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Army Times Story on the Purple Heart Controversy

The Army Times posted a story about my family’s continued efforts to secure a Purple Heart for my deceased husband Lou Allen

(Read the story here.)

As the widow of someone who was first murdered, and then determined by the military to be unworthy of recognition, it is enormously refreshing that the Army Times, unlike most of the rest of the media, continues to believe in the merit of this effort and Lou’s legacy.  I knew this article would bring about both positive and negative  responses from the Army Times extensive audience.  I didn’t quite expect the level of unabashed animosity in some of the responses, but sticks and stones…

Thank you to all those who commented in support, and who sent letters of support, too. Special thanks to Steven Raiser and Congressman Maloney  Here is one letter I received, from Medal of Honor recipient John Baca. He and William “Monsoon” Mimiaga, along with numerous other Vietnam Veterans, have displayed extraordinary support and dedication to seeing their brother in arms honored.

To:  Military Awards Board

From: John Baca Medal of Honor Recipient – Vietnam

Subj:  Purple Heart Medal for Lt. Lou Allen US Army.

Board Members

My name is John Baca and I was the recipient of the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War in 1970. I was also the recipient of the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart Medal. I mention the Purple Heart Medal because that award that was presented to me as I lay recovering in the hospital in Japan with my Mother present.

Barbara Allen did not have that opportunity to sit by her husband as he lay dying. In addition, the Purple Heart Medal has been denied on numerous occasions as not an approved award befitting the circumstances of her husband’s death. This I will point out is ludicrous taken at face value and my arguments are forthcoming.

I have been a personal friend of Barbara Allen and her four boys and have seeing what this tragedy has cost Barbara and her family over the past 10 years, with the losing of a husband and a father. Worse yet, the improperly conducted Court Martial, bias and contempt for the rules of military law and justice, caused the family even more discernment, stress and agony as the accused was acquitted and set free. The Purple Heart Medal was denied leaving the four boys with no Legacy of their father’s proud service and sacrifice.

If Alberto Martinez was acquitted and found not guilty of fratricide, then may I suggest to the Awards Board that just possibly it was Iraqi soldiers or foreign insurgents that killed Lt. Lou Allen, and the awarding of the Purple Heart would be justified.

Understanding the rules of engagement and the strict requirement of the awarding of the Purple Heart Medal, “for direct wounds in action with the enemy,” I question who the Board would consider “enemy,” when a weapon is purposefully turned on one of our own regardless of by whom.

May I also point out that there have been cases of the Purple Heart Medal Awarded to individuals contrary to the written rules and regulations. During World War II, pilots and crew members of bombers who suffered frostbite were awarded the Purple Heart Medal. Ground Forces were denied the same. In addition a non-combatant, a famous war correspondent, Ernie Pale, was awarded a Purple Heart Medal, he was killed on IE Shia Island in the Pacific in 1945. Did I mention that Ernie Pale was a “CIVILIAN.”

Throughout our Military History we have gone to great lengths to honor, remember and to take care of our own. In the case of Lt. LOU ALLEN, a proud Army warrior, husband and father, we have disappointedly and tragically left him behind on the battlefield, when our credo is to never “leave no man behind.” I have seen much but nothing stands out more unfavorably and unjustly than what my US Army, of which I proudly served has done to one of my soldiers.

I would gladly present and turn over to you, my Medal of Honor, if “Justice” can be served, and the Barbara Allen family receive their Dad’s Legacy, the awarding of the Purple Heart Medal.

~ Respectfully Submitted, John Baca – Medal of Honor – Vietnam 1970

I chose to share this letter in direct response to one of the most frequent objections I have heard; that awarding my husband the Purple Heart in some way diminishes the honor of the medal for others who have  received it. Perhaps those individuals will be moved by the actions of the two veterans who gave me their own Purple Hearts in honor of Lou, the veterans who drove across the country  gathering signatures on a petition in support of this, and the words of support from a man who received a Medal of Honor by throwing his own body over a grenade to save his comrades.

About the Author Barb Allen

Barb Allen Is A Gold Star Wife, Author & National Speaker. She’s a professional veterans advocate who understands the personal and factual struggles of turning adversity into advantage. But this lesson did not come easily and this upper hand must be diligently maintained. Now, Barbara brings her life lessons to her audiences in keynote speeches and custom programs. She relates to her audiences’ lives and challenges, and teaches them how to become gladiators in their own life’s arena.

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