ADF embracing change with RoK medal decision

The Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd). Image via Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.

The Australian Defence Force is becoming more adaptable according to Minister for Defence Personnel Michael McCormack, with veterans of the Korean War now getting approval to wear the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

The approval was granted by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove.

Minister McCormack said the approval to wear this medal, which was 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," Minister 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."

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 combating communist aggression in Korea.

Previously, policy dictated only one foreign award for a particular service or campaign, Minister 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," he said.

As a foreign award, the Republic of Korea War Service Medal is not administered by Defence. Eligible veterans may purchase the replica medal from any reputable medal dealer.
Veterans who have been awarded with 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; and
  • 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 days; and
    • as 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 at the Defence Honours and Awards website.

ADF embracing change with RoK medal decision
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