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Wounded 21 Year Army Vet Forced To Pay $21 For Purple Heart

USA ~(Huffington Post)~ Wounded Army veterans pay a high price for their country.  To honor them they are rewarded with the Purple Heart, one of the highest regards one can receive in the course of one’s duty.  After paying a hefty sum due in guts and courage, a recent Army vet was forced to pay $21 to receive his Purple Heart by mail.

Retired Sgt. Major Rob Dickerson, after 29 years of service, was not awarded his metal at a glamorous dinner or an honorific ceremony but rather via a FedEx deliveryman.  FedEx demanded $21 cash on delivery.

The soldier has been a new and brave journey through bureaucracy and red tape, questing to receive his medal.  The delivery and $21 was the last straw.

Dickerson was wounded by a rocket in 2007, serving as an advisor to Iraqi soldiers.

“It threw me 20, 25 feet in the air – it just crumpled me,” Dickerson said.  He stated that the rocket caused a traumatic brain injury, shrapnel wounds, shoulder injuries, back injuries, neck injuries and nerve damage to his hip.

Given the extent of his injuries and long history of service a Purple Heart should have been easy to obtain.  The complications started because Dickerson was serving with Iraqi forces instead of U.S. soldiers.  Without a U.S. Army medic to issue Dickerson a Casualty Feeder Card, a document that notifies Army brass of injuries, he had no bureaucratic proof of his injury, besides his massively wounded body of course.

Dickerson refused to pay the C.O.D. at first, until FedEx sent him a bill in the mail.

Army officials are not able to explain how a wounded soldier was forced to pay for his own Purple Heart.  “I’m sure that’s not typical,” stated Army spokesperson Troy Rolan.

Dickerson intends to help other soldiers in situations similar to his own.  He stated, “If they would do it to a Sgt. Major, they’ll do it to anybody.”

Photo Credit: Rob Dickerson

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