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Purple Heart Came C.O.D.

August 4, 2011, 10:00 PM by Don Jorgensen

Purple Heart Came C.O.D.
The purple heart is one of the highest medals of honor in our nation's military.

It's awarded to any members of the armed forces who are wounded in battle. But how one soldier from South Dakota received his purple heart he says was anything but honorable. 

Freedom isn't free and apparently neither are Purple Hearts. As retired Sergeant Major in the Army Rob Dickerson found out, they too can come with a price. 

"C.O.D. Is how I received my Purple Heart," retired Army Sergeant Major Rob Dickerson said.

Dickerson, who was seriously wounded in a rocket blast while serving in Iraq in 2007, finally got his Purple Heart in the mail, four years late, and on top of it all was billed over $21.00 for postage. He couldn't believe it. 

"This is not a matter of money, this is a matter of principle," Dickerson said.

Dickerson says because of a snafu with paperwork, he never got his Purple Heart when he should have. He has spent the last two years trying to prove to the Army he was injured in combat. 

"It's a very prestigious award, nobody wants it, but unfortunately with war, it happens," Dickerson said.

And when it happens, recipients are usually surrounded by military members and their family during a pinning ceremony.

"There are only two medals of the Army that you are a recipient of, you're not awarded, you don't earn, that's the Purple Heart and the Congressional Medal of Honor," Dickerson said.

Dickerson says this is not about him, but other soldiers who may have the same thing happen to them. He says they should get better treatment from the United States Military, especially after laying their lives on the line while serving their country. 

"I don't want you to think I'm whining and complaining, because I'm not, I really don't want this to happen to another soldier or any service member of the United States, it's degrading," Dickerson said.

Dickerson did get an apology and a money order for his out of pocket costs, but he says he couldn't cash it, because it was made out to Roy Dirksen, not Rob Dickerson.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Dickerson's rank with the Army was clarified.

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