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captainofthe7th

ROK Jacket (on eBay) - any thoughts?

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I'm sure some of you have seen this floating on eBay for sometime. It has a big price tag. I've never seen an ROK uniform. I don't know what to think of this one. Can anyone shed some light on it? The ribbon bar is interesting with the US campaign ribbons and two Purple Heart looking ribbons.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/271497541334?_trksid=p2060778.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

I really have no idea what I'm looking at and would like to learn more. It does look like all original insignia, like the seller says, but absolutely original? Or added at a later date? Does anyone have photos or examples like this in their collection?

Thanks,

Rob

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I'm certainly confused by his ribbons. If he is in the ROK forces (as the uniform certainly suggests), why would he put the US ribbons first? Further, unless he was in the US armed forces before / during WW II, how did he become eligible for these ribbons? (Korea was a colony of Japan during this period.). Not impossible, e.g. if he was an ethnic Kprean, served as a US soldier pre-Pearl Harbor, then in the Pacific and Army of Occupation, took a discharge overseas and enlisted in the ROK Army in time for the Korean War.

I wonder if the shield lapel insignia shows that he was a KATUSA (Korean Augmentation to the. US Army). If he had served all that time in the US Army, he'd have the English language qualification.

I recognize many of the ROK ribbons below the top line.

Curious

H

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As pointed out above, already valid concerns,

I'd avoid it just for the price alone, wayyyyyy overpriced :( sad really but he is pricing most of the pieces on the site there at way over dealer pricing.

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It is interesting, but I am concerned about the award order as well. Too many "what ifs."

As a side note, is it possible that a Korean American could have gone back to Korean after WW2 to fight for his home country against the communists?

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i too have seen this and wondered about it-a lot. My gut says its too odd-indeed unique- not to be original and that theres a good and hopefully researchable story behind it.

If this was faked, it would have required minimal research to make it "better". But the 2 purple hearts- out of sequence....but note the old ROK ribbons too.

If I had to guess-ships' cook/ medical ward on US vessel and thence transfer to US army forces in Korea @1947 after US forces there made garrison. Local knowledge and english speakers were rarer than gold and hence the odd, "chronological order" of awards. This guy must've been all over the place as an interpreter.

I have photos of ships crews @1947-48 with Korean and Phillipene sailors who have such ribbon bars-or close thereto.

The Really interesting ribbon is the correct placement of the US red cross service award.

The units represented on that uniform are not obscure.

Edited by Ulsterman

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I'm certainly confused by his ribbons. If he is in the ROK forces (as the uniform certainly suggests), why would he put the US ribbons first? Further, unless he was in the US armed forces before / during WW II, how did he become eligible for these ribbons? (Korea was a colony of Japan during this period.). Not impossible, e.g. if he was an ethnic Kprean, served as a US soldier pre-Pearl Harbor, then in the Pacific and Army of Occupation, took a discharge overseas and enlisted in the ROK Army in time for the Korean War.

I wonder if the shield lapel insignia shows that he was a KATUSA (Korean Augmentation to the. US Army). If he had served all that time in the US Army, he'd have the English language qualification.

I recognize many of the ROK ribbons below the top line.

Curious

H

Not that it makes much difference to our speculation, but I just noticed that the US ribbons show service in the European Theater of Operations (ETO), not the Pacific during WW II. Curiouser and curiouser.

Has anyone run a search in US records for his name? (I don't have the facility)

Hugh

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Are we sure that the two purple ribbons are for the Purple Heart? Also, I would expect that with the discrimination present within America at the time, all folks of "Asian decent" would have been sorta lumped together. I would think that he would have been with the 442nd, which fought in Europe. I can easily see the tailor who made the ribbon bar erroneously(or by design of the US vet who was proud of his US service) instinctively placing the US ribbons over the Korean Ribbons. The American Defense Medal should be the highest ranking of them though.

Do we have anyone here who is familiar with the Korean ribbon combination?

