Chapter meetings are at 1 p.m. on the third Tuesday of January, March, May July, September and November
at the Citrus County Builders Alliance, 1196 S. Lecanto Hwy., Lecanto
Cdr: Richard Hunt
Sr. Vice Cdr: Bill Merryman
Jr. Vice Cdr: Gary Bain
Finance Off: Joe McClister
Judge Adv: John Carlson
Sgt-at-Arms: Robert Gibson
Trustee 2-yrs: Will Korber
Trustee 1-yr: Leo Stockmaster
Adjutant: Curt Ebitz
Service Off: Joe McClister
Welfare Off: Mickey Hunt
Historian: Curt Ebitz
Chaplain: Troy Allen
Americanism Off: Chuck Kanehl
The History of
Aaron A. Weaver Chapter 776
Military Order of the Purple Heart
Badge of Military Merit - The History of
The Purple Heart Medal
In April 2004, a group of 17 combat wounded veterans, comprised of World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans, gathered to organize a chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) in Citrus County, Florida.
At the April organizational meeting, the combat wounded veterans in attendance voted unanimously to form a MOPH chapter for the purpose of "Preserving the proud legacy of the Purple Heart Medal" and to name the chapter in honor of Chief Warrant Officer Aaron A. Weaver.
Aaron was killed in Iraq on January 8, 2004, when the UH-60 helicopter in which he was a passenger was brought down by hostile ground fire with no survivors.
Aaron, an Army aviator and Ranger, was a Citrus County native and a graduate of Citrus High School and Central Florida Community College, which is now the College of Central Florida.
An election of officers was also held with Curt Ebitz, a Vietnam veteran, elected as the chapter's first commander.
On August 11, 2004, the chapter was officially chartered under the hand and seal of the National Commander, Military Order of the Purple Heart of the United States of America, Inc. as Aaron A. Weaver Chapter # 776 with 21 charter members.
Chapter 776 has the distinction of having one of its members selected as the 2016 MOPH U.S.A. National Patriot of the Year and two of its members inducted into the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame.
The Chapter 776/Citrus County Tax Collector Office fundraising partnership has raised over $235,000 for the benefit of the Citrus County Veterans Foundation, which is Chapter 776’s principal charity.
Since inception, Chapter 776 has grown to 130 Patriot members and 49 Associate members who are primarily from Citrus and Hernando counties.
At his headquarters in Newburgh, New York, on August 7, 1782, General George Washington devised two new badges of distinction for enlisted men and noncommissioned officers.
To signify loyal military service, he ordered a chevron to be worn on the left sleeve of the uniform coat for the rank and file who had completed three years of duty "with bravery, fidelity, and good conduct"; two chevrons signified six years of service.
The second badge, for "any singularly meritorious Action," was the "Figure of a Heart in Purple Cloth or Silk edged with narrow Lace or Binding." This device, the Badge of Military Merit, was affixed to the uniform coat above the left breast and permitted its wearer to pass guards and sentinels without challenge and to have his name and regiment inscribed in a Book of Merit.
The Badge specifically honored the lower ranks, where decorations were unknown in contemporary European Armies. As Washington intended, the road to glory in a patriot army is thus open to all."
Pre-WW2 Awards: The Purple Heart as we know it today was reestablished in 1932 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Washington.
The original criteria for award of the Purple Heart as published in the War Department Circular No. 6 of February 22, 1932 states that the medal be awarded to anyone serving in the Army who had received combat-related injuries or had received the AEF's Meritorious Service Citation Certificate during WWI, the latter criteria harkening back to the intent of George Washington's "Badge of Military Merit".
WWII Awards: In April 1942 the War Department amended its policy regarding the issuance of the Purple Heart. The new regulations authorized the posthumous award of the Purple Heart retroactive to December 7, 1941, and eliminated the use of the medal as a merit award.
Aaron A. Weaver Chapter 776 Military Order of the Purple Heart, P.O. Box 1345, Lecanto, FL 34460-1345