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Navy Refuses Purple Heart...


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Hmmmm, difficult call.... I am not sure if I would award it if I was chief of the navy... it is very, very borderline and would open up for a whooooole lot of claims along the lines of "when I was close to the border between Easta dn West germany a low flying mig startled me and I fell from the guard tower and twisted my knee..."

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My favorite Purple Heart story took place in Da Nang when we had a 122MM rocket attack in the middle of the night. In the course of getting out of the barracks and into the bunker, one fellow hit his head on the reinforcing timber over the entrance, got knocked down and bled like a pig. He got a Purple Heart for his troubles.


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If all he is after is VA benefits, he doesn't need the Purple Heart Medal, just get the incident verified so it can be documented in his medical records and VA claim.

Here is the official requirements for Navy/Marine Corps personnel for the award of the Purple Heart (excerpt from SECNAVINST 1650.1H):

b. Eligibility Requirements.

Awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with an Armed Force of the United States after 5 April 1917, have been killed or wounded.

(1) In action against an enemy of the United States.

(2) In 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 the result of an act of any such enemy or opposing armed force.

(5) As the result of an act of any hostile foreign force.

(6) As the result of friendly weapons fire while actively engaging the enemy.

(7) As the indirect result of enemy action (e.g., injuries resulting from parachuting from a plane brought down by enemy or hostile fire.)

(8) As the result of maltreatment inflicted by their captors while a prisoner of war.

(9) After 28 March 1973, as a result of international terrorist attack against the U.S. or a foreign nation friendly to the U.S.

(10) 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.

c. An individual must have been wounded either as a direct or indirect result of enemy action. A "wound" is defined as an injury to any part of the body from an outside force or agent, sustained while in action as described in the eligibility requirements. A physical lesion is not required, provided the concussion or other form of injury received was a result of the action in which engaged.

d. Except in the case of a prisoner of war, the wound for which the award is made must have required treatment by a medical officer at the time of injury. Only one award is authorized for more than one wound or injury received at the same instant, from the same missile, force, explosion, or agent. Prisoners of war, if entitled, will be limited to a single Purple Heart covering the entire period of their captivity.


As you can see, there is no justification here for the award. He was not "engaged" in actions against a hostile force and, per para (d), did not require medical attention at the time of injury. Pretty cut & dried IMHO.

Tim :cheers:

Edited by Tim B
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Hallo Gents, interesting read,

the story is dated,Thursday, October 7, 2004

and refers to an incident in 1997,

was there ever any follow-up to his claims.

Kevin in Deva. :beer:

There is lots more to this story, and it is well-documented. Bottom line is that after full investigation of his medical condition by the military laser eye injury experts, they apparently decided that it was unlikely that his eye complaints were in fact due to a laser exposure-- a decision he did not accept. The actual injuries were very untypical of a laser eye injury, especially in the red light ranges which were reported. He was, as far as I know, diagnosed as having had a possible laser exposure, but probably not a laser injury. I do not know what happened to his VA claim or his Purple Heart claim. After the incident, the Russian ship was boarded for inspection, and no laser device was found on board.

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I'm surprised they never considered a small hand-held laser or even a laser "pointer" type device as these can still temporarily blind you if they hit your eye. Could have been anyone onboard shining one. Happens once in awhile up here when some idiot flashes a plane landing at SeaTac and they usually find them afterwards. :rolleyes:

Still, in this case, the man doesn't rate a Purple Heart Medal per the awards criteria. To award him one would, IMHO, degrade all the ones that are issued for those that earned them per instructions/regulations. But, that's my opinion.

As far as the VA claim goes, I don't understand why, with so much documention and legal action taking place, that the VA hasn't already acknowledged "something" happened to him that was "service-related" and after proper medical examination, acted on his disability claim; one way or the other? Sounds to me enough was, or should have been, documented in the guy's medical record prior to him retiring, so someone at the VA should have at least seen the entry during the screening process.

IMHO; - a disability percentage awarded for it-probably yes, if medically justified.

- a Purple Heart-No


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While I have not bothered to read the article I can tell you that I have used some compact IR laser designators that will zap your eye and give you migraines for life, you won't even know it until the pain starts as there is no blink response to IR....

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