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   Korean Defense Service Medal
Service: ALL
Instituted: February 2004
Authorized: DOD 1348-33-M
Issuing Country: ( KR ) - KOREA, REPUBLIC OF
Korean Defense Service Medal
Back of Medal
  1. The Korea Defense Service Medal (KDSM) is authorized to members of the Armed Forces who have served on active duty in support of the defense of the Republic of Korea from 28 July 1954 to a date to be determined. The area of eligibility encompasses all land area of the Republic of Korea, and the contiguous water out to 12 nautical miles, and all air spaces above the land and water areas.
  2. Criteria: Service members must have been assigned, attached or mobilized to units operating in the area of eligibility for 30 consecutive or 60 nonconsecutive days, or meet the following criteria:
  • a. Be engaged in combat during an armed engagement, regardless of the time in the area of eligibility.
  • b. Is wounded or injured in the line of duty and requires medical evacuation from the area of eligibility.
  • c. While participating as a regularly assigned air crewmember flying sorties into, out of, or within the area of eligibility in direct support of military operations. Each day that one or more sorties are flown in accordance with these criteria shall count as one day toward the 30 to 60 day requirement.
  • d. Personnel who serve in operations and exercises conducted in the area of eligibility are considered eligible for the award as long as the basic time criteria is met. Due to extensive time period for KDSM eligibility, the nonconsecutive service period for eligibility remains cumulative throughout the entire period.
  • e. The KDSM may be awarded posthumously to any soldier who lost his/her life without regard to length of such service. Only one award of the KDSM is authorized for any individual.


The Department of Defense approved the Korean Defense Service Medal (KDSM) in February 2004 to be given as recognition for military service in the Republic of Korea and the surrounding waters after 28 July 1954 and ending on such a future date as determined by the Secretary of Defense.

The KDSM shall be positioned above the Armed Forces Service Medal. Only one award of the KDSM is authorized for any individual, regardless of the number of days over 30 (or 60), tours, TDYs, or deployments served in the areas of eligibility.