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Thread: Purple heart for death after war ended?

  1. #1

    Default Purple heart for death after war ended?

    Hi everyone,

    I was doing some research on the American Battle Monuments Commission website and I noticed there are many WWII deaths after the end of World War II (after 8/15/45). This would make sense due to accidents, etc, but the majority of these military men received purple hearts. It's possible that they died of their injuries sustained in battle during the war but some of them are listed as being "buried at sea" (making it sound like they died in a ship sinking or plane crash) and others died much later, in 1946 (they likely would have died of their injuries sustained in battle much sooner I would imagine).

    Since the purple heart was only awarded to men who died in combat, why would it be awarded to them if they died after the war in something such as a ship sinking? Likewise, why would it be awarded to men who died in 1946?

    Here is the site I was searching: http://www.abmc.gov/search/wwii.php

    For examples, search "Bert Cohen" or "Edward B. Cohen"

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: Purple heart for death after war ended?

    In practice, those missing in action, baring any other information, were officially declared dead after one year from the date they went missing. If the loss was combat related then, upon being declared dead, the individual concerned became eligible for a posthumous award of the Purple Heart. Note your referenced Sgt Bert Cohen USAAF was missing in action on 21 July 1945 and the date of death is 21 July 1946. An example would be the torpedo plane pilots and crewmen lost at Midway. Everyone knew they were dead, but being classified as MIA-BNR, they were not officially declared dead until 5 June 1943, one year after the action.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Buffalo, New York

    Default Re: Purple heart for death after war ended?

    Thank you R Leonard, that clears up a lot.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Purple heart for death after war ended?


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Default Re: Purple heart for death after war ended?

    Purple hearts would be awarded to wounded or badly wounded while alive.
    There could be delays depending on the situation.
    Posthumous awards for confirmed deaths.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    South West

    Default Re: Purple heart for death after war ended?

    You have awards like these as well

    [spoiler]Black sailor whose courage under fire saved ship during Second World War Kamikaze attack is finally recognised 66 years on

    Long time coming: U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus presents Carl Clark with the Commendation Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device
    Almost 66 years after his actions undoubtedly saved a crippled warship - and the lives of the crew on board - a former U.S. Navy steward has received the honour he so richly deserves.
    Carl Clark, now 95 years old, was presented with a medal for distinguished service in combat, for his brave actions aboard the USS Aaron Ward in 1945.
    The reason why it has taken so long for Mr Clark's courage to be recognised is as shameful as it is impossible to ignore.
    He is a black and, like so many black servicemen in the Second World War, his wartime heroism was ignored. As he says: 'In 1936, when I joined the Navy, a black man could be nothing but a servant for white officers.'
    But yesterday - at Naval Air Station Moffett Field in Mount View, California - Navy Secretary Ray Mabus presented Steward First Class Clark with the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device.
    Mr Clark stood tall in his uniform as he posed for photographs with his commendation and Purple Heart, also awarded for injuries he sustained all those years ago.
    As a 29-year-old on the Aaron Ward - one of six black Navy crew aboard - he was assigned to firefighting duties on the afternoon of May 3, 1945, when the destroyer/minelayer came under sustained attack from Japanese Kamikaze pilots.
    With clear emotions, but also amazing clarity, Mr Clark remembers the fateful day.
    He said he was with seven other crewmen towards the stern of the ship when the first bomb-laden plane made it through the ship's anti-aircraft fire.
    He told CBS: 'First plane hit, wiped out all of these guys, all of the seven men. I was the only one left.'

    Proud old sailor: Mr Clark shows the distinguished service medal (with green ribbon) above his Purple Heart, which was also awarded for injuries sustained during that fateful day in May 1945

    Mr Clark dedicated his medal to all black servicemen who went unrecognised in the war - many of whom did not live to see race attitudes change in the country they gave their lives for
    Despite being injured and now alone, Mr Clark manned a fire hose that usually needed to be controlled by a crew of four, and extinguished all fires in his area - despite the ship being hit by a further five planes.

    When words like heroism and courage are used to describe his actions, Mr Clark seems uneasy, saying: 'I don't think it was courage. I don't know what it was.'
    But he is clear about why it took so long for the Navy to recognise his contribution to saving the Aaron Ward.
    He said: 'The captain had told me, the next day after the battle, "Clark, I want to thank you for saving my ship". He told me that. But, when they made out the battle report, they didn't even put my name in it... because I was a black man.'

    Two years ago, a local congresswoman took Mr Clark's case to the Pentagon, leading to yesterday's ceremony.
    Mr Clark says his medal is not just for him but for all black servicemen who went unrecognised - many of whom did not live to see race attitudes change in the country they gave their lives for.

    Despite almost seven decades since the end of the war, the deeds of black soldiers, sailors and airmen remain largely unknown.
    But, through novels, biographies and new films such as George Lucas's Redtails, their exploits are being revealed.
    From dusk till dawn: The incredible story of the USS Aaron Ward

    Barely afloat: The aftermath of the attack on the USS Aaron Ward in 1945, victim of six Kamikaze attacks
    The Aaron Ward battle report for May 3, 1945, reads like an improbably Hollywood plotline.
    Around dusk on May 3, the Aaron Ward's radar picked up enemy aircraft and her crew went to general quarters.
    The first two Japanese planes to make runs against the ship were brought down by formidable anti-aircraft fire.
    But a third aircraft bore down on the ship's stern, where Steward First Class Clark and his team had been stationed. Just before crashing into the ship's superstructure, it released a bomb that penetrated the hull below the waterline and exploded in the engine room.

