Post service purple heart??

AIbandit

PEB Forum Regular Member
#1
Gods honest truth this is my story... (yes I made stupid mistakes)

On August 25th 2006 In the Ghazaliya district of Baghdad an IED blast went off In front of my HMMWV (I was the gunner standing up) The blast slammed me against the back of my turret. My squad leader asked if i was alright i responded "Yes i just hit the turret" We rolled in from sector and I began feeling slight back pain. Later that night i couldnt sleep. so I went to see my doc (platoon medic) who provided me Naproxen. I continued to go out on missions I didnt want to go to the clinic and make a big deal out of it. For several retarded reasons. A: we only got 1 day off a month and if i was taken out that would eliminate everyones days off. B: I didnt want to look like an idiot because weeks before we had someone awarded the purple heart for hearing loss that actually improved on there hearing test. The pain gradually got worse as time went on. Once we got back to Germany I began going to the clinic. which said I just had muscle spasms some doctors said there was nothing wrong. My physical therapist kept trying to help me but it took another 6 months before I was finally seen by the chief neurosurgeon of Landstuhl. He ordered a CT scan which showed multiple fractures in my vertibrate disk degeneration/narrowing "protrusions" on my disks "schmorl nodes" and other fun stuff. Ive told every doctor ive seen what happened and they all made note of it in there reports but never said anything else about it. Almost a year after that my PEB finished and I was medically discharged for this injury. Now I'm facing the issues that could of been avoided if I made wiser decisions back then. Dont get me wrong i know theres worse off then me. But walking with a cane and being in constant pain isnt fun. Now I would like to attempt to get a purple heart so I can get the medical benefits I need for my back. I know I can get statements from my squad and my medic but I really dont know what to do.
Any tips or information would be greatly apreciated. Thank you
 

CSM493

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#3
It sounds like you would meet the requirements if medical records are available. There is an issue afloat concerning the award of the Purple Heart in situations where immediate medical attention was not given. The classic example is TBI, where the individual intially thinks they are OK but later (sometimes months later) start experiencing problems from the concussion. The TBI may be found in the Line of Duty through investigation, but the requirement of having received medical attention was not met on the battlefield. The regulation requires that medical attention must have been given. The regulation is vague on when that medical attention must be given, but my guess is that if there are no records from the incident when it happened, then it didn't happen.

Jason, have you come across situations like this? It would be interesting to get a legal opinion on how the reg reads.

CSM
 

AIbandit

PEB Forum Regular Member
#4
Thank you for your input CSM, I have read this reg multiple times this part in particular worries me.

(2) A wound is defined as an injury to any part of the body from an outside force or agent sustained under one or more of the conditions listed above. A physical lesion is not required, however, the wound for which the award is made must have required treatment by a medical officer and records of medical treatment for wounds or injuries received in action must have been made a matter of official record.

Now I have plenty of records of treating the wound but nothing actually states its from this blast. I do have records of the blast (I was awarded a CAB) though I believe the CAB criteria for blast distance is pretty high so this may not help.

I am also 99% Positive I wrote about hitting the turret in my statement of the incident. I tried to get a copy of the statement at the time but was told its classified.
 

stingerwooten

PEB Forum Regular Member
#5
Back in October 2008 I applied for a post service award of the Purple Heart for sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI) while serving in Iraq. This incident occurred on 12, Apr. 2004. I was less than ten feet away when an enemy 82mm rocket exploded, knocking me over a concrete barrier. I was briefly knocked unconscious, and when I came to I was disoriented and had a splitting headache.

The problem was, when I was hurt I didn't seek medical attention for almost two weeks. I didn't realize it at the time, but the symptoms of dizziness, sensitivity to light, and sleep disturbances were attibuted to the concussion I sustained. Although by the time I was seen, many of these symptoms had slowly begun to subside. The only thing the medics noted in my medical records was that I had scarring on my right eardrum, indicating that I most likely sustained a perforated eardrum from the acoustic trauma when the rocket exploded. The only good thing that came out of this examination was that I was seen by a medical officer (A Lt. Colonel) and it was annotated in my records. But they only noted the acoustic trauma not the TBI. But recently, over this last summer, I was diagonosed with a moderate TBI through the Dept. of VA.

My understanding is that any enemy inflicted wound, whether or not there is observable blood loss, merits the Purple Heart. (Invisible) brain injury caused by an enemy-inflicted concussion or blow, such as an IED explosion, mortar or rocket that renders the serviceperson even temporarily incapacitated is a wound even though brain trauma is not immediately visible to the naked eye.

IAW AR 600-8-22; 2–8. Purple Heart item g.(5) Examples of enemy-related injuries which clearly justify award of the Purple Heart are as follows: Concussion injuries caused as a result of enemy generated explosions.

To be honest, I never even thought about applying for this award, until I saw the head of the Polytrauma Clinic at the VA I go to. Based on his recommendation he said I should apply, as I supposedly met the criteria. I went ahead, and gathered all of my required documentation;

* Medical records of treatment in-country.
* Post-treatment records at Polytrauma Clinic at the VA.
* Records from PEB.
* Reconstructed narrative statement.
* A copy of the Brigade Serious Incident Report (SIR)
* Lay statements from fellow soldiers I served with, who witnessed the event.

