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Authorization. Executive Order 9277 of 3 December 1942, E.O. 10409 of 12 November 1952, E.O. 11016 of 25 April 1962 as amended by E.O. 12464 of 23 February 1984, Public Law 98-525 of 19 October 1984, and Public Law 105-85 of 18 November 1997.

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, has been killed or wounded.

In action against an enemy of the United States.

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.

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.

As the result of an act of any such enemy or opposing armed force.

As the result of an act of any hostile foreign force.

As the result of friendly weapon fire while actively engaging the enemy.

As the indirect result of enemy action. (example: injuries resulting from parachuting from a plane brought down by enemy or hostile fire.)

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

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

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.

Definition. 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.

Limitations. 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.

Determination of Eligibility. During World War I, and World War II, and Korea, an individual must have been wounded as a direct result of enemy action. During subsequent conflicts (Vietnam and Operation DESERT STORM), the individual must have been wounded as a result of enemy action (direct or indirect).

Veterans may apply to the National Personnel Records Center, Navy (N314), Room 3475, 9700 Page Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63132-5100 for a determination of eligibility. If adequate documentation is not available in the individual's service and/or health records, the individual may submit sworn affidavits from two eyewitnesses who have personal knowledge of the injury and the circumstances surrounding the incident in which the injury occurred.

For active duty personnel wounded during the above wars or conflict, requests should be addressed to the CHNAVPERS (PERS-312) or CMC (MMMA).

Subsequent awards are denoted by gold and silver stars.

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