Dr. Jonny Kim may well be one of the most successful Americans ever, accomplishing the top 3 major childhood dreams before he turned 35.
Born in 84, Kim’s parents emigrated from South Korea in the 1980s. He enlisted in the US Navy as a Seaman recruit immediately after High School in 2002.
Dr. Kim completed more than 100 combat missions during his time in the Middle East, earning a Silver Star and Bronze Star with Combat “V.” Dr. Kim served as a medic and sniper for SEAL Team Three. The Navy Times named him one of the Top 10 Navy sailors of all time, right above JFK:
If you ever want to feel like a failure, just look up Dr. Jonny Kim’s resume and be prepared to feel shame for your lack of success (we sure did). – Navy Times
He is a graduate of both the University of San Diego, earning a degree in mathematics, and a Doctorate from Harvard Medical School.
During Dr. Kim’s first combat tour, he lost a fellow SEAL. He decided on a career in the medical field.
“The moment I knew I wanted to go into medicine was during my first deployment to Ramadi which is when one of my best friends was shot,” Kim has said. “After doing everything I could for him, securing his airway, controlling his bleeding, there wasn’t much more I could do for him but watch the spectacular team of emergency medicine physicians save my friend’s life.”
According to NASA, Dr. Kim received an officer’s commission in the Medical Corps following his graduation.
In June 2017, he was one of 12 to be selected for the 2017 NASA Astronaut Candidate Class. The training will take up to two years to become a fully certified astronaut. He is months away.
LAIST gives a recount of his NASA interview:
On Wednesday, NASA handpicked 12 new astronauts from its largest ever pool of applicants. The sky is quite literally the limit for the seven men and five women (selected from the more than 18,300 applicants) who will join 44 astronauts already in the NASA corps.
One of those new astronauts is Los Angeles native Dr. Jonny Kim. Kim is a former Navy SEAL with a medical doctorate from Harvard University. Kim told LAist that he was raised in West L.A. “between Koreatown and Santa Monica” and moved to Boston at 18. His mother still lives in Los Angeles.
We used our time on the phone with the comically impressive soon-to-be space traveler to ask him the important questions, like what his favorite restaurant in L.A. was when he was growing up. “There was this spot in Koreatown that was a Chinese restaurant with a Korean cultural spin to it. It was called Shin Peking,” Kim told LAist. “But I don’t think it’s there anymore.” A Korean-inspired Chinese restaurant in Koreatown that no longer exists—could there be anything more L.A.? According to the L.A. Times, the former Shin Peking has reopened in its former location on Olympic Boulevard as Shin Beijng, and the “popular after-church family restaurant” still serves Korean-Chinese cuisine.
All he really has left is to become a fireman and President. What an incredible individual. Dr. Kim is a hurdle jumper extraordinaire! He is a valuable example that when you set your mind to it, you can accomplish anything!
Kim’s interests include spending time with his family, volunteering with non-profit veteran organizations, and academic mentoring. What a guy! My new hero!
Check out the Pat Tillman Foundation‘s video below to hear Dr. Kim’s story for yourself.