United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission

July 1953 – Mid-1978

When the Korean War began in 1950, an international force was formed under UN auspices to prevent the invasion of South Korea by its Communist neighbours, North Korea and the People's Republic of China. To this effort, Canada contributed a brigade group, a naval task group of three destroyers, and a strategic airlift squadron. By 1953, when the armistice was signed, 26,791 Canadians had served in the Korea War and 516 of them had died as a result of enemy action. The United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission (UNCMAC) was established in July 1953 to supervise the implementation of the armistice agreement. From July 1953 until 1978, the Canadian Forces posted one officer to UNCMAC. In mid-1978, these duties were transferred to the Canadian military attaché in Seoul. UNCMAC has since become Canada's longest UN commitment, although it no longer constitutes a distinct Canadian operation with assigned military personnel.

The UNCMAC is now composed of four permanent members and one rotating member - a senior officer of the UNCMAC Advisory Group. One of the duties of the Canadian military attaché in Seoul (a colonel or Navy captain posted to the Canadian Embassy) is to serve on the UNCMAC Advisory Group. Every 36 months, the attaché also stands as a member of UNCMAC for a duration of six months. The last time this occurred was from December 2002 to June 2003. In addition, as a member of the UNCMAC Advisory Group, the attaché conducts regular inspections of the demilitarized zone and investigates any Armistice violations.

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