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Our latest book
Sacrifice Remembered: Posthumous Awards of the Purple Heart Medal in the Second World War
About the book
The result of two years of research, photographing over 1,500 Purple Hearts in the hands of museums, Gold Star families, historians, and collectors, author David Schwind has created the best reference book on not only the Purple Heart but all United States valor medals of the Second World War. Most importantly, it honors many of the men who sacrificed their lives in the service to our country and for the freedom of many other nations.
This book explores posthumous awards of the Purple Heart, the United States’ oldest military decoration. Through the biographies of over three hundred men who were awarded the Purple Heart after they were killed in action, this book conveys the meaning and importance of this medal and what it represents.
In 593 pages, the book details the stories of service members from the Army, Army Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Public Health Service who were killed in action during WW2. In addition to short biographies, their medals and accompanying documents, ranging from the Congressional Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star, and the focus of the book, the Purple Heart, are displayed in full color and exacting detail.
Additionally, the variations, types, engraving styles, and manufacturing differences are examined at a level of detail never before published to give the reader a full appreciation of the development of the medal and how it changed over time to become the medal we know today. No other book has ever shown the detail, images, and in-depth research about the medals and decorations awarded for heroism and service in the Second World War. This book is truly ground-breaking and the only one of its type.
Concerned about the lack of information and "urban legends" in the medal collecting community, this book, "Sacrifice Remembered, Posthumous Awards of the Purple Heart Medal in the Second World War" was written to be a one-stop reference for the Purple Heart medal.
The result of two years of research, photographing over 1,500 Purple Hearts in the hands of museums, Gold Star families, historians, and collectors, this book is the best reference book on not only the Purple Heart but all United States valor medals of the Second World War. Most importantly, it honors many of the men who sacrificed their lives in the service to our country and for the freedom of many other nations.
In 593 pages, the book details the stories of over 300 men from the Army, Army Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Public Health Service who were killed in action during WW2. In addition to short biographies, their medals are displayed in full color and exacting detail.
While the book was written to tell the story of the Purple Heart in World War Two, every other valor medal the US could bestow in WW2 is shown, from the Medal of Honor to the Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Soldier's Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Medal, Silver Lifesaving Medal, and more. Close up photos of the engraving on the awards and medals - not just the Purple Heart - are included in the book.
Additionally, the book has appendices that show, in detail, Purple Heart presentation boxes (from the early pearl-button untitled coffin cases to the purple Navy and Marine Corps first style boxes) shipping boxes and envelopes, different types of medals, the different styles of engraving for every branch of the service, to include subtypes, how to research the medal, and a comprehensive list of over 14,000 numbers from known researchable numbered Purple Hearts.
A review of the contents in the book:
- Introduction: 10 pages. Discusses the origin and history of the Purple Heart, both for wounds, casualties, and the MSCC - Meritorious Service Purple Hearts. Has images of posthumous Distinguished Service Crosses, the Navy Cross, and Medals of Honor from the First World War as well as the Columbia Accolade and accolade from France. Tells the biography of the commanding officer of the USCGC Tampa, sunk with all hands in WW1 and his Purple Heart.
- Chapter 1, pages 11 to 38: The Army in the Pacific. Discusses awards of the Purple Heart for actions in the Philippines through Guadalcanal, the Attu Island, Okinawa, Burma, and more. Has photographs of seventeen Purple Hearts, three posthumous Distinguished Service Crosses, three Medals of Honor, three posthumous Silver Stars, and four posthumous Bronze Stars plus associated paperwork, to include certificates, accolades, telegrams, photos and biographies of the recipients.
- Chapter 2, pages 39 to 122: The Army in Europe. Has posthumous awards of the Purple Heart for actions ranging from Operation Torch, the landings in North Africa, Operation Husky, Anzio, Italy, D-Day in Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge, fighting in Germany, the airborne landings in Europe including Operation Varsity, Operation Market Garden, and more. Seventy-two Purple Hearts are included in this chapter, along with one Medal of Honor, five Distinguished Service Crosses, nineteen Silver Stars, ten Bronze Stars, a posthumous Soldiers Medal, and a very unusual Air Medal to a Field Artillery officer. This doesn't include the dozens of images of certificates, notification NOK telegrams, accolades, photos, and more.
- Chapter 3, pages 123 to 138: The Army Air Force in the Pacific. Has fourteen posthumous Purple Hearts awarded for actions with the Army Air Force in the Pacific Theater, ranging from Pearl Harbor (two extremely rare posthumous Army Purple Hearts from there) China Burma India to the Philippines, bombing raids on mainland Japan, and more. Additionally shown are one Silver Star, one Bronze Star (unusual for the Army Air Force), three Distinguished Flying Crosses, including a rare variation that includes the general order date officially engraved on it, and six Air Medals, to include those of ace and Medal of Honor recipient Richard Bong's wingman. As with the other chapters, the telegrams, notifications, letters, certificates are also shown.
