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Korean War veteran receives service medals 70 years later

sgt rudy mccallop.png
Posted at 9:01 AM, Nov 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-11 10:01:15-05

LENEXA, Kan. — Rudy McCallop never used to talk about his time as a sergeant in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

“What’s so hard about it is seeing wounded and dead, and there’s nothing you can do about it,” the 91-year-old said from his Lenexa, Kansas, home.

Even his eldest child, Linda Browne, didn’t know much about her father’s service.

“I had heard him talk about the Korean War, but we never really got into anything,” Browne said.

She works in the senior housing industry and comes across information for veterans on a somewhat regular basis. Back in 2019, something caught her attention enough that she reached out to the Army to learn more about her father’s service, but she never heard back.

This summer during McCallop’s routine evening stroll to the mailbox, the veteran was surprised to see a box with his name on it. Inside were five service medals from the Army.

“I was so excited at the time that I didn’t know what was going on, where they come from, was I supposed to get them,” McCallop said.

He never noticed any accompanying explanation for the medals.

KSHB 41 News reached out to the Army and National Personnel Records Center. The agency explained it was Browne’s letter in 2019 that got their attention.

After review, the National Archives authorized the Army to release and send the medals to McCallop. There was no explanation for why he didn’t receive the medals when he left active duty upon returning from Korea in 1952.

“It means the world to me because of the fact I did get them, and I knew a long time ago I probably deserved them, but I didn’t get them back then and they gave them to me now,” McCallop said.

McCallop received the Korean Service Medal, given to soldiers in Korea for 30 consecutive days between 1950-1953; the Army Occupation Medal, for serving in the Asiatic-Pacific theater; the United Nations Service Medal, for military members in Korea from 1950-1954; the National Defense Service Medal for active military members from 1950-1954; and the Good Conduct Medal for military members to distinguish themselves for their behavior, efficiency and fidelity.

He joined the Army after graduating from Sumner High School in Kansas City, Kansas, in 1948. McCallop had worked as a bus boy at Harvey’s restaurant inside Union Station and saw the military as a career path.

As part of the 558 Amphibious Truck Company, McCallop participated in the battles of Incheon, Panmunjom, Seoul and Heartbreak Ridge, among others. The Korean Service Medal he received this summer included several battle stars to represent the many campaigns in which he participated.

“My family can now know about what I did,” the retired sergeant said.

Browne admits her father has been much more vocal about his time in the military since receiving the medals, even taking them to the church where he serves as a deacon to share stories.

“Some veterans have given their life,” Browne said. “For him to be able to come back and share, I think that’s important.”

Family is the most important thing to McCallop — he is a great-great-grandfather. His plan is to pass the medals down to his family.

“I want all my kids to see them, all my kids’ grandkids and great-grandkids. Let them all know I did something,” he said.

Veterans and their families can visit the National Archives websites for information on replacing lost service medals or to request personnel records and medals using a Standard Form 180.