Seoul, Jan 27 (IANS) South Korea delivered a state military medal for late US General Douglas MacArthur, who led UN troops against North Korea in the 1950-53 Korean War, 74 years after deciding to confer the decoration, the Defence Ministry said on Saturday.
MacArthur, the first commander of the UN Command, had received a certificate for the First Class Order of Military Merit on September 29, 1950, by then South Korean President Rhee Syng-man, after South Korean and US-led UN troops recaptured Seoul from North Korean forces earlier that month, Yonhap news agency reported.
At the time, South Korea promised to bestow the medal once it was produced but it was never delivered. The Ministry said officials only recently discovered the mishap after being tipped off by a citizen interested in Korean War medals.
A ceremony to deliver the medal, now named the Taegeuk Order of Military Merit, to the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, Virginia, took place on Friday (local time) at the memorial, attended by Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander, according to the Ministry.
MacArthur’s son, Arthur MacArthur IV, sent a letter thanking South Korea, noting the award is a “testament” to his father’s legacy and an honour that “forever binds him to the people of Korea,” according to the Ministry.
MacArthur and his wife, Jean MacArthur, are laid to rest at the memorial in Norfolk.
The US General spearheaded the amphibious landing of Incheon, just west of the capital, in September 1950, which led to the recapture of Seoul.
The 1950-53 Korean War ended in a cease-fire rather than a peace treaty, leaving the two Koreas technically at war.