"Sen. Hutchison believes that nothing is more important than honoring the sacrifices that our military service members make everyday to preserve the rights and freedoms of all American citizens. Senator Hutchison feels that we owe it to our veterans to ensure the accuracy of these awards and citations earned in great service to our great nation."
Spokesperson for
SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, R-Texas

We hope Senator Hutchinson will soon Co-Sign S. 2610


THE PURPLE HEART

MILITARY ORDER OF THE PURPLE HEART
National Headquarters

5413-B Backlick Road
Springfield, VA
22151
703-642-5360  Fax:  703-642-1841

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For information contact:
Nat'l Public Relations Director Ray Funderburk
(662) 772-5811 Mobile (901) 326-5611
Email: mophpr@bellsouth.net 

October 5, 2007

Springfield, VA--"It is a National shame that a private citizen in Colorado maintains better records of American heroes than their own Government," said Henry Cook, National Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH). "Even the Department of Defense has to go to Doug Sterner in Colorado to verify some awards presented to combat heroes."

Sterner has created a data base with digitized names and citations for some 35,000 of the top three levels of awards (Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, Air Force Cross, Army Distinguished Service medal and Navy Distinguished Service medal). All of this by himself and without outside funding.

He has further compiled the names and General Orders numbers for more than 80,000 of an estimated 120,000 recipients of the Silver Star.

Sterner's data base is widely used by all branches of the military as well as the FBI. If a person appears to be phony in their claim of holding bravery medals, the FBI goes to Sterner for possible verification of the individual's awards.

"Regardless of the cost to the Federal Government, we must begin to organize our records. How many people know that a half-million records of awards to members of the Navy and Marine Corps are maintained on index cards in boxes at the Navy yard in Washington, D.C.
That is pathetic," said Cook.. "With the state of the art electronics we have today, all records should be digitized and available for recall."

"Some families have spent years trying to find out what their loved one did to merit an award. Some parents never received medals for valor even though their loved one was awarded them posthumously. It is a disgusting situation," Cook sighed.

Cook went on to elaborate on the need for instant recall of awards. "We have documented cases where families were denied the right to bury their loved ones in Arlington National Cemetery because the records were lost. Parents have died not knowing their son was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and was a hero. These stories are all too plentiful and it is a National disgrace."

"We have an obligation to those who have gone into combat and been killed or wounded to at least recognize their sacrifices by maintaining their heroic deeds in a data base. The MOPH is in total support of the 'Military Valor Roll of Honor Act of 2007' being introduced by certain Members of Congress."

 

While low in precedence, the order in which military awards are displayed, the Purple Heart is one of the most revered and sacred of the medals awarded to members of the military. The oldest of our military medals, it was established as the Badge for Military Merit by General George Washington in 1782, fell into disuse, and was revived on General Washington's 200th birthday as the Purple Heart. It is awarded for PERSONAL SACRIFICE to those men and women who are wounded or killed while defending freedom.

Every week, it seems, a newspaper somewhere in America carries the story of a World War II, Korea, or Vietnam Veteran who at last, after decades, is finally awarded the Purple Heart he or she earned in service to their nation. During time of war it has not been uncommon for a General Officer to visit the hospital where wounded warriors were recovering, to ceremoniously pin on their pajamas the Purple Heart. Unfortunately, all too often, that award was not duly recorded in their military records, and for other recipients there is the sad reality that they number among the 16 - 18 million WWII and Korean War veterans whose records were destroyed in the 1973 fire in St. Louis. Decades later the only proof many of them have of their combat wounds are the scars still evident on their body.

The process of digitizing citations for all awards would be invaluable in documenting many otherwise undocumented combat wounds that merit award of the Purple Heart. (Award of the Purple Heart further qualifies a veteran for burial at Arlington National Cemetery.) Below is just one citation for the Silver Star. Note it references the recipient receiving wounds in this action:

Vickery, Hugh J.
Sergeant, U.S. Army
Company H, 276th Infantry Regiment, 70th Infantry Division
Date of Action:  January 12, 1945

Citation:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to Hugh J. Vickery (20232201), Sergeant [then Private First Class], U.S. Army, for gallantry in action while serving with Company H, 276th Infantry Regiment, 70th Infantry Division, on 12 January 1945, near Rothbach, France. Sergeant Vickery, having been wounded and awaiting evacuation, did, when the enemy launched a strong counterattack, in spite of his wounds and with utter disregard for his own safety, return to his machine gun section, assume command and calmly reorganized it. His action inspired such confidence in the men of the section that they successfully repulsed the counterattack. Sergeant Vickery was again wounded in this action but refused to leave his post until the enemy had been driven off.

Headquarters, 70th Infantry Division, General Orders No. 93 (August 11, 1945)
Home of Record:  Buffalo, New York

While this Purple Heart may or may not have been awarded, and while it may or may not be quickly verifiable through NPRC, what is evident from this citation is the proof of Sergeant Vickery's right to have and wear the Purple Heart. If PROPERLY DONE, digitizing the citations for military awards will establish OFFICIALLY, the right to a Purple Heart for thousands of previously wounded warriors, many of whose records have been lost in the St. Louis fire. THOUSANDS of wounded warriors will be properly remembered if only we take the time to preserve such records.


On the NEGATIVE side of the issue of Purple Hearts is also the PHONIES who are quite prone to illegally wear the Purple Heart, even MULTIPLE Purple Hearts. Marine Corps Colonel Theodore Bantis was well-known in Illinois as a GREAT hero of the war in Vietnam, though his exploits were classified missions that could not be told and the documentation for which was SECRET. In addition to the Navy Cross and multiple Silver and Bronze Stars, he wore EIGHT Purple Hearts, bespeaking EIGHT separate combat wounds.

In fact, the record for Purple Hearts is EIGHT awards, a record of sacrifice shared by five men, all of them Army and only one of whom is still living--Medal of Honor Recipient Colonel Robert L. Howard. In fact Bantis was not a former Colonel--wasn't even a former Marine. Theodore Bantis has never served in any branch of military service. He escaped exposure for years because no comprehensive listing of Purple Heart recipients exists. He was ultimately exposed and prosecuted ONLY because he wore so many awards it raised suspicion. 

There remain in cities and towns across America, THOUSANDS of Theodore Bantises with perhaps less propensity for exaggeration or a little more wisdom, who continue to masquerade as wounded warriors and may never be exposed as frauds unless a comprehensive listing of Purple Heart recipients is established and made readily available. Such a database is the least we can do for those who got their Purple hearts in exchange for the loss of a leg, arm, eye, or other grievous wounds. Even more, it is the least we can do to remember the nearly ONE MILLION men and women who didn't survive to wear the Purple Heart purchased at the sacrifice of their life. 

 

 

 

 

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There are MANY good REASONS for Congress to Pass the Roll of Valor Act. Below are links to FOUR that quickly validate the need for a National Database of Military Awards.

Real Heroes Found

Phony Heroes Exposed

V.A. Fraud Dollars Recovered

Accuracy in Media Stories

The Problems With:

DD-214s

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News Stories on the Roll of Valor Act

 

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