The Republic of Korea War Service Medal was introduced by South Korea in 1951 to recognise the assistance provided by members of the United Nations forces in combatting communist aggressions in Korea. During the Korean War, Australia used the Imperial Honours and Awards System and was therefore subject to the award policies set by the United Kingdom at the time. The regulations of the day did not permit the acceptance or wearing of this medal by British Commonwealth military personnel.
Following a campaign by the Australian Council of Korea Veterans Associations, a new offer of the medal was made by the South Korean government which was accepted, and approved for wear, by the Governor-General in 2017.
Veterans who have been awarded with the Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 with Clasp KOREA are also eligible for the Republic of Korea War Service medal. The eligibility criteria, as directed by the Republic of Korea, is as follows:
- Served between 25 June 1950 and 27 July 1953
- The service prescribed must have been performed:
- While on permanent assignment; or
- While on temporary duty within the territorial limits of Korea or on waters immediately adjacent thereto for 30 consecutive days or 60 days not consecutive; or
- While as crew members of aircraft in aerial flight over Korea participating in actual combat operations or in support of combat operations.