Year of the Korean War Veteran

Korean War Poster3 8x10

The Department of Defense 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration Committee, authorized in the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill, is dedicated to thanking and honoring all the Veterans of the Korean War, their families and especially those who lost loved ones in that war. Through 2013, the Committee will honor the service and sacrifice of Korean War Veterans, commemorate the key events of the war, and educate Americans of all ages about the historical significance of the Korean War.

The Korean War was the first test of the United Nations’ resolve to stand against tyranny in all its forms. Twenty nations banded together with the United States and South Korea in a remarkable display of solidarity to turn back naked aggression and stem the tide of communism. The Armistice signed in 1953 that remains in effect today reminds us that we must remain vigilant against the forces of tyranny and oppression.

The Korean War also saw the advent of aeronautical, medical and societal change: Helicopters were introduced to transport casualties to field hospital. Jets became the new “standard” for aircraft; leading-edge radio technology allowed better coordination of troop movements. Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals (MASH) units placed experienced medical personnel closer to the front, improving a wounded Soldier’s chance for survival. Perhaps the most lasting impact of the Korean War was the social change that was manifested to American society. In 1948, President Harry S. Truman had signed Executive Order 9981, implementing the full integration of America’s Armed Services. Thus, America went to war in Korea for the first time in her history with a military that reflected her diversity.

The selfless sacrifices of the Veterans who fought in Korea to ensure the freedom and prosperity we enjoy today must always be remembered. The Veterans who shivered in the trenches, tracked through knee-deep mud, flew combat missions over rugged mountainous terrain, and stood watch over hostile seas set aside their own comfort, safety and aspirations to answer the call to arms at a time when our nation was still exhausted from the horrors of World War II. These patriots halted the tide of communism that threatened to sweep over the Korean peninsula. Today the Republic of Korea stands as a modern, prosperous, vibrant democracy because of their courage and selfless sacrifice.

Check out a sample of iconic images from the Korean War below:


Fighting with the 2nd Inf. Div. north of the Chongchon River, Sfc. Major Cleveland, weapons squad leader, points out communist-led North Korean position to his machine gun crew. November 20, 1950. Pfc. James Cox. (Army)


Infantrymen of the 27th Infantry Regiment, near Heartbreak Ridge, take advantage of cover and concealment in tunnel positions, 40 yards from the Communists. August 10, 1952. Feldman. (Army)


Paratroopers of the 187th RCT (Regimental Combat Team) float earthward from C-119′s to cut off retreating enemy units south of Munsan, Korea. March 23, 1951. Cpl. P. T. Turner. (Army)


A grief stricken American infantryman whose buddy has been killed in action is comforted by another soldier. In the background a corpsman methodically fills out casualty tags, Haktong-ni area, Korea. August 28, 1950. Sfc. Al Chang. (Army)

Chaplain Emil Kapaun

Capt. Emil Kapaun (right), former chaplain with Headquarters Company, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, helps another soldier carry an exhausted troop off the battlefield early in the Korean War. Chaplain Kapaun was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on April 11, 2013.

For more information on the 60th anniversary of the Korean War and upcoming events, visit:

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Year of the Korean War Veteran