- Chapter 4, pages 139 to 182: The Army Air Force in Europe. Takes the reader from the early HALPRO flights out of North Africa, Operation Tidal Wave over Ploesti, through the massed bombing raids over Germany by the 8th, 9th, and 15th Air Forces. Twenty-eight posthumous Purple Hearts are shown along with four Distinguished Service Crosses (including two aces and two from Ploesti), three Silver Stars, five Distinguished Flying Crosses, twenty-one Air Medals, and several unusual groups including a posthumous Purple Heart to a civilian, the Purple Heart to the pilot of the Lady be Good, several Purple Hearts to men who flew with the RAF and RCAF prior to the US entry into the war, and dozens of documents, certificates, engraving orders, and more.
- Chapter 5, pages 183 to 255: The Navy in the Pacific. Starting from the attack on Pearl Harbor, this chapter includes many of the Pacific's most notable actions, to include the sinkings of the USS Houston, USS Indianapolis, USS Juneau, submarines, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the Battle off Samar with the sinkings of the USS Hoel, Samuel B. Roberts, Johnston, and more. This chapter also discusses Purple Hearts to the SeaBees and to the brave Navy medical pharmacist mates and corpsmen that served with the Marine Corps. Fourteen Purple Hearts from the USS Arizona alone are photographed, to include the Purple Heart and Medal of Honor of Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd. This chapter includes photos of sixty one posthumous Purple Hearts, two Medals of Honor, three Navy Crosses (including two of the Black Widow variety), two Silver Stars, and many Good Conducts, awarded both while the recipient was living and posthumously. As with the other chapters, many, many documents, certificates, telegrams, letters, and more are shown.
- Chapter 6, pages 256 to 272: The Navy in the Atlantic. From the first sinkings by U-boats of the USS Jacob Jones, to the Murmansk Run arctic convoys, to the amphibious landings in North Africa and at Normandy on D-Day, this chapter shows fourteen Purple Hearts, three Silver Stars, and a highly unusual posthumous Soviet Order of the Patriotic War, First Class, awarded for heroism in the North Atlantic.
- Chapter 7, pages 273 to 290: The Naval War in the Air. This chapter covers the initial air battles following immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor and then goes through the Battle of Midway and the later attacks against the Japanese throughout the Pacific. In this chapter, along with many documents, photos, and more, are twelve Purple Hearts, two Black Widow Navy Crosses, six Distinguished Flying Crosses (including every variation from an award for the Battle of Midway with the incredible eleven-line engraving to later awards with seven-line engraving), eight Air Medals, all with the superb Navy engraving, and a posthumous Silver Star - all to naval aviators.
- Chapter 8, pages 291 to 302: The Coast Guard and Public Health Service. With only 574 combat deaths, most collectors and historians have never seen a Coast Guard posthumous Purple Heart. In this chapter, I include seven of them, including that of Douglas Munro, the Coast Guard's only Medal of Honor recipient with close up photos of his Medal of Honor. I also show photos of the rarest Purple Heart of WW2, to a surgeon of the US Public Health Service; one of only three who lost their lives during the War. This is a short chapter, but 99% of collectors and historians will never have an opportunity to see these medals in person - here's the opportunity to learn about them and the men who sacrificed everything for their nation.
- Chapter 9, pages 303 to 370: The Marine Corps. This chapter takes the reader from Guadalcanal through the landings on Roi-Namur, Parry Island, Eniwetok, Tinian, Tarawa, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and more. Forty-nine USMC Purple Hearts are shown, as well as a posthumous Medal of Honor, awarded to Darrell S. Cole, the namesake of the famous USS Cole (as well as his other awards and his dog tags), three posthumous Navy Crosses, a posthumous Legion of Merit, seven posthumous Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, Good Conduct Medals, and many documents, photos, citations, death discharge documents, telegrams, letters, and more to men who served as Marine Raiders, riflemen, demolitions experts, just to name a few.
- Chapter 10, pages 371 to 384: Marine Corps Aviation. Beginning with the intense battle for Wake Island and the posthumous Medal of Honor and Purple Heart to Henry T. Elrod, this chapter has ten posthumous Purple Hearts to Marine pilots as well as one Medal of Honor, one Black Widow Navy Cross (awarded for Wake Island), four Air Medals and two Distinguished Flying Crosses. And, many documents, photographs, and more.
