A change to Army regulations now grants the Purple Heart to active-duty personnel and veterans who sustained a perforated eardrum while serving in combat. The military's oldest honor, given to people who sustain a combat-related injury while serving their country, previously did not recognize a perforated eardrum as a qualifying disability.
The news was shared on Facebook on Tuesday by the Army Human Resources Command (HRC). The steps members should take to apply for the medal were described in that same post, along with some requirements that must be satisfied.
According to the official regulations found in MILPER 22-215, service members and veterans who have previously had their Purple Heart application denied due to a ruptured eardrum must file a new application.
The Purple Heart will now be awarded automatically to any soldier who sustains a perforated eardrum while serving in a qualifying capacity.
At this time, applicants must consider if they want a retroactive award or a reconsideration of a prior denial of the award.
- A military member or veteran must submit the following documentation with their application:
- For presently serving members, submit DA Form 4187 or a written request (for veterans).
- Chain of command approval (for presently serving personnel, through the first general officer in the soldier's current chain of command).
- Orders for deployment.
- DA Form 20/2-1/66 (personnel qualification record), DA Form 4037 (officer record short), or other substantiating personnel qualification records for veterans.
- An overview of the qualifying incident and the circumstances surrounding the member's injuries or wounds.
- Statements from at least two people, not including the prospective recipient, who was present in person, saw the incident happen, and have firsthand knowledge of the circumstances. The story can also be supported by other official records.
- Injury report (if available).
- An SF Form 502 (clinical records), an SF Form 600 (chronological medical records), or a comparable medical history from the military.
- (Officially recognized proof of release or discharge from active duty) DD Form 214, WD Form AGO 53-55, or WD Form AGO 53-98 (if applicable).
- Situation, unit, and morning reports.