Purple Heart Medal

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Instituted: 1932

Description: A Purple heart within a Gold border, 1 3/8 inches wide, containing a profile of General George Washington. Above the heart appears a shield of the Washington Coat of Arms (a White shield with two Red bars and three Red Stars in chief) between sprays of Green leaves. The reverse consists of a raised Bronze heart with the words "FOR MILITARY MERIT" below the coat of arms and leaves.

Criteria: The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of an Armed Force who, while serving with the U.S. Armed Services after 5 April 1917, has been wounded or killed, or who has died or may hereafter die after being wounded; (1) In any action against an enemy of the United States; (2) In 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; (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 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 and attack by the Secretary of the department concerned, or jointly by the Secretaries of the department concerned if persons from more than one department are wounded in the attack; or, (7) After 28 March 1973, as a result of military operations, while serving outside the territory of the United States as part of a peacekeeping force; (8) After 7 December 1941, by weapon fire while directly engaged in armed conflict, regardless of the fire causing the wound: (9) While held as a prisoner of war or while being taken captive. A wound for which the award is make must have required treatment by medical officer

Background: 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. Only three were awarded. Subsequent to the Revolution, 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 for his memory and military achievements, by War Department General Orders No. 3 dated 22 February 1932.

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