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The Germann Purple Heart

Here we have the Germann Purple Heart which has been named, numbered and maimed. It looks like a gold plated silver Purple Heart and is numbered 164865 at the bottom left on the edge. The numbers are upright when the front side is up. The back is privately engraved “Germann” in long hand above the date 1943 which is above an ornamental flourish. This Purple Heart is on a slot brooch and has moderate to heavy wear. The loop stem has been re-attached by a skilled craftsman who drilled through the Washington coat of arms at the top and inserted a piece of metal wire which was then flattened at both ends giving the appearance of a plugged hole. No attempt was made to conceal the repair leading me to think that this repair was made for or by the original owner. The fact the there is so much wear also makes me conclude that original owner survived the war and proudly carried his medal, may be even as a pocket piece, for many years. Because of the repair I also suspect that the ribbon and brooch could be replacements. The name Germann is a fairly common name so the lack of initials presented an attribution challenge. There was a Leroy L. Germann who was a sailor on the US Submarine Golet which was lost with all hands in 1944 so this could not be this Germann’s medal. There was also a Lloyd Germann in the 505th PIR of the 82nd Airborne but as per the General Orders indexes for both units he is not listed as having earned a Purple Heart. That leaves S/Sgt Oliver R. Germann who was a tail gunner on a B-24 in the 44th Bomb Group, 506th squadron. He was wounded Aug 16, 1943. Oliver was from Wyoming and flew on the historic Ploesti raid. Therefore I think that he was the original owner of this Purple Heart. Google even has a link to news story with photo of him after he was awarded seven medals in one day.

And you thought I was going write about a German wound badge didn’t you.