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  #1  
Old 03 October 2010, 05:26 PM
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Military Leftover Purple Hearts

Comment: I had heard some time ago that towards the end of WWII, the US
military was preparing for their attack on the main island of Japan. Part
of the preparations were to make purple hearts for the expected
casualties. Of course, Japan's surrender meant that the attack on the
main island never took place but so many purple hearts were made that they
are still being handed out today.

[Also discussed briefly at http://msgboard.snopes.com/message/u...0055/p/1.html]
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  #2  
Old 03 October 2010, 05:53 PM
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Japan Are New Purple Hearts Being Manufactured to Meet the Demand?

Quote:
In 2000, for the first time in years, the government ordered a new supply of Purple Hearts. The old supply, manufactured in anticipation of the invasion of the home islands of Japan during World War II, had begun to run low.
http://hnn.us/articles/1801.html

http://www.americanheritage.com/cont...-purple-hearts
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  #3  
Old 03 October 2010, 08:55 PM
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In films (I realise that this is not a 100% reliable source), Purple Hearts are often issued in hospitals shortly after the wound, so I assume that a stock would have to be kept locally. This would also preclude the standard practice (in the UK at least) of medals being personalised (we have no Purple Heart equivalent)
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Old 03 October 2010, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
This would also preclude the standard practice (in the UK at least) of medals being personalised (we have no Purple Heart equivalent)
Not necessarily - the personalization may be done afterward - I assume that we are talking about something as simple as putting the name on the medal.
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  #5  
Old 03 October 2010, 09:09 PM
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I don't think medals are personalized here.
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  #6  
Old 04 October 2010, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnglRdr View Post
I don't think medals are personalized here.
Awards typically do have the blank flat spot on the reverse side, specifically for engraving. I don't know how often they actually are, though. Certainly not in the case of your run of the mill achievement or commendation medals (yes, those are run of the mill these days).
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  #7  
Old 04 October 2010, 10:19 AM
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*gasp* You mean the ocean of NAMs and Navy Comms I see on SNCOs and officers every day aren't all earned by merit???!!!

Say it ain't so!
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  #8  
Old 04 October 2010, 10:58 AM
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I've always assumed that there was a difference in medal awarding criteria between the US and the UK, based on pics in the news and so on. A British solider would have had to have served in every war since the Boer war to win the chestful of medals that some high-ranking US soldiers appear to have. I presume we have some non-medal process of awarding the things that Us armed forces members get medals for, presumably this commendation or merit medals.
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Old 04 October 2010, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertRat View Post
*gasp* You mean the ocean of NAMs and Navy Comms I see on SNCOs and officers every day aren't all earned by merit???!!!

Say it ain't so!
That might actually be news to someone from AnglRdr's era. Apparently you used to have to do something to get one. My Father spent 10 years in the Navy as an NFO and never even got so much as a campaign/service medal, much less a NAM. I guess that's what he gets for joining after Vietnam and getting out before the Gulf War... A true Cold Warrior.
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  #10  
Old 04 October 2010, 01:00 PM
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I got a NCM for leading my unit to 100% on an IG inspection. But they were also often used as routine end-of-tour awards for first classes and above, while NAMs were standard for 2nd class and below, which I also got, so I've seen both.
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Old 04 October 2010, 02:17 PM
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Commendation medals and achievement medals were practically requirements for promotion when I got out in '94. I always suspected that more than a few of those ribbons were created simply to ensure everyone had something to wear on their dress uniforms. Heck, I got a ribbon for graduating basic training!

I do feel that, although I was never anywhere near combat, I earned my campaign ribbon.
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  #12  
Old 05 October 2010, 09:52 AM
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Military

And the only medal that is always engraved with the awardees name is the Medal of Honor.
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  #13  
Old 05 October 2010, 02:46 PM
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I'm starting to smell a UL...
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  #14  
Old 16 October 2010, 05:27 AM
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I got the Army Achievement Medal for getting 100% on a skills qualification test. I got the Army Commendation Medal for causing my unit to come in under budget. I didn't think anything of it, until years later, reading accounts of what it took to earn those same awards during WWII. Stuff like clearing ou bunkers and pillboxes with a flamethrower. Now I'm hesitant to wear my ACM lapel pin on a civilian suit, like I did when
I first got out.

