Adrian Daily Telegram: Medal awarded with help from Walberg office
ADRIAN — Veteran Kenneth Moore was presented Tuesday with his Korea Defense Service Medal by U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, at a ceremony at the Lenawee County Veterans Affairs office in Adrian.
“I want to congratulate you, first of all, for your efforts to get this — something you deserve, you earned. ... ” Walberg said. “As I say often to vets, we want to — as far as a grateful nation — honor you and thank you for your service, your valor, your sacrifice and probably more importantly, when your nation called, you came.”
Moore served as an U.S. Army combat engineer in South Korea. The Korea Defense Service Medal was created in 2002 to recognize U.S. military members who served in South Korea after 1954 for more than 60 days.
Moore served in South Korea just short of 16 months from 1956-57. As a combat engineer, Moore said his battalion worked with the South Koreans building roads and infrastructure, such as a 90-ton floating pontoon bridge over the Han River that was assembled in the spring and disassemble in the fall.
Moore was told about the new medal by his nephew, who also served in South Korea. Moore applied and received information about what he needed to supply as verification.
The process ground to a halt because Moore’s service records, along with those of many other Army veterans, had been destroyed in a 1973 fire at the national personnel archives in St. Louis, Missouri. Moore was unable to prove with official records he had earned the medal until he contacted Elise Layton, military case worker at Walberg’s office.
Moore told Layton he had a collection of photos from his time in service and forwarded them to her.
“In all the pictures I sent her, there was only one where you could plainly see my name and see the Korea patch on my shoulder,” Moore said.
Layton said an Army historian examined the photo and identified Moore.
“We were actually able, through help from the Army, to identify a photo showing his name, his name tag — he was wearing his nametag — along with an 8th Army patch,” Layton said. “And the 8th Army was only ever in Korea. ... So it was pretty amazing coincidence that he had that photo from 1957.”
Moore said he couldn’t thank Walberg and Layton enough for their assistance.
“That young lady over there, she is just so good at what she does,” Moore told Walberg.
After the medal’s presentation, Moore, his family, Walberg and Layton took a group photo in front of the American flag in the office.
“It is always a wonderful experience to meet people like this who served many years ago and really ultimately didn’t think much about looking for medals and awards,” Walberg said. “But as they come to a time in their life when other people are saying, ‘Did you get your service medal? No, I didn’t get it. There was a fire and probably can’t get it.’ It’s great to have an opportunity to bring something they deserve, they earned to them and an opportunity to again say thank you for your service.
“It’s human beings that carried on this country. It’s not policy, necessarily. It’s human beings that made a sacrifice.”
This article originally appeared in the April 25 edition of the Adrian Daily Telegram.