Originally Posted by CAVA1990
I have a Purple Heart medal from my grandfather but I don't quite understand why he should have gotten it. He fought in the War of the Philippines in 1899, according to his army service medal, which I also have. From what I've been told he was sent home after being shot in the neck by Spaniards or Philippine insurrectionists. He served in the California National Guard after that but not up to the First World War.
According to what I've read, the modern Purple Heart was awarded starting in 1932 retroactively to service members wounded from April 1917, when the U.S. entered the First World War but no further back. Was he technically awarded it by mistake? (not that he didn't deserve it) I'm curious if there are any other service members who were awarded one for the Spanish American conflicts.
The reverse of the medal is embossed with "For Military Merit" and his name. On the edge near the point is what appears to be a serial number - 63369.
You are correct about the retroactive award only going back to 1917. However, when the medal was reissued in 1932, the regulations allowed anyone who already wore a Wound Chevron to apply for the Purple Heart and there was apparently no time limit.
Consequntly, your Grandfather probably made application to have his Wound Chevron from the Philippines exchanged for a Purple Heart at some time on or after the reissue date.
Here are the award criteria at the time of reissue:
•Those in possession of a Meritorious Service Citation Certificate issued by the Commander-in Chief of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. The Certificates had to be exchanged for the Purple Heat or the award and Oak Leaf Clusters as appropriate.
•Those authorized by Army Regulations 600-95 to wear wound chevrons.
•Those not authorized wound chevrons prior to February 22, 1931, but who would otherwise be authorized them under stipulations of Army Regulations 600-95.