The United Nations Korean Medal was originally designated as the United Nations Service Medal but was officially renamed the United Nations Korean Medal on November 22, 1961. It was established pursuant to General Assembly Resolution 483(V) on December 12, 1950, which provided for "the design and award, under such regulations as the Secretary-General shall prescribe, of a distinguishing ribbon or other insignia for personnel which has [sic] participated in Korea in the defence of the Principles of the Charter of the United Nations."
ACCEPTANCE BY THE UNITED STATES
Acceptance and wear of this medal was authorized by Public Law 83-354, which authorized the acceptance for foreign medals and decorations from June 27, 1950 through July 27, 1955, for the Korean War.
The United Nations Korean Medal was awarded for qualifying service between the inclusive dates of June 27, 1950 and July 27, 1954. There are three exceptions to this terminal date, each requested by the Governments noted: Netherlands: January 1, 1955; Thailand and Sweden, July 27, 1955.
The United Nations Korean Medal was generally awarded for any period of service while assigned as a member of the Armed Forces dispatched to Korea or adjacent areas for service on behalf of the United Nations. Service in qualifying organizations had to be certified by the United Nations Commander-in-Chief as having directly supported military operations in Korea. In the case of the United States, such certification was issued in General Orders 31 (June 20, 1955); General Orders 33 (July 11, 1955); and General Orders 36 (July 13, 1955).
The design of the medal was specified in Section II United Nations regulations issued on September 25, 1951.
ORDER OF PRECEDENCE
The order of precedence for wearing the United Nations Korean Medal is set by the national government of the recipients. In the case of the United States, the medal is worn as follows:
No devices were authorized for the United Nations Korean Medal; however, the suspension bar on the obverse contains the word KOREA (in the language in which the medal was issued).
DESCRIPTION AND SYMBOLISM
In the center of a bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, the emblem of the United Nations
The reverse bears the inscription FOR SERVICE IN DEFENCE OF THE PRINCIPLES OF THE CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS. Medals bearing this inscription were made available in English for Australia, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Union of South Africa, and the United States. It was also made available in Amharic (for Ethiopia); in Dutch (for the Netherlands); in French (for Belgium, French Canadians, France and for Luxembourg). It was made available in Greek (for Greece); in Italian (for Italy); in Korean (for South Korea); in Spanish (for Colombia); in Thai (for Thailand); and in Turkish (for Turkey). It was also produced unofficially in Tagalog (for the Philippines).
The ribbon bears alternating stripes of light/medium blue (9) and white (8), which are the colors of the United Nations.