The Purple Heart

In light of (rather silly) suggestions that John Kerry’s Purple Hearts were unearned, Don Sensing provides historical insights into the award itself. The upshot is that the wounds don’t have to be serious nor does one have to be engaged in heroic acts while receiving the wounds to be eligible.

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Thanks for the link! Actually, I think it is only Kerry’s first PH that has been questioned, not all three. Not sure that it matters, I’m just a stickler for detail, I guess.

  2. Paul says:

    In light of (rather silly) suggestions that John Kerry’s Purple Hearts were unearned,

    I’m not sure it is silly… This man has, for the last 2 years, made himself out to be half AudieMurphy / half Rambo.

    His weaseling out after only 4 months in country and 3 questionable metals hardly back that up.

  3. Paul says:

    and lemme be more clear on what I meant to say…

    Sine HE has made it the central issue of his campaign, he really can’t complain if it gets looked in to.

    (It was him that mentioned his Vietnam service wasn’t it? )

  4. capt joe says:

    did you know he served in Vietnam?

  5. James Joyner says:

    Paul: I think the claims that Kerry is a war hero are staked to the Silver Star. The Purple Heart isn’t a medal for gallantry; it’s “awarded” for getting injured in a combat zone.