Idea sparks debate among troops, defense officials
A quick question tossed at Defense Secretary Robert Gates — Should veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder receive the Purple Heart? — has created a maelstrom in the blogosphere.
It seems the reasoning behind the idea — to lessen the stigma of mental health disorders — also works against the proposition.
"It would lessen the meaning of the award," a Marine said about the military's oldest combat medal.
"I'd be ashamed to wear it," chimed in a soldier.
"It's an insult to those who have suffered real injury on the battlefield," wrote an Army intelligence officer.
The dust-up began May 2 when Gates was on a visit to Red River Army Depot, Texas. During a brief media availability, a reporter asked Gates if the Pentagon might consider awarding Purple Hearts to troops with combat-related PTSD.