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Honorary Purple Heart


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22 minutes ago, bigjim said:

Anyone ever heard of an Honorary Purple Heart and maybe who could have one.  If so who would "award" one? 

My guess, and it is only a guess, would be someone like Bob Hope who had been injured while entertaining troops in a war zone.

Linda Sand

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I did some digging and while a few come up, none that I found were awarded by the military officially. Until reading this thread I had never heard of such an award. Since it is given for having been wounded in combat, I can't think of any reason for a person to be given one. From Medals of America


Honorary Service Awards

Whether or not animals can officially earn service awards is a complex subject. The first dog to ever earn a Purple Heart was a German Shepherd mix named Chips, who was a national war hero after helping to capture 10 Italians during World War II. As a reward for his efforts during the war, Chips was awarded a Silver Star, a Distinguished Service Cross and a Purple Heart in 1943. However, after a Purple Heart national commander protested to the War Department, Chips was stripped of his Purple Heart and Silver Star. In the end, Chips was allowed to keep his awards, but the War Department decided that no more official military medals would be awarded to military dogs. 

Now, particularly brave military animals can earn prestigious awards given by the non-profit animal organization American Humane and various other animal welfare groups. The top honor given to military pups is American Humane’s Lois Pope K-9 Medal of Courage. Last year, it was given to five gallant canines who completed heroic acts such as uncovering improvised explosive devices (IED) and providing protection of troops on missions and patrols.

The U.S. War Dogs Association also presents the Military Working Dog Service Award to dogs who have actively participated in ground or surface combat with the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force or Coast Guard. Think of this award as a Combat Action Ribbon for military working dogs. The PDSA Dickin Medal, given by the British animal welfare organization The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, is awarded to distinguished animals who have served since World War II and is considered the equivalent of the Victoria Cross for animals.

So can service animals receive medals? The answer is yes, but today they cannot earn the same medals that can be earned by human military service members.


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This guy I believe has a VA pension and some scuttlebutt is it is for PTSD related to Viet Nam service so  it could be true.  I had been around the guy many times without noticing but  another Vet spoke to some people at a table where he was and I was with a couple of other vets and noticed it right off. Better vision maybe.  He later asked some of us about it later but none of us knew. I have had to call this guy out on some other issues in the past but I don't call people out about their service unless I know what I am talking about.  Once he was being critical about another veterans service who is now a politician. I told him call out anything else about him you want but not his service unless you were with him under fire Especially based on anecdotal evidence.  He didn't know what anecdotal evidence meant.


I guess I could sort of see why you might give out an Honorary to someone like Bob Hope IE so there surely are others like maybe Dr's or Nurses, etc.

Edited by bigjim
2nd thought
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Common Myths About The Purple Heart Medal



For his service to his country through the USO, he was awarded the Sylvanus Thayer Award by the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1968, the first entertainer to receive the award.[56][57] A 1997 act of Congress signed by President Bill Clinton named Hope an "Honorary Veteran". He remarked, "I've been given many awards in my lifetime, but to be numbered among the men and women I admire most is the greatest honor I have ever received."


Edited by Kirk W
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Bob Hope received both the Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal and an Air Force Sword award among others but no Purple Heart which he did not earn.  He was generously recognized and thanked for his service to USA many times and with many awards.

The topic of PH medal for PTSD and "honorary" PH has been discussed and dismissed ab nauseum on several veterans forums I am a member of including large active VBN network.  There has also been an effort by some vet groups to have the PH issued to Vietnam vets diagnosed with an Agent Orange disease.

Sometimes a jealous hearted "vet" will make fun/jokes of PH recipients and he/she is quickly shot down in flames by others.

The criteria for receiving these medals is listed on these vet forums and includes minor wounds and now concussion/TBI due to IED, etc.  Beginning in later years of Vietnam war a medical officer/doctor must have signed the medical treatment notes and/or form documenting the wound was received in combat such was my case in 1970 at LZ Uplift.

These field med officers were found at Army Medical Aid stations at LZ Uplift, LZ English and field hospitals such as 67th Evac in QuiNhon  and 17th Field at AnKhe.  I flew medevac/Dustoff missions from all these locations plus SF dirt airstrips in 1970.  Cheers to all and now back to my fishing.  Retired pilot, accountant and SEC CFP plus pilot to two Texas Governors. YEP





Edited by NamMedevac 70
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13 hours ago, NamMedevac 70 said:

Veterans Benefits Network (VBN).  All are free to join and ask questions and participate in all discussions.  Very informative, up to date and sometimes lively.  They claim to have over 70,000 members I believe.

 I have a 3rd cousin, now deceased, who received a Purple Heart during the Vietnam conflict. He was land-based Navy, one night they were cooking a  pizza on top of a stove in their hut/tent. He got drunk, tripped and fell onto the baking pizza. He was given a Purple Heart for that act of drunkenness and I nearly got into a fight with him over the medal. 😠

Edited by Ray,IN
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Funny thing Ray and thanks for commenting.  I am enjoying the **** out of my PH.  Along with 100% P&T plus PH I get 100% cost free health care to me at the VA that includes Eye and complete dental and other state and Fed benefits such as free fishing, hunting, property tax discounts/reductions and two free license plates sets and vehicle registration.  See above post.

Your cousin is one smart cookie and must have had a dishonest medical officer to sign his treatment notes or early years of Nam when field medics were allowed to sign the notes. Your comment would last about 5 minutes on a veterans forum as they delete any comment or jokes appearing  even remotely disrespectful of PH medal/recipients. TB/ TS.

Payback and life is sweet in many ways and Cheers to the bug in your ear. 

Retired pilot, accountant & SEC CFP, Legislative Aide and pilot to two Texas Governors.









Edited by NamMedevac 70
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