Korea Defense Service Medal
After 48 Years of Waiting, Korea Cease-Fire Service is Finally Recognized
After 48 years of service to the Republic of Korea, U.S. Armed Forces will finally receive the medal recognition they earned and deserve for their historically dangerous and hostile duty. Approximately 40,000 troops have served on the peninsula each year since 1954. On 2 DEC 2002, President Bush signed the National Defense Authorization for year 2003 that included the KOREA DEFENSE SERVICE MEDAL to be awarded to all armed forces members who served from 28 July 1954 to a date to be determined by the Secretary of Defense. The House and Senate passed the bill in November. This will affect thousands of former and current Massachusetts service men and women bringing them the recognition and prestige earned but withheld for 48 years. Korea service is the only U.S. military deployment standing the line face-to-face with an enemy without a service medal award.
There has never been a surrender or formal truce agreement officially ending the Korean War in spite of 48 years of negotiation. Only a fragile cease-fire agreement is in place, and technically, the countries remain at a state-of-war. Since cease-fire service began in 1954 there have been over 40,400 breaches to the cease-fire agreement by North Korean Forces. At least 1,200 U.S. personnel have died, hundreds wounded, and 87 captured and held as prisoners. There have been more than 2,300 Republic of Korea Casualties.
Representative Elton Gallegly, (R-CA 23), was the first member of Congress to create legislation for the service medal on May 22, 2001. His bill had 243 bipartisan cosponsors that included a majority of members on the House Armed Services Committee. A companion bill introduced in the Senate by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), June 7, 2001, with 63 bipartisan cosponsors also included a majority on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Both Senators and nine Representatives from Massachusetts cosponsored these bills.
Procedures on how to apply are pending, please check back soon or contact Veterans' Services at 617-349-4760.
Stephen A. Vesce
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51 Inman St.
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