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What is the oldest U.S. Military Award?

What is the oldest U.S. Military Award? 0


What is the oldest military award?

The oldest military award is the Purple Heart.

Established on August 7, 1782 by General George Washington as a "Badge of Military Merit" awarded for "any singular meritorious action."


The Badge of Military Merit (pictured above) was issued to only three Revolutionary War soldiers and was not seen again until the end of WWI. 

On January 7, 1931, General Douglas MacArthur, confidentially reopened work on a new design with the Washington Commission of Fine Arts. Elizabeth Will, an Army heraldic specialist redesign the newly revived medal, her design sketch became known as the Purple Heart.

Shortly thereafter, plaster models from three of the leading sculptors competed based on the medal design. In May 1931, John R. Sinnock of the Philadelphia Mint was selected. 


Mr. John R. Sinnock (pictured above) was also credited with the design of the Roosevelt dime and the Franklin half-dollar. His initials "JS" on the dime can be found at the base of the Roosevelt bust. 

On February 22, 1932, the Purple Heart was revived on the 200th Anniversary of George Washington's birth, out of respect to his memory and military achievements.

General Orders No. 3, authorized the Purple Heart to be awarded to soldiers, who had been awarded the Meritorious Service Citation Certificate, Army Wound Ribbon, or were authorized to wear Wound Chevrons subsequent to April 5, 1917, the day before the United States entered World War I.

The first Purple Heart was awarded to General MacArthur during the early period of American involvement in World War II (December 7, 1941 – September 22, 1943). The Purple Heart was awarded both for wounds received in action against the enemy and for meritorious performance of duty.

On December 3, 1942 the practice of awarding the Purple Heart for meritorious service was discontinued and authorized only for wounds received. 

On June 13, 1985, an amendment to the 1985 Defense Authorization Bill changed the order of precedence from above the Good Conduct Medal to immediately above the Meritorious Service Medals.

In 1998, the National Defense Authorization Act removed authorization for award of the to any civilian national of the United States.

The November 2009 an edition of National Geographic magazine estimated the number of Purple Hearts issued during the below War periods:

World War I: 320,518

World War II: 1,076,245

Korean War: 118,650

Vietnam War: 351,794

Persian Golf War: 607

Afghanistan War: 7,027*

Iraq war 35,321*

*As of June 5, 2010

An individual is not "recommended" for the Purple Heart. He or she is entitled to it if meeting the strict criteria. Each subsequent award is denoted by an oak leaf cluster and one award is based on one wound or injury received at the same instant.

The Purple Heart medal and ribbon are very recognizable. They can be seen on bumper stickers, t-shirts, mugs, posters, lapel pins, tie designs and now pocket squares. See our version here.


What makes the Purple Heart unique is the award is a heart-shaped medal with a gold border and in the center General George Washington’s profile. At the top of the heart appears the shield of the coat of arms of George Washington resting upon sprays of green leaves on the medals face. 

The back of the medal consists of a raised bronze heart with the words “FOR MILITARY MERIT” below an additional coat of arms and leaves.

The Army and the Air Force recognize additional awards denoted by Oak leaf clusters. While the Marine Corps and navy denote them with a star.

The ribbon is purple and flanked on both the right and left in white lines.

The most Purple Hearts awarded to a single individual is nine. Marine Sgt. Albert L. Ireland (February 25, 1918 - November 16, 1997) holds that distinction, being awarded five Purple Heart Medals in World War II and four more in the Korean War.

Here is what the Pocket Square Heroes® inspired Purple Heart Design looks like.

Clean and elegant for any setting. Designed to fit in at networking functions. Click image to get one. 


Check out our version of other Veteran Pocket Square Heroes™ designs, by clicking on the below image.

Veteran owned, military pocket square, military funeral.


10 Things You May Not Know About The Vietnam Service Medal

10 Things You May Not Know About The Vietnam Service Medal 49

10 Things You May Not Know About The Vietnam Service Medal.
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Do You Know What the Oldest U.S. Service Medal Is?

Do You Know What the Oldest U.S. Service Medal Is? 5

National Defense Veterans Pocket Square Heroes


The National Defense Service Medal (NDSM) was established by President Eisenhower per Executive Order 10448, dated 22 April 1953. The medal was first intended to be a "blanket campaign medal" awarded to service members who served honorably.

