1. Description: A Bronze medal 1 3/8 inches (3.49 cm) in diameter bearing a Korean “circle
dragon” within an encircling scroll inscribed “KOREA DEFENSE SERVICE MEDAL” with, in base, two sprigs, laurel
to dexter side, bamboo in sinister. On the reverse, is a representation of the land mass of Korea surmounted by two swords
points up saltirewise within a circlet garnished of five points.
Obverse: 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.
Reverse: The swords placed saltirewise over a map of Korea signify defense of freedom in that
country and the readiness to engage in combat to that end. The circlet enclosing the device recalls the form of five-petal
symbols common in Korean armory.
3. Ribbon: The ribbon is 1 3/8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes: 1/4
inch Green 67129; 1/16 inch White 67101; 3/32 inch Green 67129; 1/16 inch Golden Yellow 67104; 3/32 inch Green 67129; center
1/4 inch Ultramarine Blue 67118; 3/32 inch Green 67129; 1/16 inch Golden Yellow 67104; 3/32 inch Green 67129; 1/16 inch White
67101; 1/4 inch Green 67129.
4. Requirements: 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.
5. 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.
6. Components: The following are authorized components and related items:
a. Medal (regular size): MIL-DTL-3943/311. NSN 8455-01-512-7138 for set which includes regular size
medal and ribbon bar.
b. Medal (miniature size): MIL-DTL-3943/311. Available
c. Ribbon: MIL-DTL-11589/585. Available commercially.
d. Lapel Button (ribbon replica): MIL-DTL-11484/299.
a. Congress ordered the creation of the medal in Section
543 of the 2003 Defense Authorization Act, which President Bush signed into law on 2 December 2002 (Public Law 107-314). The
Institute was asked to provide proposed designs which were forwarded to OSD on 21 February 2003. The medal selected on 3 March
2003, was designed by Mr. John Sproston.
b. In order of precedence the KDSM will be worn below the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal (GWOTSM)
and above the Armed Forces Service Medal (AFSM).
c. Effective 3 February 2004, the Overseas Service Ribbon (OSR) is no longer authorized for overseas
tours in the Republic of Korea.
d. Order of precedence and wear policy for service medals awarded to Army personnel is contained in
Army Regulation (AR) 670-1. Policy for awards, approving authority and supply of medals is contained in AR 600-8-22.