The Army on Friday issued a directive clarifying standards for awarding the Purple Heart medal to soldiers with mild traumatic brain injury.
The instruction follows a recent change by the Marine Corps that removed the requirement that Marines be knocked unconscious to qualify for a Purple Heart for TBI, a potentially debilitating condition often caused by blasts.
The Army did not explicitly require loss of consciousness to qualify, but Pentagon officials said there has been uncertainty over the medal standard throughout the services.
To qualify, the announcement said, soldiers must have required treatment from a medical officer – even if one was not available – for concussion, loss of consciousness, memory loss or other symptoms of mild TBI. Types of treatment that would meet the standard for the award include limitation of duty and administration of pain medication.
For soldiers who want to be reconsidered for the medal, instructions for applying retroactively for the Purple Heart medal were issued in Milper Message 11-125 and were expected to be posted soon on the Army Human Resources website at: http://www.hrc.army.mil.