For a Purple Heart
The Purple Heart is currently awarded pursuant to Executive Order 11016, 25 April 1962, Executive Order
12464, 23 February 1984 and Public Law 98-525, 19 October 1984.
A. The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President
of the United States to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in
any capacity with one of 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 as follows:
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
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
6. After 28 March 1973, as a result of an international
terrorist attack against the United States or a foreign nation friendly to the United States, recognized as such an attack
by the Secretary of the Army, or jointly by the Secretaries of the separate armed services concerned if persons from more
than one service are wounded in the attack.
7. 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.
B. 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
1. 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.
2. 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 a medical
officer and records of medical treatment for wounds or injuries received in action must have been made a matter of official
contemplating an award of this decoration, the key issue that commanders must take into consideration is the degree to which
the enemy caused the injury. The fact that the proposed recipient was participating in direct or indirect combat operations
is a necessary prerequisite, but is not sole justification for award.
4. Examples of enemy-related injuries which clearly justify award of the Purple
Heart are as follows:
(a) Injury caused by enemy bullet, shrapnel, or other projectile created by enemy action.
caused by enemy placed mine or trap.
(c) Injury caused by enemy released chemical, biological, or nuclear agent.
(d) Injury caused by vehicle
or aircraft accident resulting from enemy fire.
(e) Concussion injuries caused as a result of enemy generated explosions.