However, this is not the case. The National Defense Service Medal is designated for a time period of which the Secretary of Defense had declared a “national emergency” during a time of war or conflict.

The National Defense Service Medal is authorized for the following time periods:

Korean War – June 27, 1950 – July 27, 1954

Vietnam war January 1, 1961 - August 14, 1974

Persian Gulf War - August 2, 1990 - November 30, 1995

Global War on Terror (Afghanistan & Iraq Campaigns) - September 11, 2001 - Present day

The National Defense Service Medal is the oldest “service medal” used by the United States Armed Forces.

The National Defense Service Medal designs were created by Mr. T. H. Jones and were submitted on 26 May 1953. The Department of Defense and representatives of all services met on 27 May 1953 and 3 June 1953 selecting the design for final approval.

The front of the medal shows the American bald eagle, our National emblem; sitting a top a combination of oak and palm leaves which signifies strength and preparedness. Above this is the inscription “National Defense”.

On the back of the medal is a shield from the Coat of Arms of the United States, and which symbolizes the defense of the United States. Half encircled with an open wreath, the right side in oak leaves and left side in laurel leaves.

National Defense Veteran Pocket Square Heroes

In our opinion, the National Defense Service Medal is the most recognizable service medal. The ribbon is colored red, white, blue and yellow. The NDSM ribbon can be seen on bumper stickers, t-shirts, coffee mugs, lapel pins and now pocket squares. See our version here.

The National Defense Service Medal is number eleven out of twenty-nine in the order of precedence and is related to the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. The next lower medal is the Korean Service Medal. The next higher would be the Navy Occupation Service Medal, the Army Occupation Service Medal and the Medal for Humane Action.

If you have served during four authorized periods this is denoted by the addition of three bronze stars added to the ribbons face. The use of a silver star is authorized representing a sixth award and you are a badass.

It is said that in practice some military clerks will not add the National Defense Service Medal to the DD-214. If this is so, eligible veterans may apply to the military service departments to have it added to their records by filing a DD Form 215. Follow link here to file. 

Check out our National Defense Service & other Veteran Pocket Square Heroes™ designs, click the below image. 

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Veteran Gifts, About the Iraq Service Medal 



What Do You Know About the Most Famous Law Enforcement Icon?

What Do You Know About the Most Famous Law Enforcement Icon? 0

The Thin Blue Line – Law Enforcement

Thin Blue Line Pocket Square Heroes


Maybe you have seen it "the thin blue line" which can be seen all over if you look closely.

Some put blue line bumper stickers on their cars in an attempt to avoid being stopped by Police; others display the blue line to represent their current public service and/or as tribute. The thin blue line can also be seen as flags, on coffee mugs, t-shirts, key chains, lapel pins and on pocket squares (see our version here). 

But what do you really know about the most famous law enforcement icon?

The Thin Blue Line is a symbol used by law enforcement, started in the United Kingdom but now popular in the United States and Canada to commemorate fallen law enforcement officers. It also serves to symbolize the relationship of law enforcement in the community as the protectors of civilians from criminal elements.

The graphic is rather simple in design but it is the meaning and the emotion it invokes that makes the thin blue line so special. Pictured below is the blue line laser beam at the National Law-Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. 


Blue Line Pocket Square Heroes National Law Enforcement Event

The blue centerline represents law enforcement, the top black stripe represents the public and the bottom black line bottom represents the criminals. The idea behind the graphic is that law enforcement is what stands between the violence and victimization by criminals against civilians.

The popularity of the thin blue line symbol for law-enforcement has came several other “thin lines”.

What other "thin lines" have you heard of? Comment below.

Many civilians use of the symbol as an identifier intended to show support for police.


Blue Line Pocket Square Heroes


So, when your out-and-about in your life and you see these icons don’t forget to take a moment, reflect and thank your law enforcement officers for their sacrifices.

"Our nation's military and law enforcement personal work hard to protect us. We must thank them for their continued vigilance. Without their sacrifice we would less capable of protecting our nation". 

Check out our version of the Blue Line, Red Line & other Veteran/LEO Pocket Square Heroes™ designs, by clicking on the below image.

Veteran Law Enforcement Pocket Square Heroes