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Korean War veterans may be eligible for medals for serving

Korean War veterans have the opportunity to receive Ambassador of Peace medals from the South Korean government for their service during the war. A ceremony honoring the veterans is scheduled for early 2019 and will be held in Montgomery.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5377 Post Surgeon Phillip Spence said veterans will need to be verified before receiving the medal in order to prevent cases of stolen valor. Spence said to contact the Public Information office of the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs and provide the necessary information in order to request a medal.

“It’s historical … and so unique. This is 68 years after the shooting started,” Spence said.

He also said that information to have prepared for the Alabama Veterans Affair office includes name, social security or serial number, date of birth, years served in the war, location during the war, rank at the time, unit at the time and any medals issued during the conflict. Spence said any additional evidence will be helpful in verifying service.

He recommended requesting the medal as soon as possible. Spence said a veteran will ideally have a DD Form 214, which will contain most of the information necessary for verification.

“That is really a big step right there because that almost takes everything else out of the picture.”

Spence warned that some official records may have been destroyed, but there are other means to provide proof of service during the Korean War. Military pay statement, military pay stubs and any other confirming details can also help in verifying service.

For more information, contact the Belinda Bazinet at the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs at 334-242-5084. Bazinet said relatives of deceased veterans can call to discuss the medal being awarded posthumously.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, June 30 issue of the Demopolis Times.)