Korea Defense Service Medal

Korea Defense Service Medal

Korea Defense Service Medal
Awarded by United States Department of Defense
Type Service medal
Eligibility July 28, 1954present
Awarded for service in support of the defense of South Korea.
Status Current
Established Pub.L. 107-314, 116 Stat. 2458, 10 USC 3756, 6258 & 8756, enacted December 2, 2002
Next (higher) Global War on Terrorism Service Medal[1]
Next (lower) Armed Forces Service Medal[1]


The Korea Defense Service Medal (KDSM)[2] is a military service medal of the United States Armed Forces that was first created in 2002 when it was signed into law by President George W. Bush. The bill to create the proposal was introduced and championed by Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA) and Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM).[3] Several designs for the medal were proposed. The selected design was done by John Sproston.[4]


The Korea Defense Service Medal is authorized for those members of the United States Armed Forces who have served duty in South Korea after the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement in support of the defense of the Republic of Korea. To qualify for the KDSM, a service member must have served at least thirty consecutive days in the Korean theater. The medal is also granted for 60 non-consecutive days of service which includes reservists on annual training in Korea.

Exceptions are made for the 30/60 days time requirement if a service member participated in a combat armed engagement, was wounded or injured in the line of duty requiring medical evacuation, or participated as a regularly assigned aircrew member in flying sorties which totaled more than 30 days of duty in Korean airspace. In such cases, the KDSM is authorized regardless of time served in theater.

The Korea Defense Service Medal is retroactive to the end of the Korean War and is granted to any service performed after July 28, 1954. The National Personnel Records Center is responsible for verifying entitlement of the KDSM to discharged members of the military who served in Korea prior to the creation of the KDSM.

As an official Department of Defense exception to policy, service members may be entitled to both the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and the KDSM for participation in operations in Korea during the same timeframe between October 1, 1966 - June 30, 1974.

Only one award of the Korea Defense Service Medal is authorized, regardless of the amount of time served in the Korean theater.


The Korea Defense Service Medal is a bronze medal 1 14 inches (32 mm) in diameter. The obverse bears a Korean "circle dragon", surrounded by a scroll inscribed KOREA DEFENSE SERVICE MEDAL. At the base of the medal are two sprigs, laurel on the left and bamboo on the right. The reverse bears an outline of the Korean Peninsula surmounted by two crossed swords, pointed up. Around the edge is a decorative circlet with five points.[1]

The ribbon for the Korea Defense Service Medal is predominantly green and 1 38 inches (35 mm) wide. In the center is a 14 inch (6.4 mm) ultramarine blue stripe, flanked by 116 inch (1.6 mm) stripes of golden yellow and white, spaced 332 inch (2.4 mm) apart.[1]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Korea Defense Service Medal". http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/. The Institute of Heraldry. Retrieved 28 June 2014. External link in |website= (help)
  2. 578.33 Korea Defense Service Medal
  3. Krupa, Dana. "KDVA Champions". kdvamerica.org. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  4. "Korea Defense Service Medal Meaning and Data from The Institute of Heraldry (US Army)". Retrieved 31 March 2013.

External links

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