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AGO 1955 No. 72 - May 10, 1955
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

VETERANS ‑- SOLDIERS' AND SAILORS' INDIGENT RELIEF FUND ‑- ELIGIBILITY OF KOREAN VETERANS

Veterans are eligible for the benefits of the Soldiers' and Sailors' indigent relief fund for honorable active service in the Korean conflict on or before July 27, 1954.

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                                                                   May 10, 1955

Honorable Charles O. Carroll
Prosecuting Attorney
King County
County-City Building
Seattle 4, Washington                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 55-57 No. 72


Dear Sir:

            A request has been made to this office for our opinion on the following question:

            "What is the termination date for the eligibility for those who served in the Korean conflict, to be entitled to draw benefits from the Soldiers' and Sailors' Indigent Relief Fund?"

            In our opinion the termination date is July 27, 1954.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            RCW 73.08.010 provides that the benefits of the fund shall be available

            "For the relief of indigent and suffering soldiers, sailors, and marines who served the Union in the Civil war, in the war with Mexico, or in any of the Indian wars in the United States  Orig. Op. Page 2 the Spanish-American war and Philippine insurrection; soldiers, sailors, and marines who served in the United States army, navy, or marine corps during World War I; soldiers, sailors, and marines who served in the army, navy, or marine corps of the United States in any other foreign war, insurrection, or expedition, which service is evidenced by the issuance of a campaign badge by the government of the United States; * * *" (Emphasis supplied)

            By the inclusion of the underscored phrase the legislature indicated its intent to make the benefits of the fund available to veterans of foreign military engagements of the United States other than those specifically enumerated in the section.  We think the Korean conflict was such a foreign military engagement, in accordance with AGO 49-51 No. 370, to the Prosecuting Attorney of Pierce County on October 19, 1950, a copy of which is attached.

            Active and honorable service in Korea is designated by the Korean Service Medal, pursuant to Army Regulation 672-15, § II, paragraph 36 (November 24, 1954).  Eligibility for the medal is contingent upon service between June 27, 1950 and July 27, 1954, inclusive, under the conditions described in paragraph 36.

            No doubt your inquiry is prompted by the fact that some difficulty exists in determining the precise date of the cessation of actual hostilities in Korea.  Thus for example the armistice was signed one year before the termination date for eligibility for the service medal.  In view of the language of RCW 73.08.010, underscored above, we think that the termination date for eligibility for the benefits of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Indigent Relief Fund in the case of a foreign military action not specifically enumerated must coincide with the last day of eligibility for the medal.  Under our statute the service producing eligibility for soldiers' and sailors' relief benefits must beevidenced by the campaign badge.  The medal or badge in this case does not evidence service after July 27, 1954.  We therefore conclude that this is the termination date for eligibility under RCW 73.08.010.

             Orig. Op. Page 3

            We hope the foregoing analysis will prove helpful to you.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General


MAURICE M. EPSTEIN
Assistant Attorney General

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