REPUBLIC OF KOREA PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION

All five branches of the Armed Forces of the United States authorize their personnel to receive the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation (RoK PUC), but regulations regarding wear and eligibility vary between them. The award has been stricken from the latest update Volume 3 of the Department of Defense’s Manual of Military Decorations and Awards; previously, the manual specified that the decoration was authorized for all military departments for service in Korea from June 27, 1950 to July 27, 1953.

In AR 600-8-22, Military Awards, temporary wear of the RoK PUC is permitted only while assigned to units in Korea. Furthermore, a note on the medal appended to Table E-1, Foreign Decorations, states that the award may be accepted and retained, but is not allowed to be worn on the U.S. Army uniform (except as noted above). No member of the Army is allowed to wear more than one RoK PUC, and no devices such as oak-leaf cluster or service stars are authorized to indicate more than one instance of the award.

For the Navy and Marine Corps, only members of units designated by the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant Marine Corps that took part in certain operations are eligible to wear the award. Like the Army, the Navy doesn’t authorize service stars for additional instances of earning the award, but is silent on wearing more than one (the Air Force allows only one to be worn regardless of how many a unit might have received). The RoK PUC is one of just seven non-U.S. unit awards authorized for U.S. Coast Guard wear.

The RoK PUC is understandably associated with the actions in Korea between 1950 and 1953, but it has been awarded to units at various points since that time. Air Force regulations, for example, refer to the award being issued to “certain units of the Armed Forces of the United States participating in disaster relief operations in 1972.” The Commander, U.S. Marine Corps received the honor for service performed between December 9, 1999 and April 24, 2002. Other units that were awarded the medal for service not related to the Korean War include the 7th Infantry Division in 2011, the 7th Air Force in 2013, and the 8th Army in 2014. The latter received the honor in recognition of service performed over the previous year in the defense of the country.
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