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    New medal for Australian veterans of the Korean War

    Military Shop
    Posted by Military Shop on Feb 22, 2018 10:36:26 PM

    Korean War veterans are now eligible for a new medal, more than 60 years after this “forgotten war” ended in 1953. However, describing the Republic of Korea War Service Medal as ‘new’ might be a bit of a misnomer, since the medal was originally instituted by South Korea in 1950. The medal is intended to acknowledge the service of the combined United Nations force that was dispatched to South Korea to repel North Korean communist aggression. Twenty-one countries participated in this multinational contingent, including more than 17,000 Australians.

    At the time Australia was subject to the Imperial system of honours and awards, of which the policy and order of precedence was determined by the United Kingdom. As a result, Australians were eligible for the Queen’s Korea Medal, issued by the UK to participating Commonwealth nations (including New Zealand and Canada). The United Nations also issued its own medal for the conflict, known as the United Nations Service Medal for Korea. However, personnel subject to the Imperial honours system were never eligible to wear the Republic of Korea War Service Medal, since the UK has a long-standing awards policy of only approving one foreign award for wear for each campaign (the foreign campaign award, in this case, was UN Korea medal),.

    In 1998, as part of the independent Australian honours and awards system, the Australian Active Service Medal was instituted along with a ‘Korea’ clasp to acknowledge active operational service during the conflict. The AASM and clasp was awarded in addition to existing Korean War campaign medals. The Governor General’s recent authorisation of the Republic of Korea War Service Medal for wear means that most Australian veterans of the Korean War are now eligible for a total of four campaign awards for their service between 1950 and 1953.

    In a press announcement, the Minister for Defence Personnel Michael McCormack said “the approval to wear this medal after initially refused by [sic] the British Government in 1951 shows the Australian Honours and Awards system has evolved to become its own unique system of recognising our servicemen and women”.

    Since the Republic of Korea War Service Medal is a foreign award, the Department of Defence does not issue the medal to Australians. Eligible veterans or their families can purchase high quality replicas of the medal from the Military Shop, where they can also obtain advice regarding medal mounting and the order of wear.

    Click here for special deals and help with Medals

    Topics: Korea, Medal

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