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THE GULF WAR: The Home Front : Stockpiling Medals

January 23, 1991

Anticipating rewards for future heroes, the Defense Department paid $5,177.50 for more than 21,000 PURPLE HEARTS, SILVER STARS and other military decorations and shipped them to the Persian Gulf on Jan. 4, two weeks before war broke out, a Pentagon spokesman said. The manufacturers of the medals, just a handful of small companies, survive in peacetime by making everything from novelty medallions to cloth emblems. The Pentagon declined to identify them, citing possible terrorist reprisals.

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