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Frequently Asked Questions

Shown below are questions and answers that provide additional information on the Department of Defense 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration Committee and basic information on the Korean War

 
1. Why was the Department of Defense 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration Committee established?
 
The Department of Defense 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration Committee was authorized in the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill & was authorized by Congress to:
  1. Thank and honor Veterans of the Korean War, including members of the Armed Forces who were held as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action, for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States.
  2. Thank and honor the families of Veterans of the Korean War for their sacrifices and contributions, especially families who lost a loved one in the Korean War.
  3. Highlight the service of the Armed Forces during the Korean War and the contribution of Federal agencies and governmental and non-governmental organizations that served with, or in support of, the Armed Forces.
  4. Pay tribute to the sacrifices and contributions made on the home front by the people of the United States during the Korean War.
  5. Provide the people of the United States with a clear understanding and appreciation of the lessons and history of the Korean War.
  6. Highlight the advances in technology, science, and medicine related to military research conducted during the Korean War.
  7. Recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by the allies of the United States during the Korean War.
2. How do I request recovery of military medals? 
 
 
3. How long was the Commemoration Period?
 
The Commemorative period mirrors the years of the Korean War, which took place 1950-1953.  The Committee began operations in 2010 and will continue through September 30, 2013.
 
4. What events has the Committee conducted?
 
During the first two years of commemorative events, the KW60 Committee planned, supported and/or participated in nearly 100 events in the US, and in three allied nations.  Events included panel discussions, parades, wreath-laying ceremonies, ethnic observances (African American, Women, Asian American and Hispanic American) to recognize the contributions of minorities in the Korean War, certificate-presentation ceremonies, VSO conventions and visits to state-operated VA homes in conjunction with our NASDVA partnership. See events.
 
KW60's recent participation in the 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade on January 1, 2013 was also a seminal event for the Committee.  The KW60 float replicated the iconic figures from the National Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC and received the National Trophy for Best Depiction of Life in the United States.  In this Congressionally-designated "Year of the Korean War Veteran," the Committee received nationwide media coverage that served to remind millions of Americans about the war and its sacrifices. 
 
From June 21-25, the Committee will visit the Republic of Korea to participate in commemorations recalling the start of the Korean War on 25 June, 1950.  KW60 representatives will include the Honorary Committee Chairmen Gen(R) Walter L. Sharp, Executive Director Colonel David J. Clark, and Deputy Director Lieutenant Colonel Timothy B. Washington.
 
The Committee's largest event was the "Heroes Remembered" program which was held on July 27, 2013 to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Signing of the Armistice. The event was a great success! About 5,000 people were in attendance. An estimated 1,500 Korean War veterans were honored in person. Speakers included the President of the United States, Barack Obama and Secretary of State, Chuck Hagel. Korean War Veteran service organizations from around the country were represented. Learn more about events held that week.
 
5. How can someone contact the Department of Defense Korean War 60th Anniversary Commemoration Committee?
 
Anyone interested in contacting the Department of Defense Korean War 60th Anniversary Commemoration Committee please visit our Contact Us form.
 
6. Is it possible for a Korean War Veteran to get the Republic of Korea Korean War Service Medal (ROK-KWSM)?
 
Korean War Veterans can request to receive the Republic of Korea Korean War Service Medal (ROK-KWSM) from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) website: http://www.archives.gov/. On the site you can navigate several options such as Researching Records, Veteran’s Service Records, Teacher’s Resources, and Facility Locations. If you need further assistance please call NARA customer support at: 1-866-272-6272.
 
7. Where can I obtain information about a relative of mine who has been missing in action (MIA) from the Korean War?
 
Each military branch (Army, Marine Corps, etc.) has a Casualty Office that maintains information on Veterans who are missing in action (MIA) and also some information on those who were killed in action (KIA). It is best you should contact the respective Service of the Veteran at the numbers shown below.
 
Army: 1-800-892-2490
Navy: 1-800-443-9268
Marine Corps: 1-800-847-1597
Air Force: 1-800-531-5501
 
8. There has been talk of 60th Anniversary of the Korean War public service announcements (PSAs) being made; how and where can we view those?
 
The Committee has produced a number of PSAs that can be viewed here to include Country singing star Lee Greenwood, famed Astronaut and Korean War Veteran, Buzz Aldrin, Medal of Honor Recipients Ron Rosser and Thomas Hudner, along with honorary Chairman GEN (ret.) Walter "Skip" Sharp, and the Committee executive director, COL David J. Clark.
 
9. Why is the Korean War referred to as the “Forgotten War”?
 
The Korean War is often referred to as the “Forgotten War” because historically it has been overshadowed by World War II and the Vietnam War. World War II ended a few years before the Korean War began. The Vietnam War began several years after the Korean War Armistice was signed and lasted approximately 10 years. Veterans of the Korean War have often referred to the Korean War as being a “Forgotten Victory.”
 
Information Provided by Military.com
 
10. Were all services involved in the Korean War?
 
Yes. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines 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.
 
Information Provided by the Korean War 50th Anniversary Commemoration Committee
 
11. What were the casualty figures for each service in theater?
 
Service Total Deaths in Theater: 36,574 Wounded: 103,284
Army: 29,856 77,596
Marine Corps: 4,509 23,744
Navy: 657 1,576
Air Force: 1,552 368
 
Information was provided by the Korean War Educator
 
12. 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 of the United States during the Cold War.
 
The Korea War was also the first war that involved a United Nations coalition being formed to fight. In the years that have followed the Korean War, the United States has continued to support United Nations military efforts, most recently in what are typically referred to as "peace keeping" missions.
 
Information Provided by the Korean War 50th Anniversary Commemoration Committee
 
13. 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.
 
Information Provided by the Korean War 50th Anniversary Commemoration Committee
 
14. 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 Korean War started, manpower shortages plagued all of the U.S. military services. As replacements arrived in Korea, it was administratively and logistically labor intensive to maintain segregation. The prevailing view was a fighting man was a fighting man regardless of race. Desegregation came about because segregation no longer made any sense. In short, integration meant a more effective use of manpower and made meeting the personnel requirements of the war easier, helping to create a more effective fighting force.
 
Information Provided by the Korean War 50th Anniversary Commemoration Committee
 
15. What was the role of female service members during the Korean War?
 
When the Korean War began 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, 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 was 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.
 
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.
 
Information Provided by the Korean War 50th Anniversary Commemoration Committee
 
16. What Nations made up the United Nation's forces in the Korean War?
 
The United Nations sent twenty-one nations including the US to defend South Korea. 15 Nations provided combat forces (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, The United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg, Colombia, Ethiopia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, and South Africa). Five nations provided hospital and ambulance units (Denmark, India, Italy, Norway, and Sweden).
 
Approximately 150,000 foreign servicemen fought, and foreign casualties included 3,360 killed, 11,886 wounded and 1,801 servicemen missing in action. There were 1,376 foreign prisoners of war repatriated to twelve countries in 1953.