The modern day Purple Heart medal was first established as a Badge of Military Merit established by General George Washington on August 7, 1782. Washington's badge was designed to include a purple heart-shaped cloth that was to be worn over the left breast of the recipient. General Washington bestowed the Merit Badge to three of his sergeants (Sgts Elijah Churchill, William Brown, and Daniel Bissell, Jr.) during the Revolutionary War.
For an unknown reason, the badge was quietly forgotten until 1927 when General Charles Summerall submitted a bill to Congress that the Merit Badge be revived. Under General MacArthur's leadership, Elizabeth Will (an employee of the Army's Office of the Quartermaster General), was named to redesign the medal. After her task was complete, three plaster models were offered and the model created by John Sinnock, from the Philadelphia Mint, was selected.
The War Department announced the new award in General Order No. 3, February 22, 1932:
After the dedication, hundreds of Purple Heart Recipients were gathering in nearly every state and Hawaii (not yet a state) to advocate for preserving and strengthening comradeship and patriotism, assisting, comforting, and aiding all needy and distressed members and their dependents; and encouraging fellowship amongst their fellow Combat Wounded Patriots. Their work was exceptional, and in 1932, the Military Order of the Purple Heart was born.
The fellowship that "The Order" displayed reflected on their female counterparts. Derived from the Departments and Chapters of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, a Ladies' Auxiliary was created to be the support and fundraising arm of the Order. In 1933, Mable E. Patton was elected the first National President of the newly formed Ladies' Auxiliary. She served two successful terms. For the next two decades, both the Military Order of the Purple Heart and the Military Order of the Purple Heart Auxiliary became the only organizations that were exclusively composed of Combat Wounded Veterans who earned the Purple Heart and their lineal dependents. Their accolades were numerous and their civic and social laurels were unsurpassed. The next two decades introduced order and structure to the ever growing organizations. Veterans from WWI were receiving post-war retroactively awarded Purple Hearts, WWII Veterans - in record amounts- were receiving their medals, and with new eligibility laws in place, Veterans were receiving their medals posthumously - which allowed family members of the fallen to join and honor their loved one in the form of volunteerism.
In order to secure their foothold amongst other organizations, the Military Order of the Purple Heart was incorporated, and chartered by Congress in May of 1958. Two years earlier, on May 21, 1956, the MOPHA became incorporated and was legally named "The Ladies' Auxiliary of the Military Order of the Purple Heart of the USA, Inc.". President Teresa Coughlin of Indiana became the first National President of the newly incorporated LAMOPH.
Since its incorporation and Chartership, the MOPH and the LAMOPH's membership rosters grew exponentially. The same undefeatable strength and determination to fulfill the objectives of the LAMOPH was followed through until 2016 when both the MOPH and the LAMOPH realized that more women were entering combat and their male family members wished to join the Auxiliary with a voice and a vote. With the same historical objectives - ("Patriotic, fraternal, historical, and educational") - and to preserve and strengthen friendship among members; to perpetuate the memory of the Purple Heart dead; to maintain true allegiance to the Government of the United States and fidelity to its laws, and to emphasize principles of historical significance, Americanism and loyalty, a new name was voted upon and passed without objection in Dallas, Texas in August 2017. Under the direction of the 2016-2017 LAMOPH National President Terri Shattuck of Michigan, the motion was passed and the vote was ratified by the Convention body. (It should be noted that the MOPH, as the parent organization of the LAMOPH, passed their same motion, without objection, hours prior to the "Ladies" ratified their vote.) Immediately following the end of the National Convention, Gloria Sanchez of Florida became first National President of the “Military Order of the Purple Heart Auxiliary of the U.S.A., Inc.”
In the 9th decade of our formation, we are saddened that much of our history was not documented; however, our members are striving to unearth documentation, photographs, and historical articles that will bring to light our history and heritage. Documents, photographs, and any items that you feel would fill in the missing pieces to our historical past, please let us know. We would be grateful to receive these cherished documents.
"By order of the President of the United States, the Purple Heart established by General George Washington at Newburgh, August 7, 1782, during the War of the Revolution, is hereby revived out of respect to his memory and military achievements."
By Order of the Secretary War:
Douglas MacArthur, General Chief of Staff
"Nevertheless our mission remains unchanged. We, the men and the women of the Purple Heart, - the Order of the Combat Wounded convene in National Convention, the 21st of our organic existence. Our plan, our mission? To better help our fellow men... Our problems are many, our unfinished work vast. Let us, with God's help, try and fail not."
1953-1954 National President
In regards to the future incorporated LAMOPH
during the 1953 National Convention in Chicago.
Mable E. Patton is elected first National President of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Military Order of the Purple Heart
in 1958, The Military Order of the Purple Heart of the USA received its Congressional Charter.
Gloria Sanchez of Florida is the first National President of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Auxiliary.
The Military Order of the
Auxiliary's first logo
Teresa Coughlin of Indiana is the first National President of the newly incorporated Ladies' Auxiliary of the Purple Heart.
A new logo was designed to incorporate the new name of the MOPHA.
Patriots from the 1950s eceived news about upcoming changes during the National Commander's Tour.
LAMOPH Members mail out information to all member households throughout the Country for $1 each.
The newly designed MOPHA banner was designed in 2019, made in 2020, and dedicated at the 2021 National Convention in Charleston, WV.