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1 in 3 Purple Heart TBI applications incomplete

Oct. 9, 2012 - 09:43AM   |   Last Updated: Oct. 9, 2012 - 09:43AM  |  
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• Email inquiries should be sent to the Awards and Decorations Branch at
• Call the Army Human Resources Contact Center for assistance at 888-276-9472.

About one-third of applications submitted to the Army seeking Purple Hearts for brain injuries are denied because they are incomplete.

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About one-third of applications submitted to the Army seeking Purple Hearts for brain injuries are denied because they are incomplete.

An estimated 500 applications have been returned to applicants because they lacked appropriate medical documentation and/or statements from at least two eyewitnesses that they observed the incident that caused the concussive injury and that they have direct knowledge of the event.

The Army has received fewer than 1,500 Purple Heart applications for mild traumatic brain injuries since the clarifying guidance was issued last spring, according to Lt. Col. Ralph Perkins, chief of the Awards and Decorations Branch of Human Resources Command.

The guidance issued by Army headquarters in spring 2011 not only clarified award criteria but also allowed veterans who had been denied the Purple Heart because of concussive injuries to reapply, provided they had sustained those injuries since Sept. 11, 2001.

While concussive injuries, also called mild traumatic brain injuries, have merited award of the Purple Heart since the Vietnam era, commanders during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been reluctant to approve such awards because they were unsure what constituted a qualifying injury. That prompted the Army to clarify its guidance.

Officials say the eyewitness statements must be provided by people other than the soldier who sustained the concussive injury.

For detailed information about concussive injuries and the Purple Heart:


Consult MilPer Messages 2011-07, dated April 29, 2011, and 11-157, dated May 20, 2011.

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