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eMedals-Korea. An Order of Military Merit, 2nd Class Set, Type II, c.1970

Item: W5066

Korea. An Order of Military Merit, 2nd Class Set, Type II, c.1970

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Korea. An Order of Military Merit, 2nd Class Set, Type II, c.1970

Attributed to Rear Admiral William Wesley Ayres, Marine Corps, United States Navy

Korea (Republic, South Korea); Neck Badge: three-piece construction, number impressed "70046" on the reverse, 60.5 mm (w) x 78.8 mm (h) inclusive of its star and wreath suspension, on a full-length original neck ribbon with chromed metal buckle closure: and Breast Star: four-piece construction, number impressed "70046" on the reverse, 71.5 mm (w) x 71.8 mm (h), vertical pinback. Intact enamels, extremely fine. Accompanied by its 11 mm x 38.5 mm ribbon bar and its 9 mm x 12 mm rosette, in its hardshelled case of issue, navy blue velvetine exterior, recessed medal beds, weakened covering overlying the hinged area, case near extremely fine.

Footnote: The Order of Military Merit was instituted on October 18, 1950 and is the primary military decoration awarded by the Republic of Korea government, awarded to military personnel for outstanding conduct during wartime or in a state of emergency. The order is awarded in one of five classes: 1st Class – Taegeuk Cordon, 2nd Class – Eulji Cordon, 3rd Class – Chungmu Cordon, 4th Class – Hwarang Cordon and 5th Class – Inheon Cordon. Rear Admiral William Wesley Ayres, Marine Corps, United States Navy was born on June 8, 1913 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He attended Louisiana State University Medical School, receiving his M.B. (Bachelor of Medicine) degree in 1937 and M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) degree in 1938. He was an Intern at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1938 and entered the United States Navy on August 1, 1938, where he served as a Medical Officer with USS Pecos, part of the Asiatic Fleet, from 1938 to 1940. He established himself as a Pathologist at five United States Naval Hospitals (Canacoa, Philippine Islands; New Orleans, Louisiana; Camp Pendleton, California; Yokosuka, Japan; Bethesda, Maryland). Ayres was Commanding Officer with the Fifth Medical Battalion and was Assistant Division Surgeon, Fifth Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force Pacific (Iwo Jima) in 1945. He was the Liaison Medical Officer with V Amphibious Marine Corps and the Sixth Army in 1945. He did his residency in Pathology at the United States Naval Medical School, National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland from 1946 to 1947, becoming its Chief Pathologist from 1948 to 1951. During the Korean War, Ayres was Commanding Officer of the First Medical Battalion and Assistant Division Surgeon with the First Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force (Korea) in 1952-1953. Post-war, other positions he assumed included Diplomate with the American Board of Pathology (Pathologic Anatomy 1949, Clinical Pathology 1958, Neuropathology 1958), Assistant Chief with the Division of Neuropathology at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (1955-1957), Pathologist at Conemaugh Valley Memorial Hospital in Johnstown, Pennsylvania (1958-1963), Pathologist at Memorial Hospital of Bedford Hospital, Everett, Pennsylvania (1962-on), Pathologist at Uniontown Hospital in Uniontown, Pennsylvania (1965-1969), Pathologist at Somerset Community Hospital in Somerset, Pennsylvania (1969-1979), Pathologist on Staff at Uniontown Hospital in Uniontown, Pennsylvania (1983-on) and was Director at Ayes Medical Laboratories in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Military Decorations: In addition to the Republic of Korea Order of Military Merit, 2nd Class for his service during the Korean War, he received two American awards: as Lieutenant Commander (Medical Officer (Attached)) with the 5th Medical Battalion, 5th Marine Division, United States Navy, Ayres was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" for actions taken from February 19 to March 26, 1945 during the Second World War, his citation stating: "The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" to Lieutenant Commander William W. Ayres (NSN: 0-81796), United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States while serving as the Commanding Officer of the Fifth Medical Battalion, FIFTH Marine Division, prior to and during the seizure of enemy held Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, from 19 February to 26 March 1945. Lieutenant Commander Ayres assumed command of the medical battalion upon its activation and with expert professional and administrative ability supervised and directed its organization and training in such an outstanding manner that it developed into a well coordinated, highly technical medical organization capable of functioning under the most adverse field conditions. Landing on Iwo Jima on 20 February he, without regard for his own safety, and with untiring devotion to duty, visited the fire-swept beaches and heavily shelled forward areas and coordinated the evacuation and care of the wounded by the elements of his battalion. Under his inspiring leadership, expert organizational and professional ability the Division Hospital was established and operated in spite of enemy activity, poor sanitary conditions, and difficult terrain. It effective administered to three thousand six hundred and ninety-three casualties. His exceptionally meritorious conduct, broad technical knowledge, expert administrative ability, resolute courage, and untiring devotion to duty were a distinct aid to the successful conduct of the operation, and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. (Lieutenant Commander Ayres is authorized to wear the Combat "V".)".
 
As Commander (Medical Officer (Attached)), 1st Marine Division (Reinforced), United States Navy, Ayres was awarded the Gold Star lieu of a Second Award of the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" for actions taken from August 31, 1952 to August 14, 1953 during the Korean War, his citation stating: "The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" to Commander (MC) William W. Ayres (NSN: 0-81796), United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States while serving with the FIRST Marine Division during operations against the enemy in Korea from 31 August 1952 to 14 August 1953. Serving as Commanding Officer of a medical battalion and Assistant Division Surgeon, Commander Ayres displayed an outstanding degree of professional competence and fearless leadership in the execution of his duties. As a result of his skillful guidance, excellent medical and surgical care was provided to the sick and wounded Marines and other United States personnel. Through his conscientious efforts, the logistical support of all sources was sought and exploited, thereby providing improved facilities for the treatment, feeding, housing and security of the patients and personnel of his command. His tireless efforts to assist the medical department of the Korean Marine Corps resulted in a marked improvement in the care afforded Korean Marines. As Assistant Division Surgeon, he frequently visited forward medical personnel and facilities disregarding his personal safety while coming under enemy observation and fire. Commander Ayres' highly competent leadership and exemplary conduct throughout were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. (Commander Ayres is authorized to wear the Combat "V".)" by General Orders: Commanding General, 1st Marine Division: Serial 27891 (August 15, 1953). He was the recipient of two civilian awards: the Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship and the Billings Bronze Star Award from the American Medical Association. Ayres was a member of the American Association of Neuropathologists, the American Medical Association, the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States, the Fellow College of American Pathologists, the Pennsylvania Medical Society and the Fayette County Medical Society. He was a Contributor to the Color Atlas of Pathology, Volumes 1 & 2, published by Lippincott & Company and was a resident of Chalk Hill, Pennsylvania. (C:41)
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