Purple Hearts & Gallery

In the words of the VFW – “Americans have lost their lives in some 85 wars and assorted military actions in the past 234 years. Most of the casualties occurred in a dozen or so major wars. But that does not lessen the sacrifice of those killed in the numerous and mostly forgotten minor expeditions in the far-flung corners of the globe. Whenever any American in uniform is killed by hostile enemy action it is meaningful, and that loss must be remembered and forever recognized.” (VFW Magazine, June 2009 p.21)

The following Purple Heart data does not included statistics from the Marine Corp.

The first several images below establish that dozens of Purple Hearts were issued during these alleged training and war games.  The VFW accounts for 29 PH’s; one in 1984 (Schwab KIA) and 28 in 1989.  USCONTRAWAR has established that many more PH’s were issued and numerous military members killed or wounded were wrongly not issued Purple Hearts.  Several ‘friendly fire’ incidents or attacks by local hostiles, under Congressional Act, should have also been awarded Purple Hearts.

The VFW 29 plus the following incidents: 9 wounded (five soldiers and four airmen) on July 17, 1988 outside a discotheque; and 7 airmen on March 31, 1990 during an attack on a bus.  None of the U.S. military members wounded or killed during these incidents are counted in the VFW statistics mentioned above likely were issued PH’s.  For Military Merit claims that six Army soldiers were awarded the PH for the July 17, 1988 attack (see below).

Limited assumptions are being made to help clarify and come to some sort of conclusion regarding the awarding of PH’s in Honduras.  We know that one of the airmen (Cunningham, see below) was issued the PH for the July 17, 1988 attack so we have assumed that the other three AF members were also, along with the six Army soldiers, and similarly, the seven airmen wounded on March 31, 1990 presumably were also awarded PH’s.

VFW 29 + AF 11 + Army 6 (July 17, 1988) = 46 known PH’s believed awarded during these training and war games.

Other incidents ruled accidents or wrongly determined to be non-hostile, USCONTRAWAR believes should be considered hostile attacks and added to the totals above include:

2 Military Advisors wounded in Tegucigalpa on September 23, 1981 during a terrorist attack;

1 SF member David Arturo Baez (the rogue Green Beret) killed by Delta Force member Eric Haney on July 19, 1983;

1 Marine wounded on Tiger Island during an insurrection probe on November 3, 1983 (newspaper accounts, this authors investigation and phone interviews);

2 Navy SEAL’s killed by an explosion on the Amatingri River on December 13, 1984;

1 Army Ranger Captain W. Drew Harrington killed near Mocoron airfield not far from the Nicaraguan border during a mortar fire incident on December 16, 1984;

5 Army soldiers wounded during a terrorist attack in Comayagua on August 8, 1987;

1 soldier SSG Tim Hudgens killed & SGT Chris Bresko wounded in the leg (both 2/7 Special Forces, Ft. Bragg) during a knife attack on June 18, 1986;

1 SGT Gail Roberts shot in the head on December 25, 1986;

1 MP Randall Harris shot in the back patrolling the Palmerola AB perimeter on June 13, 1987;

3 soldiers wounded by shrapnel on February 18, 1989 in Comayagua when an explosive devise was detonated against a bus carrying U.S. military;

7 MP’s wounded on July 13, 1989 in San Pedro Sula crossong a bridge.

Also, were all of the helicopter and plane crashes really accidents since we know that several were shot down in Honduras (e.g., Schwab 1984, 2 U.S. Senators 1984, C-47 cargo plane March 1987)?

While comparing the above incidents to similar duration combat recognized conflicts (e.g., Kosovo, El Salvador, Matsu Islands & Quemoy), it is easy to conclude that Honduras was a very dangerous training game.

Some of the above incidents involving 25 service members, unbeknownst to USCONTRAWAR, may have been awarded PH’s but are not counted in the 46 above.  In comparison, the El Salvadoran AFEM recognized combat operations during the same period were awarded 35 or 44 Purple Hearts (VFW claims 44, GAO claims 35).  The Bosnia / Kosovo combat operations were awarded 16 Purple Hearts.

All images here are Copyright protected by USContraWar.com or the original source.

Click Here to visit Hondo AFEM Facebook page

How can you help? Support VFW Res. 419 – Honduras

Please help us advocate for recognition as Veterans of this Low-Intensity Conflict by sending a letter to your U.S. Congress or Senate representative in support of our mission by asking Congress to issue a Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal to all U.S. troops who served in Honduras from 1981 to 1992.  This will help the families of the killed and wounded and those veterans attempting to receive proper combat honors and recognition for our sacrifices during the decade that ended communism.

All material compiled here is copyright protected by USContraWar.com

Central America War (1979 – 1992)