Friday, 25 Jun 2010

Minister for Veterans' Affairs Mailing List - VA039

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel, Alan Griffin today urged Australians to remember the service and sacrifice of Korean War veterans this year, 60 years since the start of the Korean War.

“As our Australian soldiers embarked on their journey to Korea, joining the United Nations Force for the first time, they enhanced Australia’s reputation as a nation that will step up and come to the aid of other nations,” Mr Griffin said.

“In the course of the Korean campaign, 25 June 1950 to 27 July 1953, more than 17,000 Australians served in the Korean War with over 1200 casualties. There were 340 soldiers who lost their lives including 44 soldiers missing in action. Nearly 4 million Koreans and Chinese, of whom more than half were Korean civilians, lost their lives.

“Our Australian forces displayed great courage and determination throughout the bitter conflict. In particular they successfully fought off Chinese attacks at the Battle of Kapyong in April 1951 earning a US Presidential Unit Citation for their heroism. Our soldiers distinguished themselves again at the Battle of Maryang San in October 1951 which has been described as probably the greatest single feat of the Australian Army during the Korean War.

“It is important that we pay tribute to all those who lost their lives in the Korean War and those Australian servicemen and women who served. We are proud of their efforts in helping to ensure the freedom of the South Korean people and we will continue to honour their memory.

“My Department has established a Korean War Advisory Group, to identify activities to appropriately commemorate this important anniversary, “ Mr Griffin said.

“Acting on the Advisory Group’s recommendations, the Government is planning a commemorative ceremony at the Australian National Korean War Memorial in Canberra on 23 October 2010, as well as assisting with 60th anniversary ceremonies in each state.

“The book Out in the Cold: Australia’s involvement in the Korean War will be specially republished for the anniversary and my Department will establish a Korean War website honouring the service of Korean veterans,” he said.

Further state ceremonies will be held throughout July in the lead-up to the National Commemorative Ceremony on 23 October 2010 at the Australian National Korean War Memorial, Canberra.

Media inquiries: Sasha Nimmo 0437 863 109

The VVCS – Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 011 046.