Purple Heart Medal Anodized
Service: All Services (Originally Army Only)
Instituted: 1932; The Purple Heart is retroactive to 5 April 1917; however, awards for qualifying prior to that date have been made
Criteria: Awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or to any civilian national of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Forces, since 5 April 1917 has been wounded, killed, or who has died or may die of wounds received from an opposing enemy force while in armed combat or as a result of an act of international terrorism or being a Prisoner of War
Devices: Army/Air Force: Bronze, Silver Oak Leaf Cluster; Navy/ Marine Corps/Coast Guard: Gold, Silver Star
Notes: A Wound Ribbon appeared briefly in 1917 but was ultimately rescinded. (The Army used wound chevrons during World War I)
The Purple Heart is America’s oldest military decoration. It was originally established on August 7, 1782 by General George Washington who designed the original award called the “Badge of Military Merit.” The Badge of Military Merit was awarded for singularly meritorious action to a deserving hero of the Revolutionary War.
The Purple Heart was originally last in precedence of all other personal decorations but was elevated in 1985 by an act of Congress to a position just behind the Bronze Star.