The DMZ War

1953 to Today

Could US POWs Be Alive in North Korea? Check Out Our Book

Are quantities limited? "No" for the KDSM but "yes" for the Cold War Certificate. We couldn't get an estimate from the Army of how many they have left, but we confirmed that once the current certificates are gone, they're gone.
How long does it take? That depends on workload and other issues. Please drop The DMZ War an email and tell us how long it took for you so we can update other veterans and families.
Does it cost anything? No (aside from a stamp and your time to find and fill out the documents). You or your loved one "earned" this by service to country.
What is this Web site and why are you providing this information? The DMZ War is a news and information Web site about the mission to secure the Korean Demilitarized Zone from 1953 until today. When we went to get our KDSM and Cold War Recognition Certificate we found the official information dispersed and confusing. This page is simply designed to make it easier for you by putting everything in one place and explaining it in simple English.

You Can Get 5-Point Veteran's Preference for the KDSM

"The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) would like to remind Federal agencies that anyone in receipt of the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (for service in Operation Enduring Freedom), Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Medal, or the Korea Defense Service Medal is entitled to veterans' preference if otherwise eligible.

Veterans' preference is authorized under 5 U.S.C. 2108 for individuals who served on active duty, under honorable conditions in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized. Any Armed Forces Expeditionary medal or campaign badge qualifies for preference. Medal holders must have served continuously for 24 months or the full period called or ordered to active duty.

Employees who wish to claim veterans' preference or service credit based on receipt of these medals should submit official documentation showing the award of the appropriate medal to their Human Resources Office.

OPM has updated Appendix A of VetGuide ( accordingly, to ensure human resources specialists have the most current veterans guidance available:" US Office of Personnel Management

See the page here

Korea Defense Service Medal (KDSM)

The Korea Defense Service Medal (KDSM) was authorized by Section 543, National Defense Authorization Act, 2003. It is authorized for award to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who have served on active duty in support of the defense of the Republic of Korea.


Its symbolism:

Obverse:The four-clawed dragon is a traditional symbol of Korea and represents intelligence and strength of purpose. The sprig of laurel denotes honorable endeavor and victory, the bamboo refers to the land of Korea.

Reverse: The swords placed saltirewise over a map of Korea signify defense of freedom in that country and the readiness to engage in combat to that end. The circlet enclosing the device recalls the form of five-petal symbols common in Korean armory.

(Easy Steps to Get the KDSM and Cold War Recognition Certificate Here)



Got More Questions or Want to Follow Up?

Visit the Military Web pages
Notice: When The DMZ War visits the sites below, we sometimes get a security warning on our browser. But these are the official Army and Air Force sites. It appears the military does not have some sort of certificate your browser may want.
 Learn the Meaning of the KDSM, Click Here