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Dear Ms. Marchina,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
Without knowing about the time period, branch of service, individual circumstances, and records involved, it is difficult to say with certainty. Current Army Regulation 600–8–22 Personnel-General Military Awards states on page 9, that “Once an award has been approved, the same command may revoke the award if facts subsequently determined would have prevented original approval of the award had they been known at the time of approval.”
Therefore, if the awards were revoked, it may be that a determination was made about the facts of the case that did not meet the requirements for the award to be given to the soldier. Current Army criteria for awarding Purple Hearts begin on page 24 of the same regulation. Please note that these rules have changed over time through diverse executive orders, laws, and regulation changes.
We hope this information is helpful.
A Purple Heart Medal can be revoked for a variety of reasons. The nature of a wound or death can be re-evaluated if prompted by a commanding officer or at the unit level and higher. Also, the nature of an engagement with a hostile enemy is subject to debate as well. If a service member was injured not as a result of enemy combat, but other reasons, that can be grounds for revocation.
The time period of when Purple Heart Medals are authorized are another determining factor if a medal is revoked. For example, during World War II, members of the Merchant Marine that were wounded did not receive the PH, but a different award called the Merchant Marine Mariner's Medal. After September 11, 2001, civilian contractors with the Department of Defense and all service branches were disqualified from receiving a PH.
Eligibility for a Purple Heart Medal have changed significantly in the past seventy years so be sure to check the current DOD regulations on the award.