A few year's ago, Bay City had a major flood. Some of the things saved during that flood was the medals from my great uncle. Before that, I remember seeing his grave in Cadillac and my dad pointing out that he died in World War II. After some research I was able to put together a few details of his service in the war. I do want to thank my dad for his help.
After a little more digging, I found his name on a list of casualties in the National Archives. He was an Electricians Mate 3rd Class in the Naval Reserve. My dad did a little more digging and found out that he was attached to the Naval Construction Batallion 6 (Seabees in more popular vernacular). Unfortunately, I don't have too many more details than that.
The award was never abolished but never re-proposed until after World War I. In 1931, the current design was proposed by General Douglas MacArthur. The shield above the medal is George Washington's coat of arms. Multiple awards are indicated by oak leaf clusters in the Army and Air Force or stars in the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. During the early period of World War II it was also awarded for meritrious action. The first one was awarded to Douglas MacArthur.
With the establishment of the Legion of Merit, the award was only given for wounds or deaths in combat. In 1985, this was expanded to include friendly fire. An interesting tidbit is that 500,000 Purple Hearts were manufactured in anticipation of the Invasion of Japan. These medals are still being used to this day because that number has not been exceeded in subsequent actions.
Over 1,000,000 were awarded in World War II. Almost 120,000 for Korea and a little over 350,000 for Vietnam. 607 were awarded during Desert Storm. A little over 7,000 for the Afghanistan War and 35,000 for Iraq.
As I said, I wish I had a little more history about my great uncle but here is some history on the medals.