Arago: Korean War Veterans Issue

Korean War Veterans Issue

The 22-Cent stamp honoring Americans who fought during the Korean War was issued in Washington, DC, on July 26, 1985, the 32nd anniversary of the armistice that formally ended the fighting. The stamp was available at post offices nationwide the next business day.

The stamp's design was based on a photograph taken in 1950 by David Douglas Duncan. The design depicted weary American troops trudging seaward through a mountain pass near the Chosin Reservoir after the intervention by Chinese Communist forces on November 27. A pencil sketch by artist Robert Anderson, based on the photograph, was developed for use by Bureau of Engraving and Printing engravers.

The Korean conflict, which began on June 25, 1950, was the first in which American troops fought under the flag of the United Nations. The truce ending the Korean conflict, in which more than 50,000 Americans died, was signed on July 27, 1953.

The Korean conflict had its roots in the terms of the Japanese surrender that ended World War II. The Japanese had occupied the "land of the morning calm," which they called "Chosin," from 1910 to 1945. After World War II, Korea was divided into north and south sections at the 38th parallel to facilitate the surrender of the Japanese to the Allies. Russia was to supervise the Japanese surrender in the north and the United States in the south. Refusal to allow elections in the north kept the country divided, and a powerful offensive was launched by North Korea against South Korea.

At the outbreak of the fighting, the United Nations Security Council adopted a United States resolution that demanded an immediate cessation to hostilities. President Harry S. Truman subsequently approved the use of American air, naval, and ground forces to support the South Koreans. A United Nations command under General Douglas MacArthur soon operated in Korea.

The designer, art director, and typographer for the stamp was Dick Sheaff of Needham Heights, Massachusetts. Modeler was Ronald C. Sharpe; engravers were Thomas Hipschen (vignette) and Gary J. Slaght (lettering and numerals). The intaglio process was used. The stamps were issued in panes of fifty.


Postal Bulletin (June 27, 1985).

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