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United Nations Service Medal for Korea
Korea Medaille van de Verenigde Naties.jpg
United Nations Service Medal for Korea Ribbon.svg
medal (top)
Service ribbon (bottom)
Awarded by United Nations United Nations
Type Campaign medal
Eligibility All United Nations forces.
Awarded for Campaign service.
Campaign Korean War 1950–53.
Description Bronze disk, 35mm diameter.
Clasps None
Established 12 December 1950[1]
Related Republic of Korea War Service Medal
Korea Medal (British Commonwealth)
Korean Service Medal (United States)

The United Nations Service Medal for Korea (UNKM) is an international military decoration which was established by the United Nations on December 12, 1950. The decoration was the first international award ever created by the United Nations and recognized the multi-national defense forces which participated in the Korean War.


The United Nations Service Medal is awarded to any military service member, of an Armed Force allied with South Korea, who participated in the defense of South Korea from North Korea between the dates of June 27, 1950 and July 27, 1954. The military forces of the Netherlands are awarded the medal for service to January 1, 1955, while the armed forces of Thailand and Sweden grant the award to July 27, 1955.[1]

The ultimate award authority of the United Nations Service Medal is United Nations Commander-in-Chief of military forces in Korea.[1] Most countries consider the United Nations Service Medal an automatic decoration, if some other Korean service award was bestowed, and generally award the medal without requesting permission through United Nations channels. For instance, in the United States Armed Forces, any service member awarded the Korean Service Medal is automatically granted the United Nations Service Medal.

Medal name

On November 22, 1961, the United Nations officially changed the name of the United Nations Service Medal to the United Nations Service Medal Korea. This was as a prelude to the creation of a large number of subsequent United Nations medals which are awarded for various operations around the world.

  • The United States and some other countries continue to refer to the medal as the United Nations Service Medal in an effort to maintain consistency with past military files referring to the medal by its original name.


The UN Korea Medal is a circular medal of bronze alloy. The obverse depicts the ‘World-in-a Wreath' emblem of the United Nations. The reverse has the inscription: FOR SERVICE IN DEFENSE OF THE PRINCIPLES OF THE CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS. The inscription may be in any one of the following languages: Amharic, Dutch, English, French, Greek, Italian, Korean, Spanish, Thai or Turkish. The medal hands from a claw attachment on a straight bar suspension. Each medal is worn with a medal bar bearing the inscription KOREA in the same language as the reverse inscription.[2] The medal's ribbon made up of equal stripes of United Nations Blue (Bluebird 67117) and white, 9 blue and 8 white, each 564 inch (2.0 mm) wide.[3]

See also


External links

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