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I was wounded during a combat action and my chain of command has not recommended me for a Purple Heart- What can I do about it?

Several months ago I was involved in a combat action that resulted in our vehicle being hit. We had two KIA, 3 shrapnel and everyone in the vehicle suffered a MTBI none of my leadership has put me in for a Purple Heart. What can I do?

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Excellent question!

Special thanks to our SME Doug for taking the time find this information.

 AR 600-8-22, Awards, Para 1-14c

No military decoration, except the Purple Heart, will be awarded more than 3 years after the act or period of service to be honored. 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. Exceptions to the time limit include decorations approved under 10 USC 1130 and the provisions in sub paragraphs d and e below.

Para 2-8 Purple Heart: (This is the goto section to see if the Soldier meets the criteria for the award.

 Subpara c: 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.

 Subpara d. A Purple Heart is authorized for the first wound suffered under conditions indicated above, but for each subsequent award an Oak Leaf Cluster will be awarded to be worn on the medal or ribbon. Not more than one award will be made for more than one wound or injury received at the same instant or from the same missile, force, explosion, or agent.

Subpara e. 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 medical personnel and records of medical treatment for wounds or injuries received in action must have been made a matter of official record.

So, as long as the attack as documented, and it was since there ware KIA involved, there should be supporting documentation.  Have others involved in the incident been awarded a Purple Heart?  The unit may be waiting on the required AR 15-6 investigation to be completed before submitting anyone involved in this incident for a Purple Heart.

Is the Soldier sure he is not being recommended or it just hasn’t happened yet?  If his command says they are not recommending him for a the Purple Heart, then he should take his case to IG.  If everything is as he says it is, then he deserves the medal.  His course of action would be 1SG/Commander Open Door Policy; then IG and/or writing a letter to his congress person.

As a last resort the Soldier can also do a 138 complaint, but I think the IG complaint would get quicker results.

Have seen this in the past, but I would not think the command would be holding up a Purple Heart for anyone in this incident, especially if they were treated for MTBI by medical personnel.

Note from TOP:  I sincerely believe Leaders want to do what is right.  In this case they could be waiting on several items in order to complete the process.  It might be appropriate to simply ask the Chain of Command for assistance. If they are disinterested or possibly not doing the correct thing then I am sure it will be obvious in their reply.  In this case you can then take the proper action by taking it up the chain of command.

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Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training.

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