TBT: Purple Hearts, Eglin’s naming, and cool F-35 stunts

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Today, 232 years ago, on August 7, 1782, President George Washington ordered the creation of the Badge of Military Merit, later to be renamed the Purple Heart, to honor soldiers wounded in battle.

This is our nation’s oldest military decoration — and has been thought to represent the first time in modern history where such awards were presented to common soldiers rather than just to high-ranking officers. Washington himself designed the award in the form of a purple heart with the word “merit” inscribed.

In Florida, August 7 of each year is designated as “Purple Heart Day” — at least for the past two years following the signing of SB 922 by Gov. Rick Scott in 2012.

In 1992, the Florida Legislature approved the issuance of the combat wounded veteran license tag for recipients of the Purple Heart Medal.

It was also in early August, on the fourth, in 1947, that Congress created the Navy Medical Services Corps to serve wounded soldiers.

Celebrating its naming on this same day in 1937 is Eglin Field, originally established as the Valparaiso Bombing and Gunnery Base. Today, this base is home to the 96th Air Base Wing, as well as to the nation’s  best F-35 flying and maintenance training wing.

In other big August F-35 news, in August 2012, an F-35 flew its 200th sortie over Eglin Air Force Base; and it was just about one year ago in August 2013 that the 500th vertical landing of an F-35 took place.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.