Purple Heart quiz - answers - VA History Office
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Purple Heart quiz - answers

Purple Heart History Quiz Questions & Answers

1. Why did General George Washington use the color purple for the heart-shaped figure in his Badge of Military Merit?

Answer: According to Peter Bedrossian, program director of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, in New Windsor, N.Y., the color purple “signified royalty: Purple dye was expensive — the average person couldn’t afford a purple garment — and so purple would signify an elevation of your status above those around you.”

Source: https://www.winknews.com/2018/08/07/the-history-behind-purple-heart-day/

2. Who was the only U.S. President to have received the Purple Heart?

Answer: President John F. Kennedy, who served in the Navy during World War II, is the only U.S. president with a Purple Heart. He sustained a back injury when a Japanese destroyer collided with his patrol torpedo boat near the Solomon Islands.

Source: https://www.uso.org/stories/2276-8-purple-heart-facts

3. This decorated World War II soldier earned his Purple Heart after being wounded in combat in the Philippines. He later became an award-winning screenwriter, playwright, television producer, and creator of The Twilight Zone.

Answer: Rod Serling (1924-1975) also earned a Bronze Star and the Philippine Liberation Medal, among other military decorations.

Source: https://www.medalsofamerica.com/blog/22-famous-people-who-have-been-awarded-the-purple-heart/

4. Which former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, a retired Four-Star General and Army Chief of Staff, was twice wounded in Vietnam and received two Purple Hearts?

Answer: Ret. Gen. Eric K. Shinseki received his first Purple Heart while serving with the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam in September 1966; he received his second Purple Heart medal three years later while in command of Troop A, 3d Squadron, 5th Cavalry Regiment. He stepped on a landmine and lost part of his foot.

5: Name two other Secretaries of the Department of Veterans Affairs who received the Purple Heart.

Answer: The late Jesse Brown, a Marine Corps Veteran, who died on August 15, 2002, and is interred at Arlington National Cemetery, and Dr. James Peake, who retired from the Army in 2004, as a lieutenant general.

Sources: and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Peake

6: Which former Secretary of State, a retired Four-Star General and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was awarded a Purple Heart following his first combat tour in Vietnam?

Answer: Ret. Gen. Colin I. Powell earned a Purple Heart while serving with the 23d Infantry Division in Vietnam.

Source: https://armyhistory.org/the-purple-heart-the-story-of-americas-oldest-military-decoration-and-some-soldier-recipients/

7: This United States Senator from Illinois and former Department of Veterans Affairs Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs was the first female double amputee from the Iraq War, where she served as a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel. She received her Purple Heart at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Answer: Sen. Tammy Duckworth sustained severe wounds during combat in Iraq when the helicopter she was piloting was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents. Despite her wounds, Sen. Duckworth obtained a medical waiver to continue serving in the Illinois Army National Guard, from which she retired as a lieutenant colonel in 2014.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tammy_Duckworth#Military_service

8: During World War II, this Army soldier received three Purple Hearts and all of the Army’s combat awards for valor, including the Medal of Honor, for single-handedly holding off an entire company of German soldiers in France, and then spearheading a successful counterattack. He later became a successful actor and died in a plane crash in 1971.

Answer: Audie L. Murphy (1925-1971).

Source: https://www.medalsofamerica.com/blog/22-famous-people-who-have-been-awarded-the-purple-heart/

9: She was the first woman to receive The Purple Heart as a result of combat while serving at Hickam Field during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. She was later awarded the Bronze Star.

Answer: 1Lt Annie G. Fox (August 4, 1893 – January 20, 1987). According to her Purple Heart citation, she received the medal, not for having been injured, but for her “outstanding performance of duty and meritorious acts of extraordinary fidelity…” during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The requirements for the Purple Heart were changed after Pearl Harbor.

Sources: Women Medal Recipients (aug.com) and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Fox_(nurse)

10: During which conflict were the most Purple Hearts awarded?

Answer: World War II, with an estimate of just over one million Purple Heart medals being awarded to service members.

Source: https://www.medalsofamerica.com/blog/a-guide-to-the-most-purple-hearts-awarded-in-each-conflict/

(All sources updated/retrieved August 6, 2021)

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