Korean War F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions)
I understand that the Military is providing "service lapel pins" similar to those received by World War II veterans for Korean War Vets. Where do you apply for these pins?
Korean War Veterans Commemorative Lapel Pins are available to all veterans who meet the following criteria:
The veteran must have:
Served between the outbreak of hostilities and the date the armistice was signed, July 27, 1953
- Been on permanent assignment or on temporary duty for 30 days
- Performed his/her duty within the territorial limits of Korea, in the waters immediately adjacent thereto or in aerial flight over Korea participating in actual combat operations or in support of combat operation
Eligible veterans should send their name and mailing address to the Community Outreach Division. Pins will be sent to requestors within a week of their request.
Why was the 50th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration Committee founded?
The committee was founded to:
- Identify, thank and honor the veterans of the Korean War and their families -- especially those who lost loved ones;
- recognize and remember prisoners of war and those whose remains have not been recovered;
- recognize the contributions of women and minorities;
- provide the American public with a clear understanding of the lessons learned from the war;
- inform future generations of the U.S. military's contributions in maintaining freedom;
- recognize the contributions of United Nations forces;
- and ensure commemorative events strengthen and unify the bonds of friendship throughout the world.
What was the role of female service members during the Korean War?
When the Korean War erupted in June 1950, women in the armed services numbered about 22,000 worldwide. Roughly 7,000 of these women were healthcare professionals, the rest served in line assignments in the Women's Army Corps (WAC); Women in the Air Force (WAF); Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, or Navy Women's Reserve (WAVES); and Women Marines. Although Congress had passed the Women's Armed Forces Integration Action in 1948 giving women increased prospects for military careers, the Department of Defense's efforts to recruit more women during the Korean War met with limited success and were discontinued in 1952. Individually, the WAC, WAVES, WAF and Women Marines each increased their strength during the war. However, the overall number of enlisted women in the services during the Korean War declined as a net percentage of Armed Forces personnel.
Specifically related to the war, women served as nurses. Some Army nurses served in Mobile Army Surgical Hospital or M.A.S.H. units. Some Navy nurses served on board hospital ships in waters surrounding Korea. Air Force nurses flew in and out of Korea on MEDEVAC aircraft. Many nurses staffed the hospitals in Japan where thousands of war casualties were transported.
What impact did the movement toward integration of the U.S. Armed Forces have on the conduct of the Korean War?
The outstanding performance of racial minority service members during World War II and the civil rights movement in the postwar years compelled the services to reexamine their traditional practice of segregation. The different services moved toward integration in different ways, but during the Korean War all had the same need for resources and sought ways to employ them more rationally and economically. Not long after the war started, manpower shortages plagued all services and segregated units only aggravated the manpower situation. As replacements arrived in Korea, it was administratively and logistically labor intensive to maintain segregation. A fighting man was a fighting man regardless of race. Desegregation came about because segregation no longer made any sense and was a drag on the system. In short, integration meant a more effective use of manpower and made meeting the personnel requirements of the war easier, probably helping to create a more effective fighting force.
Did President Truman desegregate the military? What was Executive Order 9981?
President Truman's actions helped put an end to segregation in the military but did not serve immediately to desegregate the armed forces. In the presidential campaign of 1948, Truman's Republican opponent, Thomas A. Dewey, included desegregation of the military in his platform. Democrats were divided on the issue. On July 26, 1948, Truman issued Executive Order 9981 calling for the equal treatment and opportunity for all within the armed services without regard to race. Truman's ultimate intent was desegregation, but it was not ordered.
Did the Korean War have any lasting effects on U.S. foreign policy?
Yes. The Korean War was the first direct conflict in the Cold War between U.S. and communist forces. Before the Korean War broke out, the United States was embroiled in a policy of containing Soviet/communist expansion through supporting local governments with all means necessary short of military intervention. The Korean War was the first deployment of U.S. troops to a combat zone to contain communist aggression. In later years, to contain communism, the United States would send troops to Vietnam. Stemming the spread of communism was a primary foreign policy goal during the Cold War.
Korea was also the first war that saw a United Nations coalition. The United States has continued to support United Nations military efforts, most recently missions referred to as "peace keeping."
How can a Korean War veteran get the Republic of Korea Service Medal?
A veteran or relative can request the Republic of Korea Service Medal by sending a copy of the service member's discharge papers, the DD 214 (or equivalent paperwork), to the Air Force Personnel Center at:
||Air Force Personnel Center
550 C Street West
Randolph Air Force Base, TX 78150-4714
Additional information on how to apply for or request the medal can be found by contacting the Air Force Personnel Center, Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (CST) at (800) 558-1404, or the Awards and Decorations Section (210) 565-2432/2520/2516, fax (210) 565-3118.
If a veteran, or relative, needs to request a copy of the DD 214 he/she should write to the National Personnel Record Center in St. Louis. If the service member or relative has Internet access the request form is available at: http://www.nara.gov/regional/mprsf180.htm
The form should be mailed to:
||National Personnel Record Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100
More information is available on this site and on the national Korean War Commemoration Committee site.
How long is the commemoration period?
The commemoration period commenced June 25, 2000, marking the 50th anniversary of the invasion of South Korea, and will continue until Nov. 11, 2003.
Were all services involved?
The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine all served in the Korean War with distinction. The U.S. military along with the armed forces of 21 other countries fought to maintain a free and democratic South Korea.
What were the casualty figures for each service in theater?
Total deaths in theater: 36,570
Marine Corps: 4,509
Air Force: 1,546
Marine Corps: 23,744
Air Force: 368
Where can I obtain information about a relative of mine who has been missing in action (MIA) from the Korean War?
Each military branch has a Casualty office that maintains information on those veterans who are missing in action (MIA) and some information on those who were killed in action (KIA). Contact the respective service of the veteran.
Air Force: 1-800-531-5501
To obtain additional information on those veterans killed in action (KIA), contact the National Personnel Record Center (Military Personnel Records) at: http://www.nara.gov/regional/mpr.html or 1-800-318-5298.