"They called it a 'conflict,'" recalled Ted Armes of Sikeston.
Inspired by the success of the Missouri World War II Veterans' Award Recognition Program, state legislators have now decided to recognize Missourians who served in the armed forces during the Korean War with a medal, medallion and certificate.
Created last fall through legislation sponsored by state Sen. Sarah Steelman, the Korean War Medallion Program will recognize those who served on active duty in a U.S. military force any time during the period of June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955.
The Missouri National Guard began accepting applications from Missouri Korean War veterans for the program Jan. 1 and will continue to accept them until Jan. 1, 2005.
"I've got the paperwork," Armes said. "I served in the Korean War from the day it started and was still in when it ended."
A Navy medic during World War II, Armes spent 15 months on Okinawa with the occupation force.
Upon being discharged, Armes returned home and attended college for two years before deciding to re-enlist, this time with the Army. "I needed some income," he explained.
In early 1952, Armes shipped out for the Far East again and was stationed on the island of Honshu, Japan's largest island, where he was assigned to work at a headquarters facility.
"I never got anything for being in Korea; I never went into Korea proper," Armes said. "They said you had to be on the front lines."
The medal will be a nice addition to Armes' uniform, which he uses to display awards from his entire military career. "There's not much room left on there but it can be worked out," he said.
The Missouri Veterans Commission and the Missouri National Guard will be announcing the design for the Korean War medallion and medal soon. The medals are slated to be minted and available for distribution in March.
Armes applied for the World War II Veterans Service Medal Oct. 19, 2001, and received it during a presentation ceremony along with other recipients. "I went over to Dexter and they handed them out to us," he recalled.
Missouri World War II veterans still have until July 1 to apply for the World War II program, Armes said.
The National Guard reports that over 41,600 Missouri veterans have been recognized for their World War II service so far.
Information required for both the Korean War and World War II application forms include: current address, serial number, branch of service, rank, unit, and dates of service. Veterans will also need to submit a copy of Record of Discharge, Separation from Service or Department of Defense Form 214 as military service documentation.
To be eligible, applicants must have been honorably separated or discharged from military service unless they are still in active service in an honorable status, according to the legislation.
As with other awards, spouses or the eldest living survivor of deceased veterans may also apply for and receive the medals.
Applications and a complete list of requirements for the awards are available on the Missouri National Guard Website at www.moguard.com, by telephone toll-free at 866-834-3431, or by mail at: Office of the Adjutant General, Attn: Korean War or WWII Awards, P.O. Box 1808, Jefferson City, MO 65102.
Veterans may also contact their local Missouri Veterans Commission office for information.