Korea Defense Service Medal CHANGED

Korea Defense Service Medal Changes

The Institute of Heraldry has changed the specifications for the Korea Defense Service Medal. At first glance, you might not notice the change, but the new military medals being manufactured have a slightly different look and the word medal has been removed from the front of the medallion. The Korean Defense Service Medal was instituted in 2003 for service in South Korea and the adjoining waters from 1954 until a date to be determined in the future. The change to the Korea Defense Service Medal is one of 4 medals that the Institution of Heraldry has made minor modifications to and removed the word “Medal” from. The original medal is still authorized for wear and may still be issued as long as they are in the supply system. Not surprisingly, many veterans prefer the original medal that was being issued when they served in the Republic of Korea.

The medal is a circular bronze disc bearing a Korean circle dragon within an encircling scroll inscribed, “KOREA DEFENSE SERVICE ” with two sprigs, laurel on the right side, bamboo on the left. Before the change, the encircling scroll read; “KOREA DEFENSE SERVICE MEDAL

Korea Defense Service Medal – Symbolism

The Symbolism of the medal: The four-clawed dragon is a traditional symbol of Korea and represents intelligence and strength of purpose. The sprig of laurel denotes honorable endeavor and victory, the bamboo refers to the land of Korea. The medal’s reverse displays a representation of the land mass of Korea surmounted by two crossed military swords points up within a circlet garnished of five points.

The swords placed over a map of Korea signify defense of freedom in that country and the readiness to engage in combat to defend that freedom. The circlet enclosing the device recalls the forms of five-petal symbols common in Korean armory.

The ribbon is dark green, representing the land of Korea, blue indicates overseas service and commitment to achieving peace. Gold denotes excellence, white symbolizes idealism and integrity. Light blue with a thin white stripe in the center and narrow white stripes at the edges.

The Korea Defense Service Medal is worn after the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and before the Armed Forces Service Medal. Wearing of either the old medal or the new is authorized. The ribbon did not change.

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