Marine Corps Veteran to be awarded Purple Heart

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Tacoma native and Marine Corps veteran Kenneth McAllister will be formally presented the Purple Heart for wounds he sustained in a combat engagement on April 1, 2003, while serving in Iraq with the Company B, 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, which is stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

The award presentation will take place Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 1 p.m. at the 4th Landing Support Battalion Headquarters, here. The unit’s commanding officer, Lt. Col. Joseph Raftery will present the Purple Heart to McAllister during a formal unit formation. Approximately 20-25 friends and family members will attend the ceremony.

McAllister served in the Marine Corps from 2000 through 2004, at which time he was honorably discharged with the rank of lance corporal. Although wounded in combat, McAllister didn’t receive the Purple Heart before completing his Marine Corps enlistment in 2004. In August 2011, McAllister contacted the Tacoma office of Senator Maria Cantwell asking for help in getting the Purple Heart he’d earned presented to him. His application was subsequently reviewed and approved by the U.S. Marine Corps Headquarters Military Awards Branch. His Purple Heart award was approved Jan. 19. Senator Cantwell will be in attendance at the ceremony Tuesday.

The Purple Heart is the nation’s oldest military decoration – its roots date back to General George Washington when it was originally called “Badge of Military Merit.” The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Services after April 5, 1917, has been wounded or killed.

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