Who awards Purple Heart medals?
Normally purple hearts are awarded by the most senior officer in attendance at the time the award is being presented. Soldiers do have the option to request a specific officer present the award to them but this would depend on many variables, least of which is the availability of that officer. In certain areas of operation, Commanders may have a specific policy on who may present the award, but this will vary from command to command.
c. 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 criteria.
j. During wartime the senior Army commander in the combat theater can award the Purple Heart as approval authority when delegated by the Secretary of the Army. The National Personnel Records Center, 9700 Page Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63132-5100, awards the Purple Heart to any member of the Army, who during World War I, was awarded a Meritorious Service Citation Certificate signed by the Commander in Chief, American Expeditionary Forces, or who was authorized to wear wound chevrons, upon written application. Approval authority for the Purple Heart for Army personnel wounded or killed as the result of an international terrorist attack is the Secretary of the Army. All other requests for award of the Purple Heart are processed by the Commander, USA HRC (AHRC-PDO-PA). The
following types of requests for award of the Purple Heart will be forwarded to the Commander, USA HRC, ATTN:
AHRC-PDO-PA, 200 Stovall Street, Alexandria, VA 22332-0471:
(1) Any member of the Army who was awarded the Purple Heart for meritorious achievement or service, as opposed to wounds received in action, between 7 December 1941 and 22 September 1943, may apply for award of an appropriate decoration instead of the Purple Heart.
(2) For those who became Prisoners of War during World War II, the Korean War and before and after 25 April 1962, the Purple Heart will be awarded to individuals wounded while prisoners of foreign forces, upon submission by the individual to the Department of the U.S. Army of an affidavit that is supported by a statement from a witness, if
this is possible.
(3) Any member of the U.S. Army who believes that he or she is eligible for the Purple Heart, but through unusual circumstances no award was made, may submit an application through military channels, to the Commander, USA HRC, ATTN: AHRC-PDO-PA. The application will include complete documentation, to include evidence of medical treatment, pertaining to the wound.