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Brookhaven man receives medal for Korean service

A Brookhaven man was recognized by a foreign government recentlyfor sacrifices he made on its behalf 50 years ago.

McKinley Campau of Brookhaven served in the U.S. Navy from1950-1955 aboard the Destroyer Escort U.S.S. Sproston with 34months of service overseas in Korea.

This month he received a Korean Service Medal issued by theKorean government and a letter of appreciation from Kim Dae-jung,president of the Republic of Korea.

“On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of theKorean War, I would like to offer you my deepest gratitude for yournoble contribution to the efforts to safeguard the Republic ofKorea and uphold liberal democracy around the world. At the sametime, I remember with endless respect and affection those whosacrificed their lives for that cause,” Dae-jung writes.

“We Koreans hold dear in our hearts the conviction, courage andspirit of sacrifice shown to us by such selfless friends as you,who enabled us to remain a free democratic nation,” he added.

Campau said he felt extremely proud of the medal and it helpedhim to appreciate the Korean people more.

“The letter they sent really helped me by showing theirappreciation of our commitment,” he said. “I know now how they feltabout our presence there.”

This was not the first time the ROK had issued the medal,according The American Legion magazine published in August 2000,where Campau found the information to obtain the medal.

“The medal was originally offered by the ROK in 1951, but at thetime U.S. law prohibited American military personnel from wearingmedals issued by foreign governments,” the article states.

That law was changed in 1954, but by then most servicemen hadleft the theater of operations and returned home.

Campau said he wanted other Korean veterans to know the medalhad been reissued.

“As a tribute to all veterans of this area, I thought it wouldbe appreciated,” he said. “The Koreans really appreciated ourpresence over there” and reissuing the medal was one way they hadof showing it.

To be eligible for the medal, a veteran must have served in theKorean theater between June 25, 1950, and July 27, 1953, in actualcombat operations or in support of the same “in the waters, skiesor territories”of Korea.

For more information on how to obtain the medal, call the AirForce Personnel Center at (800) 558-1404 or the Awards andDecorations Section at (210) 565-2432 or by writing to HQAFPC/DPP-PRA, 550 C Street West, Suite 12, Randolph Air Force Base,Texas 78150-4714.