    Suicide dive: A Kamikaze pilot bears down on the USS Sangamon on May 4, 1945, the day after six of his fellow pilots struck the USS Aaron Ward
    This is the attack that undoubtedly killed Mr Clark's crewmates.
    The explosion damaged steering control and jammed the rudder, sending the Aaron Ward into tight circle. Crews aboard the ship desperately fought fires and made running repairs.
    Around 7pm, after shooting down several attackers, one Kamikaze just missed the bridge - so close it took antennae assemblies with it - before smashing into the stack.
    Almost on top of each other, a third plane crashed into the ship's main deck after releasing a bomb that damaged the forward fireroom and cut all power - and a fourth plane struck the ship's deckhouse bulkhead.

    The ship endured another two direct hits - one to the port-side superstructure and another low-level plane that hit the ship's No.2 stack - blasting the plane, stack and two gun mounts high into the air.
    Fire crews worked throughout the night to save the ship, and despite its heavy punishment, it was taken under tow the following morning, was temporarily repaired and returned to New York in August to be decommissioned.[/spoiler]


    [spoiler]In the foreground, Rockland Veterans Agent Anton Materna reads a certificate of appreciation from Kim Dae-Jung, President of the Republic of Korea, regarding the military service of Rockland resident and Abington native John Hambarian. It was all part of a ceremony at Hambarian's home this week, where the 85-year-old Army veteran received the Purple Heart award for injuries sustained during the Korean War. At far left is Hambarian, with his wife of more than 58 years, Leona.[/spoiler]


    [spoiler]The Color Purple – Purple Heart Awarded More than 60 years Late
    Posted on August 4, 2012 by Kevin
    PEMBROKE — It’s more than 60 years late, but Army Cpl. James G. Oxendine has finally has the Purple Heart he earned as a young soldier during the Korean War.

    During a ceremony Monday at the Lumbee Lodge in Pembroke, Oxendine, 81, smiled as he shook hands and received the medal from retired N.C. National Guard Maj. Gen. John Atkinson. Atkinson told the crowd of about 75 family members and friends that a Purple Heart is usually presented to a recipient in front of a group of soldiers.

    “The good side of this is that he is being presented this honor in front of family, friends and the community,” he said.

    Oxendine quietly received the medal he earned when he was the only survivor of an attack on a group of five tanks in Korea on Sept. 21, 1950.

    “I’m not much of a talker,” Oxendine told The Robesonian after the ceremony. “But this has been a long time coming. It’s better late than never.”

    Oxendine’s tank battalion was assigned to an Australian company. He watched fellow soldiers die during the enemy fire and he lay injured for three days before medics could assist him.

    Ronnie Brooks, a veteran services officer with the Lumbee Tribe, said that there was never any paperwork submitted by the Australian military to U.S. military officials concerning Oxendine’s injuries.

    ‘When he was found alive, he was sent immediately to a hospital in Japan,” Brooks said.

    According to Oxendine’s biography, he received treatment in Japan and Hawaii before being transported to the Combat Recovery Hospital in Texas, where he spent months recovering. After being released from the hospital, he spent the next two years driving trucks for the military before being released from active duty on March 17, 1952.

    Brooks said that the matter of Oxendine having never received his Purple Heart was brought to the attention of the Lumbee Tribe about six weeks ago by Tribal Chairman Paul Brooks. Help in getting Oxendine his long overdue medal was then sought from U.S. Reps. Mike McIntyre and Larry Kissell, and the Veteran’s Legacy Foundation, Brooks said.

    “Paul’s trying to revamp the (Lumbee) veterans organization so that mistakes like this are never made again,” Ronnie Brooks said. “If they wore green and bled red, we (Lumbee veterans department) are going to help.”

    Brooks said that the flag flying over the Capitol in Washington on Monday will be presented to Oxendine.

    “We should have the flag in four to six weeks,” he said.

    John Elskamp, president of the Veteran’s Legacy Foundation, said after the ceremony that his organization does the detailed research needed to help veterans get all of the benefits they are eligible to receive. He said that the foundation, established in 2010, is currently working on 165 cases dating from pre-World War I to the Iraqi War.

    “This has been a long time in coming, but it couldn’t have come at a better time, Memorial Day,” said Nina Lowry, one of Oxendine’s five daughters, all of whom were present at the ceremony. “He never complained about not getting the medal. He never said that anyone owed him anything.”

    “He has a lot of pride,” Ronnie Brooks said. “It wouldn’t let him say ‘you made a mistake’. He didn’t want anyone to say anything bad about the Army.”

    In St. Pauls, the downtown War Memorial was the site of the community’s Memorial Day service.[/spoiler]


    IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
    Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise
    An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
    With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes
    At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
    They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Purple heart for death after war ended?

    Very interesting, thanks! It reminds me of this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibor_Rubin

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