from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A U.S. military decoration awarded to members of the armed forces who have been wounded in action.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A US military decoration awarded in the name of the President of the United States to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after 5 April 1917 with the U.S. military.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
But the VA counselor was pretty sure the Purple Heart and service-connected disability would get him more; perhaps the full forty-five months.