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AUGUSTA -- Maine veterans of postwar Korea will be the first in the country authorized to affix the
Korean Defense Service Medal decal to their specialty veteran license plates.
A bill sponsored by Rep. Dick Brown, R-South Berwick, and signed into law by Gov. John Baldacci allows
people who served in Korea from July 28, 1954, to the present to obtain the decal from Bureau of Motor
Vehicles offices starting in mid-September.
The enabling legislation, "An Act to Recognize the Recipients of the Korean Defense Service Medal," was
introduced by Brown on the recommendation of Lincolnville Police Chief Bill Labombardee, who served in Korea
during the 1970s.
"Bill was really the catalyst to get this moving in Maine," Brown said.
Congress authorized the new medal in 2002 to honor troops who served in the Northeast Asian country after
the truce that terminated Korean War, fought in the early 1950s.
More than 30,000 United States troops have been stationed in South Korea since that time.
The governor held a ceremony in his Statehouse office July 1 to thank Brown and Labombarde for pressing
forward with the bill, which passed in the Legislature with bipartisan support.
On hand for the occasion were about a dozen veterans of Korea service, including one soldier who was
captured during the war and spent 34 months in a prisoner-of-war camp.
Labombarde estimated several thousand Maine veterans will qualify for the medal and the decal.
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