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96-year-old vet pushing for Purple Heart

The Purple Heart medal from the US government (John Kuntz,
November 10, 2023

Earl Meyer, a 96-year-old U.S. Army veteran who fought in the Korean War, is still trying to receive a Purple Heart medal for an injury he reportedly suffered when his thigh was embedded with shrapnel as his platoon experienced heavy fire during the war.

According to The Associated Press, over 70 years after receiving his injury, Meyer is still awaiting the U.S. Army to officially recognize the injury he received during the Korean War and award him the Purple Heart, which is a medal given to service members who are wounded or killed in combat.

While Meyer has submitted documents to the Army as evidence of his claims that he was wounded during his service in the Korean War in 1951 and despite Department of Veterans Affairs doctors confirming that the story of his shrapnel injury from an enemy mortar attack was likely true, the Army has not approved his request for a Purple Heart.

According to The Associated Press, Meyer believes that the medic who treated his injury during the war was killed prior to filling out the paperwork that would have provided adequate documentation for a Purple Heart medal.

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In April, an Army review board gave its final rejection of Meyer’s request to receive a Purple Heart. At the time, the Army claimed that Meyer continued to lack sufficient documentation of the injury.

“At first, I didn’t know that I had been wounded,” Meyer claimed in a sworn statement included as part of his appeal. “But as my unit advanced from where the mortar rounds were hitting, I noticed that my pants were sticking to my leg. I reached down to correct this and discovered that my hand was covered in blood.”

According to The Associated Press, Meyer sued the Army and the Department of Defense in September. Asked by The Associated Press about Meyer’s Purple Heart case, Army Sgt. Maj. Michael Weimer indicated that the Army will take another look at his case.

“The Sergeant Major of the Army’s Office is engaging with Mr. Meyer’s family and looking into the situation,” Master Sgt. Daniel Wallace, an Army spokesman, said. “Either way, we’re proud of Mr. Meyer’s service to our country.”

Meyer has indicated that he would not have pushed to receive the Purple Heart medal unless his three daughters had convinced him. “I think it will provide closure for him. I really do,” Sandy Baker, Meyer’s daughter, stated.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), whose staff helped Meyer obtain documents from the National Archives and conducted multiple follow-up inquiries for the Army veteran, told The Associated Press, “Earl Meyer put his life on the line in defense of our freedoms, and we will continue to do all we can to further the work to rightfully honor his service.”