"APPLICANT REQUESTS Award of the Purple Heart and Combat"
ABCMR Memorandum of AC97-11060 Consideration (cont) APPLICANT REQUESTS: Award of the Purple Heart and Combat Infantryman Badge (NOTE: A determination was made in 1996 that the applicant was entitled to the Combat Infantryman Badge). APPLICANT STATES: That he was medically evacuated from Vietnam to Japan, thence to a Navy hospital in Chelsea, Massachusetts. EVIDENCE OF RECORD: The applicant's military records show: The applicant entered the Army on 16 April 1968, completed training as an infantryman and in October was assigned to an infantry battalion in Vietnam. A 10 December 1968 medical record indicates that the applicant was treated at his unit’s aid station because he complained of pain in his left shoulder and while on bunker guard could not lean on his left forearm because it pained his left shoulder. He was examined on two occasions thereafter, on 12 December 1968 and 16 January 1969, for the same problem. A 11 December 1968 record from a neurosurgery clinic indicates that the applicant sustained a “whip lash injury” in an auto accident in 1966, and had numbness in his left thumb since; and that two days previous he noted pain in his left shoulder, aggravated by bending his neck, and also believed that he had weakness in his left army. An 312th Evacuation Hospital clinical record indicates that the applicant had been hospitalized at a surgical hospital on 29 December 1968 with chills and fever and was found to have malaria. He had been admitted to the 312th on 8 January 1969 and discharged from that hospital on 15 January. 2 ABCMR Memorandum of AC97-11060 Consideration (cont) On 1 February 1969 the applicant was assigned to the medical holding detachment of the 249th General Hospital in Japan. On 3 February 1969 the applicant received nonjudicial punishment under Article 15, UCMJ for AWOL. On 11 February 1969 the applicant was assigned to the Naval Hospital in Chelsea. A medical record from that hospital indicates that the applicant was admitted on 14 February 1969 and stated that in the early part of December 1968 he was blown off a bunker by a mortar round and landed on his left shoulder and arm, and that approximately 48 hours later, he developed generalized weakness over his left upper extremity with numbness and paresthesias into the thumb, ring, and little fingers of the left hand, and that the applicant had also complained of pain of the lateral neck radiating to the shoulder, and that his left hand felt weak at times. In April 1969 the applicant was assigned to Fort Meade, Maryland. On 16 August 1969 the applicant received nonjudicial punishment for breaking restriction. On 6 September 1969 he received nonjudical punishment for again breaking restriction. A 22 September 1969 letter to the Fort Meade, Maryland commander indicates that the applicant was arrested by civil authorities on 22 August 1969 as a result of a narcotics investigation. A 18 December 1969 report of medical examination indicates that the applicant was medically qualified for separation with a physical profile of 1 1 1 1 1 1. The report of medical history furnished with the examination indicates that the applicant had a pinched nerve in his left neck and shoulder in Vietnam, that he was blown off a bunker, and was hospitalized. 3 ABCMR Memorandum of AC97-11060 Consideration (cont) The applicant was released from active duty on 15 April 1970 at Fort Meade. He had 2 years of service. The applicant’s DD Form 214 (Report of Transfer or Discharge), which he signed attesting to its accuracy, does not show award of the Purple Heart or the Combat Infantryman Badge. The applicant’s DA Form 20 (Enlisted Qualification Record), which he signed, shows no award of the Purple Heart or the Combat Infantryman Badge, and list no wounds received in action. The applicant’s records show no orders awarding the Purple Heart or the Combat Infantryman Badge. A record of communication from the Army Reserve Personnel Center at St. Louis, dated 28 August 1996, indicates that the applicant was entitled to the Combat Infantryman Badge and a request was forwarded to the Army Support Activity in Philadelphia to issue that badge (This action was predicated based on a congressional inquiry). Army Regulation 600-8-22 provides that the Purple Heart is awarded for a wound sustained as a result of hostile action. Substantiating evidence must be provided to verify that the wound was the result of hostile action, the wound must have required treatment, and the medical treatment must have been made a matter of official record. The aforementioned regulation also provides, in pertinent part, that the Combat Infantryman Badge is awarded to infantry officers and to enlisted and warrant officer persons who have an infantry MOS. They must have served in active ground combat while assigned or attached to an infantry unit of brigade, regimental or smaller size. As with all awards, formal recommendation and approval in the chain of command are required. The award must be announced or published in general or permanent orders. DISCUSSION: Considering all the evidence, allegations, and information presented by the applicant, together with the evidence of record, applicable law and regulations, and advisory opinion(s), it is concluded: 1. The applicant is not entitled to award of the Purple Heart. Notwithstanding the information contained in the Navy medical record at Chelsea, and the entry contained in the applicant’s report of medical history, there is no evidence to show that he received 4 ABCMR Memorandum of AC97-11060 Consideration (cont) injuries as a result of being blown off a bunker by a mortar round. The Board notes that the medical record from the Chelsea Naval Hospital states that the applicant was wounded in early December 1968. The Board also notes that the applicant did complain of pain in his shoulder and arm while on bunker duty in December 1968, but made no mention of the bunker having been hit by a mortar round, nor do the medical records so indicate. There are no other medical records to show that he was wounded. There are no orders awarding him the Purple Heart, nor any annotations in his records showing this award. 2. Information from the Total Army Personnel Command Awards Branch indicated that there was no record of the applicant having received an award of the Purple Heart, nor any record that he was listed as a casualty on the Vietnam casualty roster maintained by that agency. 3. The applicant has submitted neither probative evidence nor a convincing argument in support of his request. 4. In order to justify correction of a military record the applicant must show to the satisfaction of the Board, or it must otherwise satisfactorily appear, that the record is in error or unjust. The applicant has failed to submit evidence that would satisfy the aforementioned requirement. 5. In view of the foregoing, there is no basis for granting the applicant’s request. 5 ABCMR Memorandum of AC97-11060 Consideration (cont) DETERMINATION: The applicant has failed to submit sufficient relevant evidence to demonstrate the existence of probable error or injustice. NOTE: The Army Review Board Agency at St. Louis will be directed to correct the applicant’s DD Form 214 to show award of the Combat Infantryman Badge. BOARD VOTE: GRANT GRANT FORMAL HEARING DENY APPLICATION Karl F. Schneider Acting Director 6