with you saying that PTSD is worthy of a PH. It is a serious problem and should be taken care of but an award for that…Get real. Why would anyone dare diminish the PH. It is given if certain requirements are met, end of story. You receive PHYSICAL wounds from enemy DIRECT action. I do wish you luck in getting support for PTSD and other emotional injuries that do need to be recognized..but not by way of PH. In case you were wondering I am currently in Iraq..have been for 13 months..two more to go. I am a medic in a combat battalion. Infantry and tankers. I was awarded the PH when the tank I was on got DESTROYED by an IED. Luckily all I took was shrapnel to arms. Over the months I have picked up more pieces of my friends then I care to remember. PTSD? probably. PH for that?..I think not.

    dirtydoc said this on November 18, 2007 at 6:12 am”

    Dirtydoc, I admire you for your service. Yours is not an easy job. Frankly, I think it is one of the hardest jobs of any soldier!I am glad you survived your injuries. I am so very sorry for your lost brothers and sisters.

    Everything you say is true. I don’t disagree with you. However, I still believe the PH should be given to combat veterans when it is caused by combat. I say this because for many of those soldiers with or without other physical injuries in combat situations, PTSD is an attack on the brain. It causes physical chemical changes that “are not’ imagined that can and often do impair that soldier’s ability to lead a meaningful, functioning life.

    As a victim of non-related combat PTSD, I can tell you I have often wished that I had a physical injury during one of my darkest times. At least then, the stigmatism of a mentally challenging disorder would be removed. There have been times when getting out of bed, bathing, changing clothes, taking a bath, and many other simple personal hygiene tasks were too difficult to perform. I take every day one at a time, sometimes hour by hour.

    Then there are the difficulties caused by the fact that people cannot see a physical injury. They soon grow tired of being patient, understanding,or helpful. Especially critical are well meaning family members.

    Like many others, I cannot work. I want to work. I often pray for the ability to hold a job and function as other healthy people do! I have the same kind of goals and dreams as others. But, I must always remember that try as I might, some dreams will never be mine.

    Don’t get mt wrong. I do not feel sorry for myself. I have struggled and worked to where I can cay honestly I have a reasonably good quality of life. I don’t have and haven’t accomplished many of the things I could have or would have had I not had PTSD. But, what I have, I did for myself with hard work, perseverance and the help of some great doctors and counselors along the way. I have learned to be proud of accomplishments and not to wallow too long in failures but treat them as learning experiences.

    Combat caused PTSD affects our troops the same way. It is crippling in that it leaves those men and women unable to perform even rudimentary life skills. Early intervention greatly increases recovery time and prognosis. Those who fully recover are much stronger people. But, the stigmatism placed on them by the military and the general public makes many troops afraid to seek early intervention. But, believe me when I say it is a disorder that is very real and can be very crippling.

    It is not a character flaw, due to cowardice, or any of those lame stereotypes often applied. It will generally affect people of higher intelligence over those of lower intelligence. It will hit your best soldiers, your most dedicated ones quicker than your everyday “Joe!”

    Without proper help, many will turn to drugs and/or alcohol. Many will become homeless. Many will commit suicide or kill someone else. Many will wind up in prison! But, treatment is no cowards way to go. In order to get “well” they will and must relive the war trauma that caused its onset. For that time they will in their minds actually be back in that combat situation. They will re-live it that intensely on a lesser scale as they recover. But, like you they will never forget. Sights,smell,sounds, a taste will trigger their flashbacks without warning.

    Triggers may be very obvious or barely identifiable! They may suddenly “wake-up” and find themselves someplace and not know how they got there. They may not have any of these things happen or all of then, or some. Drugs prescribed by a psychiatrists may help some. In my own experience, they are a plecibo. Once stopped it all comes back after about a year. Talking about and through the traumas are the only things that have helped me through it all as I work on each stage of my recovery.

    For myself, the fact that the cause happened during early childhood and didn’t surface until later in life has prolonged my treatment. That is why I say and doctors agree that earliest intervention is the best chance for a cure!

    There is much controversy in the medical profession about this disorder and about about treatment. It seems to me that much has to do with insurance companies and their ever constant attempts to cut cost or pay out for mental health treatment. I have been fortunate in that I am a determined individual who fights to get better and fights for help when I need it. Not all people with PTSD are able to do this through no fault of their own. People are simply not locked into a mold. We all have different strengths and abilities.

    If nothing else I hope that I have helped to provide insight into what it is like for troops with PTSD. Please, don’t ignore these injured vets. Let’s make sure they too get the help they need!

  18. I totally disagree with you saying that PTSD is worthy of a PH. It is a serious problem and should be taken care of but an award for that…Get real. Why would anyone dare diminish the PH. It is given if certain requirements are met, end of story. You receive PHYSICAL wounds from enemy DIRECT action. I do wish you luck in getting support for PTSD and other emotional injuries that do need to be recognized..but not by way of PH. In case you were wondering I am currently in Iraq..have been for 13 months..two more to go. I am a medic in a combat battalion. Infantry and tankers. I was awarded the PH when the tank I was on got DESTROYED by an IED. Luckily all I took was shrapnel to arms. Over the months I have picked up more pieces of my friends then I care to remember. PTSD? probably. PH for that?..I think not.

  19. […] Walking Wounded Back in March of 2005, I wrote a post called The Purple Heart. I wrote about what I felt was the need to change the requirements for awarding the Purple Heart […]

  20. Mark, thank you for your candid comments. I wish you well. I am glad you had the support of your wife to help. I promise you, it does get better. You will never forget but you will be more content.

  21. I agree with this cause. However, to be honest, before I would have thought this a stupid idea. After having spent a year in Iraq with as an Infantryman and having conducted over 200 combat missions, outside the wire, I have to admit I am wounded. Before the war, I was positive even cocky but respectful and successful. Now, I hate like hell to admit it, but part of me is broken. I would give almost anything to go back to the way I was before. I would love not to need the little pills that keep me from losing control of my emotions.
    It may sound corny, but before Iraq, I felt a certain pride in the fact that I had the knowledge and skill to kill but the training and discipline not to act on impulse. Now, I feel differently, I pray that I will not lose it and harm myself or others especially those I love. I am haunted by smells, sights, sounds etc. that pull me back to the places I have been. Seeing my shadow on the ground outside of a restaurant in N.C. jerks my mind back to a dismount on a particularly bad night in Iraq. Certain, almost indescribable smells, take me to the scene of an explosion and a little girls partially blown off head. Some flashing lights on summer nights, when there is just a little smoke smell in the air, take me back to the scene of our guys burnt nearly to charcoal laying beside and sitting dead in a destroyed (un-armored) HUMVEE. Just standing in a crowd, especially at the Air Port, sets me on edge and has me reaching for my pills and or a drink to calm me down.

    Had it not been for my wife, when I returned from Iraq, I would have walked out my front door and never come back. Even now, 2 years after I left, the head aches, night sweats, night mares and all the other afflictions from the war make my life less worth living than it should be.

    To say that we who have served in combat and lived through all it has to offer, but not been physically injured by enemy action were not and are not wounded is to totally misunderstand the true nature of war.

  22. Eric, you can contact the Purple Heart Society and your local VFW. If you read the guidelines, it would seem to me you ought to be eligible. I would send Gates a letter, too. You see how quickly he jumped in to help the patients at Walter Reid!

  23. I was jarred by a mortar attack and jumped to seek cover. In doing so, I tore ligaments in my shoulder and a tendon in my elbow. But the personnel who reviewed the paperwork for a PH said that I caused the injury and that I was not eligible for a PH. Is this not the direct result from the enemy? Any guidance?

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: