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Korean Order of Military Merit


stratasfan
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stratasfan

KOREAN ORDER OF MILITARY MERIT:

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Korean Order of Military Merit, Chung Mu Class (Sometimes written as "Chungmu" or "Chung-Mu")

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This is an order for military merit that ranks below the Ulchi and Taeguk, but above the Wharang medal.

 

RIBBON:

The ribbon is 1 3/8 inches wide and consists of a blue or bluish grey background with a Korean blue and red ying-yang in the center (either printed or embroidered). The ying and yang is flanked on each side by two white stripes.

 

CRITERIA:

It is the third highest decoration awarded by the Republic of Korea for military merit.

 

This decoration is commonly listed among the awards for high ranking American officers of all service branches involved in the Korean War and Vietnam War.

 

The decoration is primarily given out to for command leadership roles involving extreme resistance to the Chinese Army and continuous loyalty to the U.S. military and the preservation of South Korea. The award is known to have been bestowed upon American prisioners of war who continuously refused to give in to Chinese interrogations.

 

South Korean Minister of National Defense often presented the decoration during a ceremony.

 

DESIGNS & HISTORY:

The "Chung Mu" class is named after Admiral Yi Sun-Sin of the Joseon Dynasty, who was given the name "chung-mu" which means loyalty and chivalry. This Korean admiral is the reputed inventor of the first armored battleship (called a Turle Ship) in 1592. These ships are believed to be the forerunners of today's modern submarine.

 

Today the decoration includes a medal worn on a neck ribbon and ribbon bar. The ribbon bar is slightly different today from the modern decoration. It is believed the change in design occurred sometime during the 1960s (perhaps in 1961).

 

August 1951 Series:

 

MODERN EXAMPLE:

(Note change in ribbon and medal design)

 

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For more pictures and details, take a look at Korean Medal - Order of Military Merit

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stratasfan

Korean Order of Military Merit, Ulchi Class (Somes written as "Eulji")

 

It is the second highest military decoration for the Republic of Korea. This order for military merit ranks below the Taeguk, but above the Chung Mu, Wharang, and Inhun medals.

 

RIBBON:

The ribbon is 1 3/8 inches wide and consists of a light pink, pink, pinkish orange, or orange background with a Korean blue and red ying-yang in the center (either printed or embroidered). The ying and yang is flanked on each side by three white stripes.

 

 

CRITERIA:

It is the second highest decoration awarded by the Republic of Korea for military merit.

 

This decoration is commonly listed among the awards for high ranking American officers of all service branches involved in the Korean War and Vietnam War.

 

The decoration is primiarly given out to high ranking officers (normally Navy Captains or Air Force, Army, or Marine Colonels or higher) in divisional, army, or command level leadership roles of officers. And, it is given only to leaders of units who demonstrated extreme resistance to the Chinese Army and continuous loyalty to the U.S. military and the preservation of South Korea.

 

South Korean Minister of National Defense often presented the decoration during a ceremony.

 

 

DESIGNS & HISTORY:

The "Ulchi" is named after 7th century Korean military leader, Eulji Mundeok (also written Ulchi Mundok), from the Goguryeo kingdom in Korea. Eulji Mundeok led a vastly outnumbered Goguryeo force to victory by defeating and then pushing back the Sui Chinese out of the Goguryeo kingdom.

 

Today the decoration includes a medal worn on a neck ribbon and ribbon bar. The ribbon bar is slightly different today, as you can see below, from the modern decoration. It is believed the change in design occurred sometime during the 1960s (perhaps in 1961).

 

Historical information on the Uchi:

 

  • 1950 created as Order of Military Merit 2nd class as a breast medal
  • 1950 divided into three grades with gold star, silver star and no star
  • 1951 ribbon colors were changed
  • 1951 redesigned planchet and renamed the Order of Military Merit Ulchi Class
  • 1963 redesigned planchet and suspended from a cravat, the gold, silver and no star grade system is dropped
  • 1967 redesigned planchet
  • 1973 redesigned planchet
  • 1985 planchet size change

 

 

Photo courtesy of @austin_militaria:

2nd Class Awarded to Colonel Joseph B. McShane, USAF. Awarded during his Korean War Service. He also served with the 36th Division during WWII, then switched to the USAF in 1947.

