The Purple Heart was first instituted by George Washington in 1782 to recognize “any singularly meritorious action” by his soldiers. There are only three know recipients of the award from then until 1932 when, on George Washington’s birthday – February 22, the War Department issued General Order No. 3 establishing the Purple Heart Award:

22 Feb 1932

By order of the President of the United States, the Purple Heart established by General George Washington at Newburgh, August 7, 1782, during the War of the Revolution, is hereby revived out of respect to his memory and military achievements.

By Order of the Secretary War

Douglas MacArthur
Chief of Staff

From The Library of Congress

General Order No. 3 of the George Washington Papers, penned in 1782, established “that whenever any singularly meritorious action is performed, the author of it shall be permitted to wear on his facings over the left breast, the figure of a heart in purple cloth”.


The Purple Heart is ranked immediately behind the bronze star and ahead of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal in order of precedence.

Whenever, Wherever, service members are honored

The Purple Heart was awarded only to Army personnel for the next decade. That changed in 1942 following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Executive Order 9277, signed by President Franklin D Roosevelt, retroactively authorized the award for all service members from December 7, 1941. In 1952, President Harry S Truman retroactively authorized the award to include April 5, 1917, making World War I veterans eligible for the award. Since then, there have been several additions that expanded eligibility.

From The Veterans Administration

A more complete history of the award is available in this PDF from the the Veterans Administration. Use the navigation controls at the top of the image above to view the PDF. Alternatively, click the Download arrow above to view offline.


The Purple Heart is one of the awards protected by the Stolen Valor Act of 2013. The Act, 18 U.S.C. § 704, protects the following awards for Valor:

  • Medal of Honor
  • Distinguished Service Cross
  • Navy Cross
  • Air Force Cross
  • Silver Star
  • Bronze Star

  • Purple Heart
  • Combat Action Ribbon
  • Combat Infantryman's Badge
  • Combat Action Badge
  • Combat Medical Badge
  • Combat Action Medal

History Video

A 3-minute history video about the Purple Heart. Presented by Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James Amos.

YouTube Video

Purple Heart History

National Purple Heart Hall of Honor

The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor commemorates the extraordinary sacrifices of America’s servicemen and servicewomen who were killed or wounded in combat. The mission of the Hall of Honor is to collect and preserve the stories of Purple Heart recipients from all branches of service and across generations to ensure that all recipients are  represented.
Visit the Hall of Honor website at thepurpleheart.com.
About MOPH Co423

Staff SergeAnt James M Selix

Chapter 423 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, at the foot of majestic Pikes Peak, honors Army infantryman Staff Sergeant James Michael Selix. His son, Michael, writes:
“My father was born in Colorado Springs at home on W. Kiowa on 8 Jan, 1927. He served in the US Navy as a Gunners Mate at the tail end of WWII. I know he served in Korea in the Navy, but not sure of the dates of service. He served four tours of duty in Vietnam, as an MP, a dog handler, and ultimately went through Ranger training at age 40. His last tour of duty in 1971 was when he was Killed In Action (KIA).”
Why moph CO423 exists

Guiding principles

Vision Statement

MOPH is to undertake a pro-active representation in all forums of public opinion that will consistently seek to improve the status and stature of its Veteran Members, their dependents, families and survivors.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Military Order of the Purple Heart is to foster an environment of goodwill and camaraderie among combat wounded Veterans, promote patriotism, support necessary legislative initiatives, and most importantly, provide service to all veterans and their families.

2024-2025 Chapter Officers

The Military Order of the Purple Heart, chartered by Congress in 1958, is a non-profit organization composed of military men and women who received the Purple Heart Medal for wounds suffered in combat. While membership is limited to those combat wounded who have received the Purple Heart award, we support all veterans and their families at the local, regional and national level with many programs at all levels. The Order was granted a 501(c)(19) tax exempt status in 1960 with EIN #59-0829647 The SSgt. James M. Selix Chapter 423 has 267 active members and is growing. For our location and contact information see our contact.us"> page. We are in Region 5, Colorado Department.
These patriots voluntarily serve in these Elected and Appointed Leadership roles.
Larry Hathaway

Chapter Commander

Johannes Albrecht

Sr. Vice Commander

Michael Epper

Chapter Finance Officer

Bobby Browning

Trustee 1 - Year

Steven Zerger

Trustee 2 - Year

Ed Armstrong

Chapter Adjutant

The Purple Mountain

The Purple Mountain is our newsletter produced to share information about curernt, past and future events of interest to our membership.