SEOUL, South Korea Delivers Long-Pending Military Medal to Late U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur

SEOUL, South Korea — In a significant posthumous honor, South Korea has bestowed a state military medal to the late U.S. General Douglas MacArthur, 74 years after the initial decision to confer the decoration. This announcement was made by the South Korean defense ministry on Saturday. The award recognizes General MacArthur's leadership during the Korean War, particularly his role in leading United Nations troops against North Korean forces from 1950 to 1953.

According to Yonhap News Agency, General MacArthur, who served as the first commander of the U.N. Command, was awarded the First Class Order of Military Merit on September 29, 1950, by then South Korean President Rhee Syng-man. This was shortly after the recapture of Seoul from North Korean forces by South Korean and U.S.-led U.N. troops earlier that month. Although the promise to bestow the medal was made at that time, it was not fulfilled due to an oversight. The ministry revealed that the lapse was discovered only recently after being brought to light by a citizen interested in Korean War medals.

The ceremony to finally deliver the medal, now named the Taegeuk Order of Military Merit, took place on Friday (local time) at the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, Virginia. The event was attended by Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander. The ministry further shared that Arthur MacArthur IV, General MacArthur's son, sent a letter expressing gratitude to South Korea. In his letter, he remarked that the award is a "testament" to his father's legacy and an honor that "forever binds him to the people of Korea."

General MacArthur and his wife, Jean MacArthur, are buried at the memorial in Norfolk. The general is notably remembered for his strategic leadership during the Korean War, including the pivotal amphibious landing at Incheon, just west of Seoul, in September 1950. This operation significantly contributed to the recapture of Seoul. The Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953, ended in a cease-fire and not a peace treaty, leaving the two Koreas technically at war.

scroll to top