The Korean Service Medal was established by Executive Order 10179 signed by President Harry S. Truman on November 8, 1950.


The Korean Service Medal was awarded for qualifying service between June 27, 1950, and July 27, 1954.


The Korean Service Medal was awarded to service members who participated in operations in the Korean war zone between June 27, 1950, and July 27, 1954.


The Korean Service Medal is worn after the National Defense Service Medal and before the Antarctic Service Medal.


  • Bronze stars are authorized for participation in the following campaigns:

    • North Korean Aggression (Navy): June 27 to November 2, 1950.

    • United Nations Defensive (Army, USAF): June 27 to September 15, 1950.

    • United Nations Offensive (Army, USAF): September 16 to November 2, 1950.
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    • Chinese Communist Forces Intervention (Army, USAF): November 3, 1950 to January 24, 1951.

    • Communist China Aggression (Navy): November 3, 1950 to January 24, 1951.

    • Inchon Landing (Navy): September 13 to 17, 1950.

    • First United Nations Counteroffensive (Army, Navy, USAF): January 25 to April 21, 1951.

    • Chinese Communist Forces Spring Offensive (Army, Navy, USAF): April 22 to July 8, 1951.

    • United Nations Summer-Fall Offensive (Army, Navy, USAF): July 9 to November 27, 1951.

    • Second Korean Winter (Army, Navy, USAF): November 28, 1951 to April 30, 1952.

    • Korean Defense Summer-Fall, 1952 (Army, Navy, USAF): May 1 to November 30, 1952.

    • Third Korean Winter (Army, Navy, USAF): December 1, 1951 to April 30, 1953.

    • Korea, Summer 1953 (Army, Navy, USAF): May 1, 1953 to July 27, 1953.

  • The bronze arrowhead is authorized for those who participated in any of the following assaults:

    • Inchon (amphibious): 1530 to 2400 hours on September 15, 1950;

    • Sukch'on-Such'on (airborne): 1350-1400 hours on October 20, 1950; or,

    • Musan-Ni (airborne): 0900 to 1000 hours on March 23, 1951.


    The Korean Service Medal was designed by Thomas Hudson Jones (1892-1969).


    The first recipients of the Korean Service Medal received their medals on February 6, 1951. They were:

    • First Lieutenant Howard W. Cardoza (70th Tank Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division)

    • Private First Class Francis Philipps (25th Division)

    • Master Sergeant Andy Parton (25th Division).



    In the center of a bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, a stylized Korean gateway is depicted with the words KOREAN SERVICE following the contour of the medal. The Korean gateway was selected to symbolically represent the geographic area of operations.


    In the center of a bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, the Taeguk is depicted, surrounded in the upper half of the medal by the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and in the lower half by branches of laurel leaves (to the left) and oak leaves (to the right).

    The Taeguk is the Korean national symbol and is taken from the Korean flag. It represents the unity of all things. The branches of laurel and oak represent achievement and strength.


    The ribbon to the Koran Service Medal consists of light blue bisected by a center stripe of white. The colors are those of the United Nations, under whose authority the war was fought. Since the war was fought under the authority of the United Nations, the American colors were not incorporated into this ribbon.


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