- Chapter 11, pages 385 to 418: Behind the Wire: Fallen While Prisoners of War. This chapter discusses the brave men who died while in captivity as a POW. Starting with Bataan and Corregidor and the infamous Japanese Hellships, this chapter also covers those who were killed by Japanese and German atrocities, including the SS Jean Nicolet, the Palawan Massacre, and the Malmedy Massacre. This chapter features another twenty-two posthumous Purple Hearts from all branches, including those of a Marine Colonel, with his posthumous Legion of Merit, the Wake Island Marine Expeditionary Medal of a Marine captured on Wake, but who was later killed in Japan, to include his letters home to his parents, an Army Bronze Star awarded to a Navy Ensign posthumously, the two-Silver Star and DFC group to a thirteen-kill Army Air Force ace, the Bronze Star and Purple Heart to the only member of the Coast Guard taken as a prisoner of war in WW2, and more.
- Chapter 12, pages 419 to 442: Families. Perhaps the most poignant of all of the losses were to families who lost multiple children during the war. Starting with a Marine and Navy brother who died on the USS Arizona on December 7th, the chapter continues with two of the Purple Hearts from the Sullivan Brothers of the USS Juneau and includes several family groups where one brother was killed in action while another was killed during training accidents. Another group includes a brother who was killed in the Philippines where his other brother died in the United States from complications resulting from the sinking of his ship above the Arctic Circle during the infamous convoy PQ-17. He was later awarded a posthumous Soviet Russian medal For Valor, and both the medal and Soviet documents are included in the chapter. The chapter also has the medals of Lieutenant General Leslie McNair, who was killed within a week of his son during the war. Images are also included of the condolence letters from both President Roosevelt and Senator Truman to his wife. Concluding the chapter is a poignant group of a Marine who was killed on Iwo Jima and his great-nephew who was killed in Iraq in 2004.
- Chapter 13, pages 443 to 456: Non-Purple Heart Recipients. Not everyone who died in WW2 was awarded the Purple Heart. This chapter includes the posthumous Coast Guard Distinguished Flying Cross of John A. Pritchard, who was lost on an arctic rescue mission, the posthumous Legion of Merit to a Carrier Division Chief of Staff and early naval aviator who died in a plane crash at sea, the Medal of Honor to Owen Hammerberg, who died horrifically during the West Loch disaster while rescuing his fellow divers, two posthumous Soldiers Medals, a posthumous Navy and Marine Corps Medal, and the group of medals to Lieutenant General Millard F. Harmon, whose aircraft disappeared at sea.
- Chapter 14, pages 457 to 479: The Casualty Process. This chapter takes the reader from what happened to a casualty initially through the notification of the next of kin, all in photographs never previously published. It also discusses the 1948 repatriation of those who died overseas and shows images of that process as well. Almost all of the photos in this chapter have never before been published in any book or publication.
- Appendix A, pages 480 to 496: Award Boxes and Shipping Containers. The first appendix shows all of the variations of the black "coffin" boxes used by the Army and Navy during the Second World War. It shows the untitled box variation with the pearl button catch, the original blue numbered shipping box for numbered Purple Hearts, single and double lined Purple Heart boxes, and for the Navy, the first type small purple box and later short titled boxes. Additionally, the outer boxes are shown as well as the mailing boxes for all branches of the service, as well as the tubes and envelopes for mailing the Presidential Accolade and the Purple Heart certificate.
- Appendix B, pages 497 to 556: Identification of Purple Heart Types and Engraving Styles. This appendix goes into detail never before published about the variations, types, and styles of the Purple Heart. Ranging from the first production 1932 Purple Hearts to the unusual Medal Arts contract Purple Hearts awarded to the wounded from Pearl Harbor. Then, it discusses all of the major contracts of WW2, both from the Army and the Navy Department's US Mint contract Purple Hearts. The majority of the chapter provides the most coverage of engraving styles ever published. With 157 images of Army hand-engraved styles alone, the appendix also covers machine pantograph engraving, stamped engraving, and post-war engraving. For the sea services, the book provides, for the first time ever, classifications of engraving styles for Navy and Marine Corps Purple Hearts.
- Appendix C, pages 557 to 560: Researching Purple Hearts. This appendix tells the reader how to research the story behind the Purple Heart (and any named medal, for that matter) as well as provides images of the 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center that destroyed so many files.
- Appendix D, pages 561 to 578: Traceable Numbered Purple Heart Medals. In this appendix, the numbers 14,379 known traceable and identifiable numbered Purple Hearts are listed. If you have a Purple Heart with a number, this is a must-have reference to see if it can be identified. As the author, I refer to this appendix almost daily.
The remaining pages of the book are the bibliography, references, and index.
The book itself is printed on the highest quality 105-pound ultra-heavyweight glossy paper, in full color wherever possible (the wartime photos are in their original black and white format). No expenses were spared in making this book an honorable memorial to those who gave their lives in the service of the United States military.
Sacrifice Remembered is a key reference across the historical research spectrum: from museums maintaining Purple Hearts in their collections to historians, researchers, and collectors seeking to appreciate essential details about the medal. Most importantly, families searching to discover their genealogical history will gain a better understanding of the tremendous sacrifices made by those who came before them.