Korean War Medals Home Page

General Information - A Catalgoue of Decorations and Campaign Medals
Issued By Ethiopia To United Nations Forces
For The Korean War 1950 - 1954

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General Information about Ethiopia's involvement in the Korean War

Ethiopia was quick to respond to the United Nations call of assistance and assembled a force of 1,069 officers and men.  The 1st Kagnew ‘Conquerors’ Infantry Battalion was formed in August 1950 with three rifle companies (1st, 2nd and 4th Cos.) drawn from the Emperors elite Imperial Guard and it arrived in Korea on 7th May 1951.  Before embarking for Korea this force was specially reviewed by His Imperial Majesty the Emperor Haile Selassie I.

On arrival in Pusan they joined the US 32nd Infantry Regiment (7th Division) on ‘Line Kansas’ and from 16th to 22nd September they were engaged in furious hand-to-hand fighting at Sam-Hyon.  The 3rd Kagnew Battalion drove off at bayonet-point a Chinese attack at Tokan-ni on 20th May 1953 for which the 3rd Company was awarded the Republic of Korea Presidential Citation.  This Unit was fighting on Pork Chop Hill at the time of the Armistice.  In all 3,518 Ethiopian combat personnel served with the first three battalions during the war.  The Ethiopian battalions never lost an inch of ground, nor was a single Ethiopian soldier captured by the enemy.  They were well respected by the Americans and received many awards for action including the American Presidential Citation.

 Ethiopia rotated its forces during the war as follows: -

1st Kagnew Battalion 7.  5.51 - 29.  3.52
2nd Kagnew Battalion 29.  3.52 - 16.  4.53
3rd Kagnew Battalion 16.  4.53 -        4.54
4th Kagnew Battalion Arrived after the cease fire. 

The Ethiopian Red Cross also sent a cadre of nurses to treat Ethiopian wounded recovering in the hospitals in Japan.  120 Ethiopian servicemen lost their lives and 536 were wounded during the Korean War.  The last Ethiopian soldier left Korea on 3rd January 1965.