On August 7, 1782, General George Washington created the “Badge for Military Merit”. This “Badge For Military Merit” was presented for “any singularly meritorious action” and permitted its wearer to pass guards and sentinels without challenge.
The ‘Book of Merit’ was lost, but it appears that only three soldiers received this award during the Revolutionary War.
This award was forgotten until 1927 when General Summerall tried to revive the award. General Summerall was not successful in getting this award re established.
In 1931, General Douglas MacArthur took up the cause to have this award re-instated. His efforts were successful and on February 22, 1932, the award was re-established and was called the “Order of the Purple Heart”.