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Are we sure that the two purple ribbons are for the Purple Heart? Also, I would expect that with the discrimination present within America at the time, all folks of "Asian decent" would have been sorta lumped together. I would think that he would have been with the 442nd, which fought in Europe. I can easily see the tailor who made the ribbon bar erroneously(or by design of the US vet who was proud of his US service) instinctively placing the US ribbons over the Korean Ribbons. The American Defense Medal should be the highest ranking of them though.

Do we have anyone here who is familiar with the Korean ribbon combination?

Names are not official, but just a verbal description by my friend.

Here are a few tentative identifications:

Fourth row, second medal. - Recovery from worst year medal 1984 ( year of Park Chung Hee assasination)

Fourth row, 3rd medal - Wound medal, severe wounds

Fifth row, 1st medal, - Korean War commemorative medal

Fifth row, 2nd medal - Wound medal, non severe wounds

Fifth row, 3rd medal - UN Korea medal

Right pocket - ROK Presidential Unit Citation

Best, Hugh

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Names are not official, but just a verbal description by my friend.

Here are a few tentative identifications:

Fourth row, second medal. - Recovery from worst year medal 1984 ( year of Park Chung Hee assasination)

Fourth row, 3rd medal - Wound medal, severe wounds

Fifth row, 1st medal, - Korean War commemorative medal

Fifth row, 2nd medal - Wound medal, non severe wounds

Fifth row, 3rd medal - UN Korea medal

Right pocket - ROK Presidential Unit Citation

Best, Hugh

Some additions using information taken from Don Pfeifer's website home.earthlink.net/~dfifer/index.htm

Second row, 2nd medal - this MAY be the Order of Military Merit, Chungmu

Third row, 2nd ribbon and fourth row, 1st ribbon - Although these appear slightly different, I think they are both the Merit Medal for Defense.

Fourth row, 2nd medal - I have apparently misidentified this. Pfeifer shows it as the Guerilla Warfare Service medal.

There have been several generations of these awards, with different ribbons, so it's hard to get a handle on them. I believe that Don Pfeifer's site shows the current generation.

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Some additions using information taken from Don Pfeifer's website home.earthlink.net/~dfifer/index.htm

Second row, 2nd medal - this MAY be the Order of Military Merit, Chungmu

Third row, 2nd ribbon and fourth row, 1st ribbon - Although these appear slightly different, I think they are both the Merit Medal for Defense.

Fourth row, 2nd medal - I have apparently misidentified this. Pfeifer shows it as the Guerilla Warfare Service medal.

There have been several generations of these awards, with different ribbons, so it's hard to get a handle on them. I believe that Don Pfeifer's site shows the current generation.

in regards to the Chungmu, the ribbon is red, depending on how many stripes are on it, could very well be it, Would be nice to have close ups of the ribbon bar.

Edited by Rogi

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in regards to the Chungmu, the ribbon is red, depending on how many stripes are on it, could very well be it, Would be nice to have close ups of the ribbon bar.

Thanks, Rogi,

When I blow the image up (Control +), I see three white stripes on either side. I MAY be able to get some documentation on ROK ODM from a friend (former US Army Colonel FAO). It'll probabky be in Hangul. Could you help with translation?

Best,

Hugh

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Thanks, Rogi,

When I blow the image up (Control +), I see three white stripes on either side. I MAY be able to get some documentation on ROK ODM from a friend (former US Army Colonel FAO). It'll probabky be in Hangul. Could you help with translation?

Best,

Hugh

Be happy to help with the translation. :) But the ribbons have me thinking a bit, do they all fit the period? I know the Korean orders have had various

changes from the 50s to 60s to late 60s etc, lots of the Order of Military Merit went through ribbon and color changes.

Leaves me with questions, if this is 50s issue of all the orders (with which at least some of the Military Merit should be if the uniform fits the period)

So, could the Order of Military Merit be a Eulji Medal with star (red ribbon at the time with white stripes) and not Chungmu (which would be light blue and white stripes)

One next to it in the same row to the right could be Chungmu (although it does look purple and not light blue)

Edited by Rogi

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Be happy to help with the translation. :) But the ribbons have me thinking a bit, do they all fit the period? I know the Korean orders have had various

changes from the 50s to 60s to late 60s etc, lots of the Order of Military Merit went through ribbon and color changes.

