Army Makes War Hero Pay for Purple Heart

purple heartMost soldiers receive their Purple Hearts via federal ceremonies -- retired Sgt. Major Rob Dickerson received his Purple Heart via Federal Express. Adding insult to injury, Dickerson, who served 29 years in the army and did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was also required to pay the $21 shipping fee it cost for the army to mail him his medal. The package arrived C.O.D.

An army spokesman assures that this sort of thing isn't typical and that normally the medal would be sent to a soldier's unit where it would've been up to the leader to coordinate a ceremony, and that this is some sort of horrible mistake.

To right their wrong, the army sent Dickerson an apology letter and a money order to reimburse him for the shipping fee ... but that's when things got even worse.


Sgt. Major Rob Dickerson received a money order made out to Roy Dirksen.

Really, Army? Get it together. I bet Dickerson didn't know whether to laugh or cry when he saw that his name had been butchered. Two army gaffes for one medal seems absurd.

I feel for the guy -- it's been two years since he was originally shipped his medal and the thing's still not resolved. I get that governments aren't exactly known for their speed, agility, and deftness, but this seems a bit egregious. The amount of red tape that is holding up the reimbursement for this Purple Heart shipment is just sad.

Dickerson won't give up -- he told The Huffington Post that he understands that mistakes are made and he just wants this whole thing to be fixed so that everyone can move on. He's now reaching out to other soldiers who find themselves in similar red tape tangles and offering his advice and support.

While it's not the first nor the last time something like this will happen, I'm sure the fact that government screw-ups are not exactly unheard of doesn't make Dickerson's ordeal less frustrating. Hope he gets his money, and maybe a ceremony, soon.

Have you suffered anything similar?

Photo via 807MDSC/Flickr

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