Republic of Korea War Service Medal Approved for Wear

Veterans of the Korean War have been approved to wear the Republic of Korea War Service medal by Governor-General General Sir Peter Cosgrove.

Minister for Defence Personnel Michael McCormack said the approval to wear this medal after initially refused by the British Government in 1951 shows the Australian Honours and Awards system has evolved to become its own unique system of recognising our service men and women.

“The Australian Council of Korea Veterans Associations has campaigned to have the decision reconsidered from an Australian perspective,” Mr McCormack said.

“The approval to wear the Republic of Korea War Service Medal demonstrates Australian Defence Force’s willingness to consider and accept change.

“During the Korean War, in which more than 15,000 Australians served, Australia used the Imperial Honours and Awards system and was therefore subject to the award policies set by the United Kingdom.”

Mr McCormack said the Republic of Korea War Service medal was introduced by South Korea in 1951 to recognise the assistance provided by members of the United Nations forces in combatting communist aggression in Korea.

“It has been policy to accept only one foreign award for a particular service or campaign,” Mr McCormack said.

“In this case the United Nations Medal KOREA had been accepted and therefore the offer of the Republic of Korea War Service Medal from the South Korean Government was refused.”

As a foreign award, the Republic of Korea War Service Medal is not administered by Defence and is no longer issued by the Republic of South Korea.

Eligible veterans may purchase a replica medal from any reputable medal dealer.

Veterans who have been awarded the Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 with clasp KOREA (AASM KOREA) are eligible for the Republic of Korea War Service medal.

The eligibility criteria as directed by the Republic of Korea are as follows:

  • served between 25 June 1950 and 27 July 1953
  •  service prescribed must have been performed while:
    on permanent assignment
    on temporary duty within the territorial limits of Korea or on waters immediately adjacent for 30 consecutive or
  • 60 non-consecutive daysas crew members of aircraft in aerial flight over Korea participating in combat operations or in support of combat operations.

Further information on the medal, including fact sheet, is available on the Defence Honours and Awards website, here.

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