Veterans of the Korean War have been approved to wear the Republic of Korea War Service Medal by the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd).
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Michael McCormack said the approval to wear this medal after it 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,' Mr McCormack said.
'The approval to wear the Republic of Korea War Service Medal demonstrates the 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. Eligible veterans may purchase the replica medal from any reputable medal dealer. Find out more on Defence's website.