 

post-2578-0-64980600-1401225840.jpg

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stratasfan

Korean Order of Military Merit, Wharang Class (Often written as "Hwarang")

 

DESCRIPTION:

This is an order for military merit that ranks below the Chung Mu, Ulchi, and Taeguk.

 

RIBBON:

The ribbon is 1 3/8 inches wide and consists of an orange background with a Korean blue and red ying-yang in the center (either printed or embroidered). The ying and yang is flanked on each side by one white stripe.

 

CRITERIA:

It is the forth highest decoration awarded by the Republic of Korea for military merit.

 

Unlike many other Korean government valor decorations that are bestowed upon high ranking military officials, this decoration is commonly bestowed upon low ranking officer and enlisted personnel of all service branches for combat valor during the Korean War and Vietnam War. Primiarly it goes to individuals serving with groups/units who fought closely with Korean forces in battle. And, the criteria for the decoration closely follows the criteria for the U.S. Silver Star, Distinguish Service Cross, or Navy Cross.

 

South Korean Minister of National Defense often presented the decoration during a ceremony.

 

DESIGNS & HISTORY:

The "Hwarang" class is named after the "Hwarang" who were an elite group of young male warriors from the Korean kingdom of Silla. These units existed until approximately the 10th century. When translated literally, "hwarang" means "flower youths" or "flower knights."

 

Today the decoration includes a medal worn on a neck ribbon and ribbon bar.

 

Citation:

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http://www.wvculture.org/hiStory/wvmemory/vets/elwell/elwell6.jpg

 

 

Additional info and picture courtesy of @wailuna:

 

This USAF Master Sergeant appears to be wearing the ribbon bar for the ROK Order of Military Merit Whrang class (first ribbon, bottom row). He served in Korea almost continuously from August 1950 until January 1956 as a participant in various intelligence operations. A ROK Air Force citation in his records reads in part: "...during this period [November 1953 to August 1955], you furnished invaluable guidance and assistance to Kyodong-do detachment, Special Activities Unit, ROK Air Force in establishing facilities for training of agents and collecting intelligence information through sensitive operations...[as] Commander of the spearhead detachment, which is of the most importance for the special intelligence activities, you distinguished yourself..." signed by Lt. Gen. Kim chung yul, ROKAF Chief of Staff, October 5, 1955. (Note: Kyodong-do is an island in Han River estuary just south of DMZ). Photo dates to about 1960.

 

post-1963-1203904354.jpg

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stratasfan

Korean Order of Military Merit, Taeguk Class (Somes written as "Taegeug")

 

DESCRIPTION:

It is the highest decoration awarded by the Republic of Korea for military merit. It is basically the Republic of Korea's Medal of Honor.

 

RIBBON:

The ribbon is 1 3/8 inches wide and consists of a light blue or bluish teal background with a Korean blue and red ying-yang in the center (either printed or embroidered). The ying and yang is flanked on each side by four white stripes.

 

CRITERIA:

This decoration is commonly listed among the awards for high ranking American officers of all service branches (normally Colonels, Captains, and all levels of generals and admirals) involved in the Korean War and Vietnam War.

 

The decoration is primarily given out to for command leadership roles of entire divisions or commands that aided Korean troops to withstand attack by enemy troops.

 

South Korean Minister of National Defense often presented the decoration during a ceremony.

 

DESIGNS & HISTORY:

The "'Taeguk" class is named after the term used to describe the blue and red ying-yang from Korea.

 

Today the decoration includes a medal worn on a sash ribbon and ribbon bar.

 

Here is a ribbon in use, courtesy of @CNY Militaria - Uniform of MG Martin Morin:

 

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