Earl Meyer, a veteran of the Korean War, is still waiting on his Purple Heart 70 years after the war ended.
The 96-year-old Minnesotan still feels the shrapnel in his leg from when his platoon was heavily attacked in June 1951. Doctors said that it was too close to the sciatic nerve for them to remove it.
Meyer applied for a Purple Heart in recent years at the request of his daughters, who only began to open up about his wartime experiences when he was older. However, he was repeatedly denied because positive proof has faded over time.
In a statement, Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), whose office assisted Meyer in getting supporting documents from the National Archives, stated that “Earl Meyer sacrificed his life in defense of freedoms and we will do everything we can to honor his service.”
Doctors at the Department of Veterans Affairs have stated that Meyer’s injuries were most likely caused by being injured in combat. He claims to have been wounded during an attack in June 1951. Meyer has provided documentation supporting his claim.
Meyer, who was one of those men present that day, believes the medic who treated him and who agreed to complete paperwork regarding his injury before Meyer could even finish it has been killed.
Meyer wrote, “At first, I did not know that I was wounded,” in an affidavit that was included with his appeal that was rejected. As my unit moved away from the area where mortar rounds hit, I noticed my pants sticking to my leg. When I bent down to fix this, my hand was covered with blood.
A review board of the Army rejected his request as a whole, stating that he lacked sufficient documentation.
After Meyer took the difficult decision to sue in September and his lawyer argued that veterans in similar situations had been awarded Purple Hearts before, Sgt. Maj. Michael Weimer is the Army’s top non-commissioned officer. He told the Associated Press that they will be reexamining Meyer’s case.
Master Sgt. Daniel Wallace said. “We’re proud, either way, of Mr. Meyer Meyer’s service in our country.
Meyer stated that his daughters were the main reason for him to apply for a Purple Heart. When he was young, his injuries were minor and he never gave it much thought.
Sandy Baker, Sandy Baker’s daughter, said: “I believe it will bring closure to him.”
In this case, the board stated that “under wartime conditions, injuries requiring medical attention by a medical doctor will not always be treated, and even if the Soldier receiving the treatment does receive it, the treatment may not be recorded in an official document.” In such cases, credible statements by colleagues may help establish the circumstances under which a Soldier’s wound was received.
He was also injured in his back a few days after the shrapnel wound and received a tetanus injection at that time, perhaps for the shrapnel.
Meyer, who suffered a back injury, said: “I still had a hole in my pants with blood on it.” “I should have said it at that time.”
Meyer received an honorable discharge in 1952. He earned the Combat Infantryman Badge, for taking part in combat on the ground under enemy fire, as well as the Congressional Gold Medal during his Merchant Marine service in World War II.
He said that he wished more documentation had been made during his time serving in the Korean War. However, his thoughts at the time were more immediate. “I was glad to be out of there.”