Mississippi Public Broadcasting

Purvis man presented Purple Heart years after traumatic brain injury became eligible for award

By Michael McEwen

In September 2006, Army Maj. Victor F. Hogan was nearing the end of a 15-month tour when the combat vehicle he was riding in struck an Improvised Explosive Device — or IED. The Purvis native flipped 180 degrees inside the vehicle and was knocked unconscious for several minutes after striking his head.

Doctors at the time determined he'd suffered a traumatic brain injury. But owing to a lack of research, TBI's weren't considered Purple Heart eligible by the Department of Defense until 2011. 

It wasn't until 2016, when Hogan was receiving treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Virginia, that he ran into his old battalion commander and learned he'd become eligible for the medal. After a 10-year stretch defined by lingering neurological challenges, Hogan began a years-long process to have his injuries officially recognized for the medal. 

“It was a long process, but I'm really thankful for the process because there are a lot of men and women that go through the same lengthy process. You don't want to make a mistake and give a person an award that doesn't deserve it,” said Hogan. “So even though as a service member, we get frustrated with the process and the time it takes, it's there for a reason. To wear a medal that has the first president of the United States on it, that's a solemn obligation and commitment.” 

In 2017, his first submission to the Army’s Human Resources Command was rejected due to missing documentation, according to a media representative with the Army.

A second application the following year was also rejected, but in Sept. 2022 was referred to the branch’s board for the Correction of Military Records. That submission was then approved in April, and officially awarded in mid-May. 

Nearly 17 years after suffering his injuries, Hogan was presented the medal by U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith during a ceremony at Camp Shelby, not far from where he grew up. 

“I'm pleased that Michael Hogan will be getting this because it was almost 20 years ago that he deserved it,” she said, “and I regret that the process of getting this medal was long and difficult. I also see that it's just representative of his strength, of his resilience and his tenacity that Major Hogan brought to his service."