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Pearl Harbor Posthumous USN Purple Hearts


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Since it is still December I thought a good way to kick off my first contributing post to this forum would be to show a few US Navy Posthumus Pearl Harbor PH's!

 

Pearl Harbor PH's are special for a number of reasons. One of them is the unique way that many are engraved. Most WWII KIA USN PH's are engraved NAME/RANK/USN or USNR for enlisted men or RANK / NAME / USN or USNR for officers . USN PH's for Pearl Harbor often have RANK and USN on the same line instead of 2 lines .

 

This example was awarded to Chief Watertender William E. Tisdale Jr. He was KIA 12/7/41 on the USS Arizona. Note his rank and USN is on the same line. His medal was issued in 1943. The USN did not authorize the posthumous award of the Purple Heart medal to anyone until 1943, which means they are retroactive in the case of Pearl Harbor casualties .

 

 

Tisdale.JPG

 

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Here is another Purple Heart which was awarded to Apprentice Seaman Thomas Hembree who was KIA 12/7/41 on the USS Curtiss . His remains , previously interned as " Unknown " at the Punchbowl in Hawaii were recently identifed. He was re-interned at the punchbowl with a new headstone.

 

This Purple Heart was issued to his NOK on 11/23/43.

 

Hembree.JPG

 

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This Purple Heart, was issued to the NOK of a veteran who was KIA 2/1/42 during the USS Enterprise's first action against Japanese held territory at the Marshall Islands. In addition, his plane was damaged by anti-aircraft fire in flight during the Pearl Harbor attack .

 

Even though this is not a Pearl Harbor PH, I wanted to illustrate it because of the similar engraving.

 

He was a Radioman with Scouting Squadron 6 . A ship was named for him, the USS Dennis DE-405 . His Purple Heart was issued to his NOK on 9/2/43 . Note his PH was issued earlier than the one above to AS Hembree.

 

All three of these were issued in 1943, and exhibit the earliest known engraving styles used by the USN. It is currently not known when the USN stopped engraving the rank and USN on the same line.

 

If there is interest in seeing WWII USN Navy Air medal engraving, I can do a thread on them as well.

 

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These are amazing and beautiful examples of the PH. thumbsup.gif

 

Regards,

Stephan

"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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These are amazing and beautiful examples of the PH. thumbsup.gif

 

Regards,

Stephan

 

Thanks Stephan!

 

Here is a pic of another USS Arizona PH that I used to own that has the same engraving style,

 

 

Kurt

 

 

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As a comparison , here is another USN PH with engraving from the early 1945 time period. Notice " Rank " and " USN" are on different lines .

 

Kurt

 

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It's ironic that these beautiful medals are given for such a horrible thing. Those examples are amazing, and I'm glad they found good homes.

 

Adam

 

Thanks Adam ,

 

The Tisdale and Hembree PH's were given to me by their families . I consider myself the temporary caretakers of the medals. The history behind them is what I consider important.

 

Kurt

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Kurt,

 

I know you have seen this medal before, but thought I'd post it to this thread for those who haven't. This sailor's medal and paperwork grouping was acquired by me from his aunt, the sole surviving member of their family.

 

Harold Baker "Jack" Wood was KIA in USS Arizona on Dec. 7th, 1941.

 

Gary

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Hi Gary

 

Thanks for posting Wood's PH . What I really like is the date of issue on the PH certificate. It helps date the issue of the medal to the same time period ( Feb 1944) .

 

If I remember right his GCM is name only with no date on the reverse.

 

Awesome set!

 

Kurt

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Hi Gary

 

Thanks for posting Wood's PH . What I really like is the date of issue on the PH certificate. It helps date the issue of the medal to the same time period ( Feb 1944) .

 

If I remember right his GCM is name only with no date on the reverse.

 

Awesome set!

 

Kurt

 

Kurt,

 

Yes, the GCM is only the name as you pointed out. What are your guesses on it? Post war, sent with the campaign medals to his mother or possibly sent in 1944 with the PH?

 

Gary

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Kurt,

 

Yes, the GCM is only the name as you pointed out. What are your guesses on it? Post war, sent with the campaign medals to his mother or possibly sent in 1944 with the PH?

 

Gary

 

 

It was probably sent in 1946 with the WWII Victory and American Defence medals. The A-Pac and American Campaign were probably mailed in 1947.

 

 

Do you have the little brown envelopes they were mailed in?

 

 

Kurt

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It was probably sent in 1946 with the WWII Victory and American Defence medals. The A-Pac and American Campaign were probably mailed in 1947.

Do you have the little brown envelopes they were mailed in?

Kurt

 

Kurt,

 

No, when it was handed to me, she had the insert pulled out of the PH case and all of the medals stuffed into it. Fortunately, no damage to any of the medals, but the imitation pearl in the "Remember Pearl Harbor" pin was in the bottom of the "pile up" and got scrunched a little.

