Puprle Heart question

If a World War II veteran refused a Purple Heart (in this case, because he didn’t want to worry his family), would there be a record of that award anywhere? Would his family be able to claim it for him to help him mitigate catastrophic medical expenses? He suffers from Alzheimers and is unable to do so himself.

I’ve looked everywhere I can think of to look and can’t find much, other than refusals like his were not uncommon. Any information would be appreciated.

I don’t understand how a Purple Heart would help with medical expenses. My father-in-law had one, and it sure didn’t help. I don’t think you are supposed to sell them…

No, no one wants to sell it.

From what I understand, a Purple Heart recipient has all co-pays waved. In his case that would be around $100 a day. I certainly could be wrong, but that’s what I gather.

I’m almost positive that there would be a record that it was awarded. I also am almost positive that the person who has power of attorney could claim it, since it was never received originallly.

But, I agree. How will this help with medical expenses?

Thanks. From what I understand the Veterans Millennium Health Care and Benefits Act improved benefits for Purple Heart recipients. Here’s what I found on the Department of Veterans Affairs FAQ page

Servicemembers records will include all awards officially recognized on the DD-214; copies are often stored at the local courthouse, or should be. Most military records are stored at St. Louis, and there was a catastrophic fire in 1973 which destroyed quite a few. Family members and others can request a copy of a servicemembers DD-214, it might take a while.

Thank you, Common Tater, I’ve sent the information along to his family. :slight_smile:

Be sure and ask first at the county courthouse where the servicemember lived at the time - DD214 is just one of thousands of official gov’t forms, but is the most important one, so most veterans were often counseled to have official copies installed at the courthouse right away after discharge. There is no charge in many locales. This should be a lot quicker than the DOD.

Yes, the award does give more benifits in the Veteran’s medical system.
I believe it puts you in a higher (better) medical bracket.
As it should. :slight_smile:

My Dad claimed it wasn’t all that rare for minor injuries treated in the field to have the Medic ask the woundee ask if they wanted the wound reported and have the wounded guy say no.

Thats may be the case here too, DrDeth, but the family thinks he was hospitalized more than once with shrapnel wounds. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what turns up on his records. Thanks everyone.

As someone who has his DD214 on file with the county clerk I can assure you that there is only a copy there if the service member brought the copy there himself and asked the clerk to keep an official copy on file. It does not happen automatically.

Sorry hit submit too soon. What I was saying is pretty much what Tater was saying but I was trying to clarify. The service member would know if the form is at the county clerks office. No need to search, just ask him. I don’t think that is the problem here. If the award was refused it probably never went through and wasn’t on any official form. My uncle refused to be awarded the PH in Korea and regretted it the rest of his life. Not much you can do if there was no paper trail.

Sadly, asking him is not possible. He has severe Alzheimers.

That’s what I was afraid of, that since he refused the PH, it won’t be on his record.


Guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the document says.

If it is not on the DD214 the only other option I can think of is to do a Freedom of Information Act request on his full record and the official records of his unit. If you can find some document stating he was wounded, an official dispatch, a casualty report an evaluation you may be able to get the DoD to award the medal he deserves. Even eyewitness reports from any surviving members of his unit might do it. I have a feeling this may take longer than you have.

I forgot to add that writing a letter to your congressman couldn’t hurt. They love to be seen to be helping veterans in need. You might have been able to get more help before the election but it’s worth a try. Nothing cuts through red tape in the military like a Congressional Inquiry.

Just a tiny hi-jack here. Did/do all American wounded receive the Purple Heart.?

I don’t think we have an equivalent in the British Armed forces but I’m not certain about that.

We don’t.

Cite. The Purple Heart was originally awarded by George Washington as an award of merit during the Revolutionary War. It is the oldest decoration in the American Army. At the time it was a cloth purplr heart sown on the uniform. It was revived in 1932. I didn’t see it in the link but the rules were revived in 1942 (?) so that it is awarded only to those killed or wounded by enemy action. All wounded should receive the medal. However some, like my uncle, declined to be put in for it for minor wounds. It didn’t seem right to him to get the same medal that someone else got for losing a limb or dying. He regretted it later.