Jump to content
Herr General

Soldier's Medal to a Dutchmen

Recommended Posts

I looked orver the criteria for the Purple Heart and can fine no reason why it could not be awarded to a non-U.S. soldier. It seem that the emphasis is on while a soldier is wounded or killed servinving with U.S. forces against an armed enemey.

Here is the section fo the criteria that seems to apply:

3. Criteria: a. 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;

....

The emphasis is mine but you will notice it never states that a recipient must be a member of the U.S. armed forces but only serving with the U.S. armed forces in combat with an enemy.

Looking at the two photos of the Dutch veterans I notice that both are wearing the CIB. This would seem to confirm that they did indeed serve with and as part of U.S. forces even if they were still members of the Netherland's military.

Here is the relative section of the Soldier's Medal Criteria:

The Soldier's Medal is awarded to any person of the Armed Forces of the United States or of a friendly foreign nation who, while serving in any capacity with the Army of the United States, distinguished himself or herself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy." (Army Regulation 600-8-22).

Again the emphasis is mine but the regs are quite clear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The phrase "any member of an Armed Force" refers to members of the US Armed Forces, not to anyone in the world. While the Purple Heart criteria are not as specific as those for some other decorations, it has always been a US-only award. In fact, I can't think of any country that will routinely award its wound medal or badge to an allied soldier.

While a fine semantic distinction, serving "with" the US forces is not the same as serving alonside US forces. Properly, these Dutch soldiers should not have received Purple Hearts. They wore Dutch uniforms, were paid by the Dutch government, and their service records were maintained by the Dutch forces. Ultimately they were responsible to the senior Dutch officer in their chain of command. They simply took operational orders from US officers in the UN Command. While you will find general orders for many of the other decorations awarded to allies, I've never seen a GO for a Purple Heart to an allied soldier. And, as far as the Army is concerned, if there is no source document (GO, letter order, etc) making the award, it didn't happen.

Did allies receive Purple Hearts? There were certainly cases where awards were made in error (e.g., medals pinned to pillows of unconscious wounded in hospital), but I would most interested to see what the documentary back-up is for any Purple Heart award to an ally.

Edited by JBFloyd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While a fine semantic distinction, serving "with" the US forces is not the same as serving alonside US forces. Properly, these Dutch soldiers should not have received Purple Hearts. They wore Dutch uniforms, were paid by the Dutch government, and their service records were maintained by the Dutch forces. Ultimately they were responsible to the senior Dutch officer in their chain of command. They simply took operational orders from US officers in the UN Command. While you will find general orders for many of the other decorations awarded to allies, I've never seen a GO for a Purple Heart to an allied soldier. And, as far as the Army is concerned, if there is no source document (GO, letter order, etc) making the award, it didn't happen.

I'm not so sure that that's true; the Dutch Battalion was the fourth battalion of the 38th Infantry, just as the Greek Battalion was 4/7 Cavalry and the French were 4/23 Infantry.

Not to quibble, but they, as well as the French and Greeks, wore US uniforms and were equipped with US weapons. This was not true with with the Commonwealth Division (for example), which was a totally separate force.

The Dutch were an integral part of the 38th RCT; therefore, I think they would be entitled to all US awards.

Edited by Mike Page

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They may have been fully integrated into US units for many purposes, but they were not members of the US armed forces and that's the critical distinction. The were attached to US units, not assigned.

A number of the allied units wore US field gear and used US equipment. This was a matter of convenience and cost (the Dutch/Greek/Turkish/Colombian/etc governments were not going to maintain full logistical trains to Korea when an agreement with the US would allow them to tap into the US logistics system). The Dutch, I believe, modified the US gear with their own regimental insignia (There are photos of Dutch soldiers wearing the 2nd Division Indianhead patch, but they wear it halfway down the sleeve, in keeping with Dutch practice, rather than at the seam).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Darrell

Interesting the Korean Un Medal is "Greek" rather than Dutch. The lettering on the Obverse "KOPEA" is Greek :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting the Korean Un Medal is "Greek" rather than Dutch. The lettering on the Obverse "KOPEA" is Greek :rolleyes:

That's right!Mistake of the United Nations! Almost al of the soldiers from the first and second korea group received the greek medal!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to CURRENT regulations, a Soldier's medal can certainly be awarded to a foreign military member.

b. The Soldier?s Medal is awarded to any person of the Armed

Forces of the United States or of a friendly foreign nation who,

while serving in any capacity with the Army of the United States,

distinguished himself or herself by heroism not involving actual

conflict with an enemy. The same degree of heroism is required as

for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross. The performance

must have involved personal hazard or danger and the voluntary risk

of life under conditions not involving conflict with an armed enemy.

Awards will not be made solely on the basis of having saved a life.

On the other hand, Table 3-1 of AR 600-8-22 specifically notes NO authorisation for foreign military personnel to the Purple Heart.

In the cases of the Dutch and Belgians who were given Purple Hearts during the Korean War, I suspect that they were "awarded" informally and unofficially, perhaps as one writer noted, in hospitals. It would not surprise me at all to see all wounded in a hospital getting a Purple Heart, with the paperwork to follow later (that is usually how it is done). Foreign troops would never get any official award papers, as they were not officially recipients of the award, even though they might have been given one. You have to remember, most US field medical facilities keep a stockpile of PH on hand for use-- they are not controlled items, and are not in any way tracked as individual items. Giving one to an injured ally would be logical, even though not really legal.

Now, if anyone has any formal documentation of an official award of the PH to an ally, I would love to see it, and would stand corrected. Doc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...