Frequently Asked Questions

How do I enroll a Purple Heart Recipient?

With your help we are building a database of Purple Heart recipients from all branches of service, all wars for which the Purple Heart was awarded, and from all across the nation. In order to be enrolled we require documentation of receipt of the Purple Heart. This can include a variety of materials including:

We are also looking for photographs, telegrams, letters home, news articles or other materials that help to tell the story of each enrolled Purple Heart recipient. Please complete the enrollment form and return to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor with proper documentation.

Enrollment Form (pdf) (547kb)

How do I obtain DD-214 or other discharge papers?

To obtain a copy of the necessary documentation, please contact the National Personnel Records Center. If you are not a veteran or the next of kin, you must complete the Standard Form 180 (SF180). This form is available at National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

How many Purple Hearts have been awarded?

As there was not a consistent record kept since the award was established in 1932, we can only estimate the total number which have been awarded. At this time, it estimated that there have been 1.8 million Purple Hearts awarded. The award was first retroactive to those who received "wound chevrons" and "certificates of merit" during World War I as well as to those from earlier wars who chose to apply for the award. (From 1932-1942 recipients had to be living veterans or military personnel). The earliest conflict for which there are recipients is the American Civil War. From 1942 on it was limited to service men and women wounded or killed by enemy action on or after 5 April 1917. Records were sometimes lost during wartime when headquarters were overrun and unfortunately many were lost during a fire at the National Personnel Records Center in 1973.

Why do I have to enroll someone? Don't you already have the names of all the recipients?

We do not have the names of all the recipients as there is no comprehensive list of Purple Heart recipients in existence. As stated above, the actual number of awards is unknown. We do not automatically receive information when a person is awarded a Purple Heart.

Our enrollments are voluntary and come to us from the recipients, their families or their friends, as this is the only way we can create the most comprehensive list of Purple Heart recipients.

Where is the National Purple Heart located?

The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is co-located with the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site in New York's Hudson River Valley. Just sixty miles north of Manhattan and twelve miles north of the United States Military Academy at West Point, the Cantonment was an extensive military post housing some 7,500 soldiers and 500 civilian dependents in the closing years of the Revolutionary War. Officers met here in a chapel and meeting hall called the "Temple of Virtue" to review candidates for the Badge of Military Merit, the inspiration for today's Purple Heart. In 1932, 137 veterans of World War I received their awards on these very grounds.

What is the "Roll of Honor"?

The Roll of Honor is a database created to preserve and share the stories of Purple Heart recipients. It can be accessed at six interactive computer kiosks at the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor and online through this website. Visitors to the Hall or the website can learn about individual Purple Heart recipients by reading the stories, and looking at the photographs and other documents that have been submitted to the Hall of Honor. Enrollment is voluntary. If you are interested in learning more about the enrollment process please refer to "How do I enroll a Purple Heart Recipient?" above.

How do I locate a Purple Heart recipient in the Roll of Honor Online?

First select "Roll of Honor" from the links at the top of the page. Second, type the name of the individual you are looking for (Last Name, First Name) . Select the search button.

When the thumbnail results are displayed, click on the profile for the recipient you are searching. You will then have displayed the complete profile on that recipient.

If you are unable to find the recipient you are looking for try varying your search: Conduct a search using the recipient's last name leaving out their first name. Then, look through the list of search results. Or, you might want to try alternate spellings of the name you are using for your search

If you are still unable to locate the recipient you are looking for, are you certain that this recipient has been enrolled with the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor? The absence of a name in the Roll of Honor can simply be because that person has not yet been enrolled. As mentioned above, we do not automatically receive the names of Purple Heart recipients so we have no way of knowing when an award was made.

If you know of a Purple Heart recipient who is not enrolled, we hope that you will consider having that person enrolled in to the Roll of Honor. For more information about enrolling at the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, please refer to "How do I enroll a Purple Heart Recipient?" above.