In August of 1974 the Director of the Personnel Bureau, South Korean Ministry of Defense, offered this medal to the United States. It was to be known as the Republic of Korea Service Medal and, interestingly, the offer came just as the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for service in Korea was terminated (the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal was authorized for service in Korea from October 1, 1966 to June 30, 1974). The Commander, U.S. Forces Korea, recommended acceptance of the medal, but when the recommendation was forwarded to the Joint Chiefs they non-concurred. As a result, in June of 1976 the Secretary of Defense disaproved the recommendation to accept the Republic of Korea Service Medal "because normal military duty in Korea under present circumstances does not warrant reception of such a medal." Acceptance of the medal by either individuals or groups was therefore prohibited.
A small number of these medals had already been awarded to United States military personnel. It is not known how many of these medals were awarded, but when the recipients attempted to have them posted to their military records the medals were impounded and no record of the award was entered into the service records.
This medal is neither issued nor authorized by the Federal Government, nor can it be worn on the active duty uniform. We offer this beautiful medal as a reminder of military service in Korea, one of the most significant continuing hotspots in the Cold War.
As a result of effecting lobbying by the Korea Defense Veterans Association, in 2003 Congress created the Korea Defense Service Medal to recognize service in Korea on or after July 28, 1954, the date the Korean War Ended. The Republic of Korea Service Medal and the Korea Defense Service Medal are perfect companions for those who have served in Korea.
Photos by Vic Damon
(3rd Armored Division Cold War Veteran)
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P.O. Box 710