69 years since the end of the Korean War

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July 27, 2022, marks 69 years since the end of the Korean War. On July 27th, 1953, an armistice was signed, ending organized combat operations, and leaving the Korean Peninsula divided. The Korean War, which was fought between North and South Korea from 1950 to 1953, involved powers all over the world including China, the Soviet Union, and the United States. While a peace treaty was never signed, the Korean Armistice Agreement ended the war and created the Korean Demilitarized Zone. It wasn’t until 2018 that the leaders of North and South Korea met and agreed to formally work towards a treaty and an “official” end to the war.

American troops made up approximately 90% of the soldiers fighting for South Korea. Of the 5,720,000 American troops engaged in the Korean War, 33,741 died during battle. Frostbite was one of the most prevalent causes of death during combat. Temperatures during some of the coldest fighting were as low as negative 54 degrees Fahrenheit. Of the soldiers that made it home, many of them struggled with PTSD, and a majority were exposed to asbestos during their time participating in the war.

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For much of the 20th century, asbestos products were commonly used in the U.S military for their heat resistant and insulation properties. Every branch of the armed forces used asbestos in the construction of ships, tanks, trucks, aircrafts, barracks, and other buildings. During the Korean War, veterans were likely exposed to asbestos from military transportation vehicles (ships, tanks, aircrafts, jeeps, and trucks), and through the use of more than 300 various military-supplied materials and products. Asbestos-related diseases take many decades to develop. Our brave veterans who were exposed to asbestos products are at risk to develop lung cancer or mesothelioma.

About one-third of people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma are veterans, with the majority of them having served in the Navy. Learn more about exposure to asbestos in the military. If you or a loved one are a military veteran who has been diagnosed with an asbestos disease, fill out a free case evaluation