If you visited Marine Corps Times online around the middle of last week, you may have seen our initial report introducing the commandant’s effort to re-evaluate how Purple Hearts are awarded to wounded Marines. In this week’s print edition, on newsstands now, we kick the can significantly farther down the road, laying out in greater detail how the plan is expected to take shape and why thousands of Marines — past and present — could soon to qualify for a medal if they suffered a concussion or other form of mild traumatic brain injury in Afghanistan or Iraq.
Are you or someone you know among them?
For many who’ve suffered a TBI, this is a passionate issue. We spoke with one Marine, wounded in an explosion in Baghdad not long after the start of combat ops there, who was never recognized for his injury, which to this day causes frustrating and embarrassing memory lapses. Another Marine, who received a Purple Heart for a TBI he sustained recently in Afghanistan, worries that expanding eligibility will make the medal too common to also award to those killed in action.
Where do you stand?
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I would like to believe our troops that are killed in a war zone are awarded as well. A dear friend had a building collapse on him, because it had been so weakened from the shelling that it became unstable. But because no fire was underway – they deemed it to not be a combat death. whaaaaaaaa??? This is just wrong! I can see not giving someone a medal because they got a hangnail or something – but had it not been for the battle that had been fought in that area – the building would not have collapsed on him a few days later. He gave his life to this cause – now recognize it.
clr — I completely agree with you. In the wake of his death, he should have received The purple Heart. To not only get injured, but die. I don’t give a crap if there was fire or not. He was out there, he was fighting and just because it happened to be a building that took his life; it means nothing? It sure as heck meant something and it still does. *shakes head*
iIN VIETNAM THERE WERE OVER 10,000 NON COMBAT RELATED DEATHS. SEVERAL OF WHICH I HAVE PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE. FRIENDLY FIRE, ACCIDENTAL DISCHARGE, VEHICLE ACCIDENT, CHOPPER CRASH BETWEEN CARRIER AND LAND, SUICIDE, DEATH IN THEATER IS WHAT IT IS. TO ADD INSULT TO THE LOSS
OF A SERVICE MEMBER’S FAMILY IS UNEXCUSEABLE
AS FOR TBI. VETERANS HAVE BEEN FIGHTING FOR TREATMENT DUE TO TBI FOR OVER 40 YEARS THAT I AM AWARE OF. VERY FEW HAVE RECEIVED HELP FROM THE VA. AND RECOGNITION IS SLOW TO STILL. THIS MAINLY HAS TO DUE WITH POLITICALLY MOTIVATED INDIVIDUALS. WHO WANT THE MONIES USED ELSE WHERE . MAYBE LIKE SENSITIVITY TRAINING SINCE THE REPEL OF DADT.
Several years ago I had a heart to heart talk with a fellow Marine who served in Nam during Khe Sahn and the Tet he was recently diagnosed with ptsd and is on full VA dis. As he told me his story there were several combat events that he experienced that after more than forty years he cannot get over and has just eaten at him since they happened it was very difficult for him just to talk about it and it is a wound that has never healed.
There is no doubt that thousands and thousands have rated the purple heart for a long time. And the fact that they are saying this “New Policy” is actually new is a slap in the face to all service members. The policy is the same in terms of what warrants rating a Purple Heart. The only thing that has changed is that now all of those members who rated it must go through a near impossible paper process to prove what is already in their medical documents? How is this taking care of our service members? Its only making the process so difficult that in most cases it causes the service member to not pursue the recognition they should all have. Whoever made this new process should be ashamed of themselves. I hope they live with the guilt of the poor way they have handled this entire situation.