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The following criteria governs award of the Purple Heart in ALL branches of service, not just the United States Army. The text here is taken directly from AR 600-8-22, 25 February 1995 and Public Law 104-106 - Feb. 10, 1996
(sub-paragraphs have been indented to ease reading)
AR 600-8-22 / 25 February 1995
SEC. 571. PURPLE HEART TO BE AWARDED ONLY TO MEMBERS OF
THE ARMED FORCES.
(a) IN GENERAL.--(1) Chapter 57 of title 10, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:
"§ 1131. Purple Heart: limitation to members of the armed forces
"The decoration known as the Purple Heart (authorized to be awarded pursuant to Executive Order 11016) may only be awarded to a person who is a member of the armed forces at the time the person is killed or wounded under circumstances otherwise qualifying that person for award of the Purple Heart.".
(2) The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by adding at the end the following new item:
"1131. Purple Heart: limitation to members of the armed forces.".
(b) EFFECTIVE DATE.--Section 1131 of title 10, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall apply with respect to persons who are killed or wounded after the end of the 180-day period beginning on (18 Nov 1997) the date of the enactment of this Act.
2-8. Purple Heart
The Purple Heart was established by General George Washington, at Newburgh, New York, on 7 August 1782, during the Revolutionary War. It was reestablished by the President of the United States per War Department General Orders 3, 1932 and is currently awarded pursuant to Executive Order 11016, 25 April 1962, Executive Order 12464, 23 February 1984 and Public Law 98-525, 19 October 1984.
a. The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of an Armed Force or any civilian national of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Services after 5 April 1917, has been wounded or killed, or who has died or may hereafter die after being wounded
(1) In any action against an enemy of the United States.
(2) In any action with an opposing armed force of a foreign country in which the Armed Forces of the United States are or have been engaged.
(3) While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.
(4) As a result of an act of any such enemy of opposing armed forces.
(S) As the result of an act of any hostile foreign force.
(6) After 28 March 1973, as a result of an international terrorist attack against the United States or a foreign nation friendly to the United States, recognized as such an attack by the Secretary of the Army, or jointly by the Secretaries of the separate armed Services concerned if persons from more than one service are wounded in the attack.
(7) After 28 March 1973, as a result of military operations while serving outside the territory of the United States as part of a peacekeeping force.
b. 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.
(1) A Purple Heart is authorized for the first wound suffered under conditions indicated above, but for each subsequent award an Oak Leaf Cluster will be awarded to be worn on the medal or ribbon. Not more than one award will be made for more than one wound or injury received at the same instant or from the same missile, force, explosion, or agent.
(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.
(3) When contemplating an award of this decoration, the key issue that commanders must take into consideration is the degree to which the enemy caused the injury. The fact that the proposed recipient was participating in direct or indirect combat operations is a necessary prerequisite, but is not sole justification for award.
(4) Examples of enemy-related injuries which clearly justify award of the Purple Heart are as follows:
(a) Injury caused by enemy bullet, shrapnel, or other projectile created by enemy action.
(b) Injury caused by enemy placed mine or trap.
(c) Injury caused by enemy released chemical, biological or nuclear agent.
(d) Injury caused by vehicle or aircraft accident resulting from enemy fire.
(e) Concussion injuries caused as a result of enemy generated explosions.
(5) Examples of injuries or wounds which clearly do not qualify for award of the Purple Heart are as follows:
(a) Frostbite or trench foot injuries.
(b) Heat stroke.
(c) Food poisoning not caused by enemy agents.
(d) Chemical, biological, or nuclear agents not released by the enemy.
(e) Battle fatigue.
(f) Disease not directly caused by enemy agents.
(g) Accidents, to include explosive, aircraft, vehicular, and other accidental wounding not related to or caused by enemy action.
(h) Self-inflicted wounds, except when in the heat of battle, and not involving gross negligence.
(i) Post traumatic stress disorders.
(j) Jump injuries not caused by enemy action.
(6) It is not intended that such a strict interpretation of the requirement for the wound or injury to be caused by direct result of hostile action be taken that it would preclude the award being made to deserving personnel. Commanders must also take into consideration, the circumstances surrounding an injury, even if it appears to meet the criteria. Note the following examples:
(a) In case such as an individual injured while making a parachute landing from an aircraft that had been brought down enemy fire; or, an individual injured as a result of a vehicle accident caused by enemy fire, the decision will be made in favor of the individual and the award will be made.
(b) Individuals wounded or killed as a result of "friendly fire" in the "heat of battle" will be awarded the Purple Heart as long as the "friendly" projectile or agent was released with the full intent of inflicting damage or destroying enemy troops or equipment.
(c) Individuals injured as a result of their own negligence; for example, driving or walking through an unauthorized area known to have been mined or placed off limits or searching for or picking up unexploded munitions as war souvenirs, will not be awarded the Purple Heart as they clearly were not injured as a result of enemy action, but rather by their own negligence.
c. A Purple Heart will be issued to the next of kin of each person entitled to a posthumous award. Issue will be made automatically by the Commanding General, PERSCOM, upon receiving a report of death indicating entitlement.
d. Upon written application to Commander, ARPERCEN, ATIN.- DAR-P-VSEA, 9700 Page Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63132-5200, award may be made to any member of the Army, who during World War 1, was awarded a Meritorious Service Citation Certificate signed by the Commander in Chief, American Expeditionary Forces, or who was authorized to wear wound chevrons. Posthumous awards to personnel who were killed or died of wounds after 5 April 1917 will be made to the appropriate next of kin upon application to the CommandingGeneral, PERSCOM.
e. 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.
f. For those who became Prisoners of War 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. Documentation and inquiries Should be directed to Commander, PERSCOM, ATTN: TAPCPDA, Alexandria, VA 22332-0471.
g. 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 Commander, PERSCOM, ATTN: TAPC-PDA, Alexandria, VA 22332-0471. Application will include complete documentation, to include evidence of medical treatment, pertaining to the wound.
PUBLIC LAW 104-106 - FEB. 10, 1996
SEC. 621. AWARD OF PURPLE HEART TO PERSONS WOUNDED WHILE HELD AS PRISONERS OF WAR BEFORE APRIL 2G, 1962.
(a) AWARD OF PURPLE HEART.For purposes of the award of the Purple Heart, the Secretary concerned (as defined in section 101 of title 10, United States Code) shall treat a former prisoner of war who was wounded before April 25, 1962, while held as a prisoner of war (or while being taken captive) in the same manner as a former prisoner of war who is wounded on or after that date while held as a prisoner of war (or while being taken captive).
(b) STANDARDS FOR AWARD.An award of the Purple Heart under subsection (a) shall be made in accordance with the standards in effect on the date of the enactment of this Act for the award of the Purple Heart to persons wounded on or after April 25, 1962.
(C) ELIGIBLE FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR.A person shall be considered to be a former prisoner of war for purposes of this section if the person is eligible for the prisoner-of-war meda1 under section 1128 of title 10, United States Code.
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