The First Class Taegeuk Cordon of the Order of Military Merit is the highest decoration for military bravery and valor awarded by the government of the Republic of South Korea. Those who are eligible to receive this highest military decoration are the members of the armed forces of the Republic of South Korea. This highest decoration is conferred as well to citizens of its allies-nations particularly those who courageously and daringly joined in the KOREAN WAR, to regain South Korea’s DEMOCRACY and FREEDOM.
[Photo above shows my 97-year old DADDY MAX rendering a SNAPPY HAND SALUTE in honor of the KOREAN WAR heroes (before the KOREAN WAR MEMORIAL PYLON in Seoul) during his 5-day speaking tour-stint in South Korea from June 27, 2019 till July 1, 2019.]
Among the most notable recipients of this highest military decoration are the following personalities with their corresponding role in the fight for freedom and democracy during the 1950 Korean War:
- Young-Oak Kim – Colonel, United States Army – a highly decorated U.S. Army combat veteran of World War II and the Korean War and a civic leader with humanitarian disposition. He was born in Los Angeles but with Korean parentage;
- Homer Litzenberg – General, United States Marine Corps – a decorated Lieutenant General in the United States Marine Corps, who served in Haiti, the World War II, and the Korean War. His final rank was awarded at his retirement for his valor in battle;
- William Westmoreland – General, United States Army – a United States Army general, who most notably commanded U.S. forces during the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1968. He also commanded the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team in operations in Korea during the Korean War from 1952 to 1953;
- Frank Fort Everest – General, United States Air Force – the commanding general of the Fifth Air Force, Far East Forces, during the Korean War in May 1951. Through his efforts, the Fifth Air Force was able to attain, and maintain, air superiority over the enemy;
- Horace Robertson – Lieutenant General, Australian Army – was a senior officer in the Australian Army who served in the First World War, the Second World War and the Korean War. He was one of the first graduates of the Royal Military College, Duntroon, to reach the ranks of major general and lieutenant general;
- Bill Speakman VC – Sergeant, British Army – a former British Army soldier and a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was the first person to receive such an honor from Queen Elizabeth II. On November 4, 1951 during the Korean War, when the section holding the left shoulder of the company’s position had been seriously depleted by casualties and was being overrun by the enemy; on his own initiative, he collected six men and a pile of grenades and led a series of charges. He broke up several enemy attacks, causing heavy casualties and in spite of being wounded in the leg continued to lead charge after charge. He kept the enemy at bay long enough to enable his company to withdraw safely;
- Lee Han-Lim– Lieutenant General, Republic of Korea Army- He received the Taegeuk Medal, the highest honor for Korean soldiers, and a Silver Star from the United States, for successfully repelling Chinese troops as the 9th Division commander, during the 1950 Korean War.
On July 27, 2016 added to the roster of the most notable recipients of the highest military decoration of the Republic of South Korea (perhaps, the first Filipino as recipient) was the name of Daddy Max. As was officially reported in the Facebook page of the Embassy of the Philippines based in Seoul, South Korea is the following account:
“A Filipino veteran who distinguished himself in battle in the Korean War was awarded South Korea’s highest military decoration for bravery and valor in ceremonies commemorating the 63rd anniversary of the signing of the 1953 Armistice Agreement held on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 at the Olympic Hall in Seoul Olympic Park.
“Maj. Maximo Purisima Young was accorded the 1st Class of the Taegeuk Cordon of the Order of Military Merit for his selfless sacrifice and outstanding service in a citation signed by South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Maj. Young, who was not fit to travel, was represented at the ceremonies by his son, Atty. Walter Young.
“Young was part of the 10th Battalion Combat Team (BCT) that arrived after a four-day journey at sea at Busan port on 19 September 1950, the first of five (5) BCTs in the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK) to serve in the Korean Peninsula until 1955. The Philippines was the first Asian country and the third UN member-state to send combat troops to the Korean War.
“On 11 November 1950, Young’s Armored Tank Division was pinned down in an ambush in their first armed encounter on foreign soil. He took the machine gun atop the tank and killed 42 members of the North Korean People Army, helping the 10th BCT defeat two enemy battalions in the Battle of Miudong (Miuri), the first battle won by the Philippines on foreign soil.”