Also, I was able to get a hold of my old supervisor, who served with me when we went to Iraq. I forwarded my award packet to my local Congressman, who endorsed it. He then forwarded it on to the Awards Branch-Dept. of the Army. In February 2009, I received a letter from the Chief of the Awards Branch stating I needed to provide more medical documentation in regards to my hearing loss and TBI. As I gathered the necessary documentation the last thing I needed before I sent off my supporting documents was my final disability compensation claim which would most likely put me at either 90% or 100%. (I was already at a combined rating of 80%.)

I mainly needed this vital document to help prove the hearing loss, since I just had a more recent audiology test performed. The results were that I am borderline deaf due to the acoustic trauma. I was also having my TBI reevaluated under the new criteria. I ended up receiving my Disability Compensation award letter at the end of April. My combined rating was upped from 80% to 90%. With this last bit of official documentation I finally forwarded my additional info to the US Army Awards Branch for reconsideration of my Purple Heart request. So far, they are still processing my request. I haven't heard anything yet. I guess so far, no news is good news I suppose.

AIbandit, I won't lie to you, it is a long and arduous process. Make sure you have everything in writing. Stay proactive, and maintain plenty of copies for yourself. Good luck to you if you are attempting to begin this long, difficult process. I hope my story will help assist those who are also eligible.

I'll keep you posted how everything turns out! :D
 

AIbandit

PEB Forum Regular Member
#6
I have everything except the Incident report I dont know how I could get that. When I asked my chain they laughed said it was classified.
 

stingerwooten

PEB Forum Regular Member
#7
Dude,

Your COC (Chain-of-Command) is full of @#*! Not to mention very unprofessional! :mad: It should be a simple administrative matter.

You can easily go to your Battalion S-2 (Military Intelligence shop) and talk to them about acquiring a copy of the incident in question. Every Serious Incident Report (SIR) is supposed to be filed with higher headquarters and placed in the unit archives. Its a simple matter for them to declassify the necessary documentation and provide you a copy. If you still strike out and have no luck with your Battalion S-2, go up to your Brigade S-2 and see if they'll assist you. Good luck!
 

Salvipal

Registered Member
#8
Hey Gents, I know this thread is older but maybe you guys have insight or can help. My job during the tour was in convoy escorting and providing security. I was involved in a handful of IED's and ambushes, there was one time that an IED in 04 OIF tour really rattled me, three ISF were wounded and were priorities, me and two other guys in a vehicle were dazed like I was but not "physically" hurt, one of those guys ended up with a purple heart from what I remember years later but not sure how he got it, I know another guy in a vehicle behind mine was also awarded one buy I'm not sure why, I was in turret and slammed head backwards from force and surprise, I felt a lot of things I don't like thinking about. I saw the guys that were hit and was too concerned about doing my part and completing the mission to be seen by our doc. I know big mistake on my part. I was MEB'd and subsequently retired after years of dealing with issues relating from that tour in 2015 finally. I had a buddy who told me about putting in for PH even though it's been years, I never really liked the thought of getting an award for complaining about something. I submitted paperwork and just got a response. I have no clue how to obtain these things as I'm retired and have been for over two years now.

*This is not a disapproval, rather a request for submission of missing information.
*In order to determine your eligibility for the Purple Heart, this office requires medical documentation describing both diagnosis and treatment of injuries caused by the enemy immediately after, or close to the incident date and signed or endorsed by a medical professional in accordance with Army Regulation (Military Awards) 600-8-22, Paragraphs 2-8j (2) and 2-8m. Without this documentation we will not be able to process your request.
*The wound or injury must have required treatment by medical officials and the records of medical treatment must have been made a matter of official army records. (As I stated above, I knew something wasn't right almost right away, I just hoped ignoring it would make it better. So I'm guessing this means I'm SOL?

ERB Form 2-1 - Verify soldier's personal data
SF600 - Chronological record of Medical Care (wasn't seen until I was med boarded)
DD Form 214 - (submitted one must have not been good enough)

Any help would be appreciated, Thanks.
 

FISTorDIE

Registered Member
#9
I think anyone in any Combat Arms MOS had plenty of dazed and confused IED encounters along with ambushes, indirect and trauma from friends dying. I mean if you where not eligible for it then due to "sucking it up" I don't see how you wouuld magically be awarded it post service. Plenty of grunts I know with PHs never got a medical retirement. You should feel blessed that you are retired and not have to worry about getting an award many years later that you have to prove with tremendous amounts of evidence that won't effect your health.
 
#10
I think anyone in any Combat Arms MOS had plenty of dazed and confused IED encounters along with ambushes, indirect and trauma from friends dying. I mean if you where not eligible for it then due to "sucking it up" I don't see how you wouuld magically be awarded it post service. Plenty of grunts I know with PHs never got a medical retirement. You should feel blessed that you are retired and not have to worry about getting an award many years later that you have to prove with tremendous amounts of evidence that won't effect your health.
 
#11
True words , F-D! I know several guys from Nam that were wounded on ambushes, on small squad-size patrols, and even by running into "pungie traps" while setting up perimeter, that had suffered years with their injuries. These men, for the most part, "sucked-it-up" for years without even one iota of help , care, or even concern from the V.A. or any Federal or State health office or official. The simple fact that they had to get medical treatment for a wound arising from contact with an enemy force or devise from an enemy , that was set with intent to remove one from action, ought to be sufficient warrant for issue of a PH. Instead, we have to do battle with some "pencil-pusher " who sees his or her job as "keeper of awards" to be more valuable,more honorable,more distinguished than the little bit of "pride-of-service with risk of life " one might have to show through a little ribbon.
 
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