South Korea’s “Taegeuk Medal”, the equivalent of a Medal of Valor, is highest military decoration given to a soldier for bravery in combat during the Korean War which last three years beginning in June 25, 1950. 15 soldiers were awarded the coveted medal, among them were two Filipinos.
Retired Maj. Maximo Young and the late Capt. Conrado D. Yap were the Filipino recipients of the “Taegeuk Medal”, making the Philippines the second-most awarded Allied Force behind the United States (who has eight); Belgium, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Canada each have one.
Young received the award during the anniversary of the Korean war last June. Both he and the late Capt. Yap were members of the famed 10th Battalion Combat Team (BCT) of the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK) which faced a superior force of Chinese soldiers in the fierce battle at Yultong that lasted for two days.
Veterans of war
Yap was among those killed in the close-quarter fighting after deciding to remain and launch a counter-attack against Chinese & North Korean forces, and rescue comrades trapped in the war zone.
97-year-old Yap recalled his combat experience in three wars including the Korean War, “I have fought for the defense of freedom and democracy which are precepts that have been dear to our motherland, against foreign enemies in three wars: World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.”
“I have been shot at and shelled. I have seen my friends die in battle and have killed my country’s enemies, in turn. I have seen the worst of human nature in war. And my experience has taught me that there is nothing redeeming about war. War is only gruesome death and senseless destruction. And it involves tremendous remorse. But… by the grace of God, I am still here.”
Story from PNA.
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