My ACM does have a blank spot on the back for engraving, but did not come engraved, and I never got it engraved. My other medals did not have an obvious blank for engraving, although you could probably fit your name on the back of the AAM if you wanted it there. Nation Defense and others, though, there's no room for anything.

I'd always heard the story about the Purple Hearts, too.
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  #15  
Old 23 April 2013, 04:34 PM
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Military

Comment: I was reading through a message board recently and someone posted
that the Purple Hearts being awarded today are the same medals
manufactured in 1945, in anticipation of the casualties that the United
States would suffer through an invasion of the Japanese mainland.
However, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki prevented these medals
from being awarded, obviously, and so the stock was put into storage and
is only now being disbursed.

This sounds at once something like I would get in a chain email from my
father-in-law, but at the same time sounds like it could be partly true.

As a Gulf War Vet, I want to believe this - thankful that all these medals
took so long to be 'awarded'; that they were locked up in storage rather
than be given out as they unfortunately so often are.
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  #16  
Old 23 April 2013, 05:02 PM
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ETA: Never mind, I see this is the same article posted upthread.

Broadly accurate, although about a decade out of date. A new supply of Purple Hearts was not ordered until 2000, due to the large number manufactored in anticipation of a possible land invasion of Japan at the end of WWII.

Quote:
In 2000, for the first time in years, the government ordered a new supply of Purple Hearts. The old supply, manufactured in anticipation of the invasion of the home islands of Japan during World War II, had begun to run low.
The decoration, which goes to American troops wounded in battle and the families of those killed in action, had been only one of countless thousands of supplies produced for the planned 1945 invasion of Japan, which military leaders believed would last until almost 1947.
http://hnn.us/articles/1801.html

Last edited by JoeBentley; 23 April 2013 at 05:15 PM.
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  #17  
Old 29 May 2013, 06:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by January View Post
I got the Army Achievement Medal for getting 100% on a skills qualification test. I got the Army Commendation Medal for causing my unit to come in under budget. I didn't think anything of it, until years later, reading accounts of what it took to earn those same awards during WWII. Stuff like clearing ou bunkers and pillboxes with a flamethrower. Now I'm hesitant to wear my ACM lapel pin on a civilian suit, like I did when
I first got out.
Long gone poster, but I can't resist: the ACM barely existed during WWII, having been introduced in late 1945. Although retroactive awards were authorized to 7DEC1941, it was explicitly a non-combat decoration at the time, the V device being an even later addition:
Quote:
The Institute of Heraldry
a. In a summary sheet, 5 November 1945, WDGAP, Personnel Division recommended that an Army Commendation Ribbon of distinctive design be established to recognize meritorious service in an area at a time for which the Bronze Star Medal may not be awarded. The recommendation was approved by the Secretary of War and the ribbon was established by War Department Circular 377, dated 18 December 1945. This circular authorized award to “members of the Armed Forces of the United States serving in any capacity with the Army for meritorious service rendered since 7 December 1941, not in sustained operational activities against an enemy nor in direct support of such operation, i.e., in areas and at times when the Bronze Star Medal may not be awarded because of its operational character”.
Emphasis added.

The ACM wasn't authorized for award in recognition of heroic acts until 1962' with the V device becoming an authorized attachment in 1964. The AAM didn't exist until 1981 and has never been authorized for award inrecognition of combat heroism, the V device not being authorized even today (though it is authorized for the Navy Achievement Medal).

Bottom line: no one would have received an Army Commendation Medal or an Army Achievement Medal for clearing out bunkers with a flamethrower (or any similar act of combat heroism) during WWII.
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