Leaves me with questions, if this is 50s issue of all the orders (with which at least some of the Military Merit should be if the uniform fits the period)

So, could the Order of Military Merit be a Eulji Medal with star (red ribbon at the time with white stripes) and not Chungmu (which would be light blue and white stripes)

One next to it in the same row to the right could be Chungmu (although it does look purple and not light blue)

I agree completely. This appears to be a mixture from various periods. If I remember correctly, the Ulchi should have 4 white stripes on each side, more like the green ribbon to its left. It's also a very high-ranking award for an NCO, even a very senior one. We all know how unfaithful color can be on different monitors, but that purple ribbon on the right seems to be much different from the light blue for Chungmu, and only has two stripes on each side.

Here's my guess: These three ribbons represent the three grades of the Order of Military Merit - Ulchi, Chungmu and Hwarang - but are from a different period than we are familiar with. Seems like a very heavy ribbon bar for a non-officer.

What's your guess on the third row, first and third ribbons?

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I agree completely. This appears to be a mixture from various periods. If I remember correctly, the Ulchi should have 4 white stripes on each side, more like the green ribbon to its left. It's also a very high-ranking award for an NCO, even a very senior one. We all know how unfaithful color can be on different monitors, but that purple ribbon on the right seems to be much different from the light blue for Chungmu, and only has two stripes on each side.

Here's my guess: These three ribbons represent the three grades of the Order of Military Merit - Ulchi, Chungmu and Hwarang - but are from a different period than we are familiar with. Seems like a very heavy ribbon bar for a non-officer.

What's your guess on the third row, first and third ribbons?

There could very well be two reasons,

1. Ribbons aren't in order, any way we try to look at it.

2. Mixed up ribbons from different time periods.

3. We don't have enough info. on all Korean ribbons to find the "right" combination.

I still think it is Eulji (just a small correction, not Ulchi, medal is originally named after 을지문덕)

Here is a link from google's Page, with battle star, it has 3 stripes and is the older (1950s) issue of the medal:

http://www.google.ca/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0CAUQjBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fupload.wikimedia.org%2Fwikipedia%2Fcommons%2F5%2F5b%2FKorean_Ulchi_Medal_with_Silver_Star.jpg&ei=4PWlVNykC8SXyASK34KgAw&psig=AFQjCNFsdN-x5MYGiH1nzDmCj21GpmAHDA&ust=1420248928310769

the later issues of the medal changed to 4 stripes.

I have to agree with you, they look like Eulji, Chungmu and Hwarang, depending on the time period, but if so, why mix them up, and second who was this soldier, Rambo? it seems way too heavy for a NCO :D definatley agree there. Even if we have mistaked these for some other orders, Civillian orders and medals were hard to achieve too.

Then again, it isn't impossible for the Order of Military Merit combinations, just strange how he doesn't receive an officer's rank.

Third row could be pretty much anything from Hwarang (50s version, to Hwarang and some civil medal. Odd combos for sure.

the next row, fourth row, look like US medals to me :S

Edited by Rogi

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Hi Everyone,

I will try to identify the ribbopn rack on this jacket:

ROW1

European-African-Middle East campaign medal(USA)

Army of occupation medal(USA)

American defense medal(USA)

ROW2

Taeguk order of military service (ROK)

Eulji order of military service with silver star (ROK)

Chungmu order of military service (pre 1951 issue)(ROK)

ROW3

Wharang order of military service (pre 1951 issue)(ROK)

Merit medal for defense (ROK)

Wharang order of military service(pre 1951 issue)(ROK)

ROW4

Merit medal for defense (ROK)

Guerilla warfare service medal with munkunghwa leaf for second issue (ROK)

Medal for sevee wounds with 3 munkunghwa leafs for multiple issue (ROK)

ROW5

6.25 incident medal(Korean war medal)(ROK)

Red cross medal(ROK)

United Nations Korean war medal(UN)

It seems a bit overdone for a NCO, and in my opinion it is nearly impossible.

Sampo

Edited by Sampo

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Yup. I agree, BUT...given the scarcity of Koreans who spoke english well before 1946, if this guy had the language skills, it (the WO/NCO) would make sense. I assumed a staff interpreter raised in a Mission school orphenage and maybe in the USN. Lots of navy cooks and other 'support' personnel were Asian (esp. Phillipeno).