 

Gary

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Kurt,

 

Yes, the GCM is only the name as you pointed out. What are your guesses on it? Post war, sent with the campaign medals to his mother or possibly sent in 1944 with the PH?

 

Gary

 

Kurt,

 

A question? It's stuck in my mind that named but undated USN GCM's are considered posthumous medals. Is this true?

 

I forgot that I had Jack's aunt sign the paperwork for the Congressional 50th Anniversary Pearl Harbor Medallion in 1992 to go with the grouping. As sole survivng kin, it was presented to her and then given to me to put with the rest of his medals. For those who don't know what it looks like, here it is.

 

Gary

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Kurt,

 

A question? It's stuck in my mind that named but undated USN GCM's are considered posthumous medals. Is this true?

 

I forgot that I had Jack's aunt sign the paperwork for the Congressional 50th Anniversary Pearl Harbor Medallion in 1992 to go with the grouping. As sole survivng kin, it was presented to her and then given to me to put with the rest of his medals. For those who don't know what it looks like, here it is.

 

Gary

 

Undated GCM's are generally posthumous. They were issued to sailors who were MIA and later declared KIA. Technically a sailor who enlisted in 1941 and was MIA in 1942 ( and was really KIA in 1942 ) , but was not declared KIA until 1946 would have qualified for a GCM based on 4 years of service !

 

The Pearl Harbor medal you pictured above will always be scarce because the US Mint made them and they were never sold out the back door like other more recent medals ( including MOH's ) .

 

 

Kurt

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Undated GCM's are generally posthumous. They were issued to sailors who were MIA and later declared KIA. Technically a sailor who enlisted in 1941 and was MIA in 1942 ( and was really KIA in 1942 ) , but was not declared KIA until 1946 would have qualified for a GCM based on 4 years of service !

 

The Pearl Harbor medal you pictured above will always be scarce because the US Mint made them and they were never sold out the back door like other more recent medals ( including MOH's ) .

Kurt

 

Kurt,

 

If qualification for award of the USN GCM is four years, then I think in this case, the Navy Department awarded it to Pearl Harbor KIA's that didn't actually have their entire four years in? According to Jack Wood's service records, he enlisted on 9/9/38, so he had only 3 years, 2 months and 22 days active duty. Is that unusual or do you know of other cases of early award of the GCM by the Navy?

 

I know that if a Marine KIA had 3 years, 11 months and 29 days active duty, won the MOH resulting in his death and was an outstanding, professional with perfect 5.0's, his next of kin were SOL if they applied for the GCM on his behalf. It sounds like the Navy had a little leeway?

 

I've only seen one 50th Anniversary medallion listed on eBay several years ago and if I remember correctly, the seller was asking $200 and I don't believe it sold. When I was doing a work study with the DAV at the local VA hospital here, the medallion had been authorized by Congress and already in circulation for a couple of years and yet, I was totally surprised at the number of Pearl Harbor survivors or next of kin who live in this area that weren't aware of it's existence. It was a well hidden or not very well advertised award for the men and women who were elgible.

 

Gary

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Kurt,

 

If qualification for award of the USN GCM is four years, then I think in this case, the Navy Department awarded it to Pearl Harbor KIA's that didn't actually have their entire four years in? According to Jack Wood's service records, he enlisted on 9/9/38, so he had only 3 years, 2 months and 22 days active duty. Is that unusual or do you know of other cases of early award of the GCM by the Navy?

 

It all depends on his official " Finding of Death " date . On the example I used earlier a Sailor KIA in 1942 may have had a FOD of 1946 which was not uncommon. The USN held off declaring certain MIA's KIA until after the war was over in the hopes they were POW's . With a FOD of 1946 a sailor enlisting in 1940 with a FOD of 1946 had 6 years in according to Navy Regs.

 

Pearl Harbor sailors generally did not fall into this category because there was no way they would have been POW's . Probably only Wood's service record will shed light on his award.

 

Kurt

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  • 10 months later...

In rememberence of 12/7/1941 , I am bringing this topic back up to the top.

 

My Father-In-Law is a Pearl harbor survivor who lives in Hawaii. He will be at most of the activities today in Honolulu.

 

Kurt

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  • 1 month later...

Here is another Purple Heart to add to this thread. ( Thank you Andrew for selling me this! )

 

It is a non-posthumous award un-officially hand engraved to SF3c Lewis Richard Dominici . He was wounded 12/7/41 during the attack on Pearl Harbor serving on the USS Pennsylvania . His service number matches the service number engraved on the medal. It is quite common on WWII engraved USN WIA Purple Hearts to see both a name and a service number on the medal ( something you do not see on posthumous awards ) .

 

 

Kurt

 

 

domin1.jpgdomin2.jpg

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  • 10 months later...

Brought back to the top in commemoration of the 67th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.

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