Purple Heart Miniature Medal (Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy)

The oldest medal in the United States military, the Purple Heart Medal has been awarded since 1917 to service members or civilians who have been wounded or killed, or may die of wounds, from an enemy force while in armed combat, as a result of terrorism, or as a prisoner of war. 


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Purple Heart Miniature Medal (Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy)

Silver Stars
Gold Stars

The Purple Heart Medal was originally established on August 7, 1782 by General George Washington who designed the original award, then 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. There were only three recipients of the award, all of whom were non-commissioned officers of the Continental Army. The Badge of Military Merit was intended by Washington to be a permanent decoration, but was never used again after the three initial presentations until it was reestablished as the Purple Heart Medal on February 22, 1932 (the 200th anniversary of Washington’s birth) by the Army War Department.




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