The worst year medal was awarded liberally and we know it was given to lots of local politicians and others in prominent positions.

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Very interesting discussion, guys...thank you so much for continuing to look at this piece and talk about it.  It seems like we cannot be totally sure about the legitimacy of this piece?  It certainly does not seem it should be worth the asking price.  Perhaps if it was ID'd, maybe?

 

I think on a US uniform, a custom tailored rack like this would be hard to argue against, even with unusual and or out of order awards.  This example, however, comes from a place where I am sure it is very feasible to create such an assembly and our references are not as detailed as we might desire.

 

Ulsterman gives it some hope, though.  So curious!

 

Rob

Edited by captainofthe7th

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If it was diwn to choice I would pass on most of his Korean Military Merit orders are higher class and he would either have to be a NCO involved in Heavy combat + distinguishing himself in it.

I ran his name and will do it again but If it is legit he isnt well known whixh is unusual given the class of orders there.

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Despite the questions, I like the set.  I can definitely see a Korean-American fight with the US 442nd in Europe, then answer the call back "home" once the Communists threatened his family back home.  There is nothing that really stands out as wrong... after all, there is not much of a following for Korean militaria.  And, someone who went through all of the effort to put all of this together would have gotten the ribbons in order, as that is an obvious ?.   

 

Regardless, I would love to have it, but not for the price being asked.

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I have some hope, but also doubts. It could be a junk shop put together piece easily and barely worth the sum of its parts, but the medal and insignia story are so unusual, they almost make sense. In the early days of the ROK higher awards were given out more freely than later. One of the cardinal rules for medal awards is-the closer you ate to a General, esp. a Staff General, the more likely you are to get a gong. How to make sense of the WW2 US ribbons on an ROK jacket? Such things did happen, but rarely and hint at English proficiency. Korea at the time was a an unhappy province of Japan and poorer than Ethiopia (and would remain that poor until the mid 1960s).. However a lot of Koreans got out of Korea via the navy/ merchant marines. By "many" I mean a few thousand or more at best. Itd be interesting to see if this name popped up in a GHQ staff list some where.

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Keep in mind that the entire field of ROKorean collecting is almost unknown, despite the ROKs' economic power. Most Americans have no idea how truly efficient the ROK troops were in Vietnam and also later ROK efforts via the UN and as US allies. The language barrier and lack of references in English is huge. So, the more obscure the more likely a piece is to be either real or a junk shop made up piece. I myself just discovered Im due an ROK medal! My second foreign award.

Edited by Ulsterman

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Keep in mind that the entire field of ROKorean collecting is almost unknown, despite the ROKs' economic power. Most Americans have no idea how truly efficient the ROK troops were in Vietnam and also later ROK efforts via the UN and as US allies. The language barrier and lack of references in English is huge. So, the more obscure the more likely a piece is to be either real or a junk shop made up piece. I myself just discovered Im due an ROK medal! My second foreign award.

Very cool Ulsterman :) show us the ROK medal when it arrives please :)

As for the jacket, usually multiple military order recipients are occasionally online, this man from his name tag : his name looks like ê¹€íƒœì„ which should read,

Kim Tae Eul (family name comes first in Korea), although his jacket reads T. Y. Kim (which it corresponds, the Y can sometimes be mistranslated in English)It could also mean he spelled his name in English as Tae Yeul Kim (there are a couple possible variants on the Yeul that could be applicable, but going from the tag example)

I've found someone with the same name, being recognized in 2007, he was a martyr for the independence movement, since it is a fairly common last name (Kim) it will be hard to track him, I don't believe this is our ID on the jacket, but since we have the name, more people can search :) Sorry for the delay in translating :D was a bit busy :)

From Korean Veteran's affairs site:

http://english.mpva.go.kr/basic/notice/view.asp?sgrp=&siteCmsCd=&topCmsCd=CM0025&cmsCd=CM0039&ntNo=120&pnum=1&cnum=0

Kim Tae-eul (March 1 Movement)

Edited by Rogi

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