Washington DC—U.S. Representatives Duncan Hunter, a Marine veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, Tom Rooney, a veteran of the U.S. Army, and Tim Murphy, a U.S. Navy Reservist, introduced legislation today prohibiting the Department of Defense from rating the Distinguished Warfare Medal equal to or higher than the Purple Heart. 

“Combat valor awards have a deep and significant meaning to those who serve in America’s military,” said Representative Hunter.  “These awards represent not just actions, but also the courage and sacrifice that derive from experiences while in harm’s way.  And those engaged in direct combat put their lives on the line, accepting extraordinary personal risk.  There is nothing wrong with having a military award that recognizes commendable actions off the battlefield, but it’s absolutely necessary to ensure that combat valor awards are not diminished in any way.”  

 “Like many fellow veterans in my district and across the country, I have grave concerns with the decision to rank the new Distinguished Warfare Medal above traditional combat valor medals like the Purple Heart,” said Representative Rooney.  “There is no greater sacrifice than risking your own life to save another on the battlefield, and the order of precedence should appropriately reflect the reverence we hold for those willing to make that sacrifice.”

Representative Murphy concluded, “I know personally from my Navy service with combat-wounded veterans at Walter Reed that their Purple Heart should and must rank above the Distinguished Warfare Medal.  If the Pentagon will not reconsider the decision to rank this medal above the Purple Heart, the House will take action.”