Navy SEAL, Harvard doctor, and NASA Astronaut: How Navy Lt. Jonny Kim, 35, changed his career three times and became the first Korean-American astronaut to venture into space
- California man Jonny Kim, 35, went from a Navy SEAL to Harvard medical doctor to NASA Astronaut, after graduating from training this month
- He will be the first Korean-American astronaut with NASA to embark on assignments to the International Space Station, the moon and possibly Mars
- The father from Los Angeles says going into the Navy was ‘the best decision I ever made in my life’ because it made him fearless and gave him confidence
- After seeing his friends injured and pass away in the Army, he became a doctor
- While serving his residency he was chosen to be part of NASA’s Astronaut Group 22, completing two years of rigorous training
A former Navy SEAL who became a medical doctor has now joined NASA‘s latest class of astronauts.
Dr. Jonny Kim will add the title of NASA astronaut to his long list of accolades as he just graduated on Friday from training for a mission that will send him along with 11 other astronauts into outer space.
Kim will make history as the first Korean-American NASA astronaut to embark on assignments to the Space Station, on Artemis missions to the Moon and potentially on the first human exploration mission to Mars.
A father and husband, the 35-year-old from Los Angeles, California, says he always chased adventure and getting out of his comfort zone, but it took a while to find his calling. +7
California man Jonny Kim, 35, went from a Navy SEAL to Harvard medical doctor to NASA Astronaut, after graduating from training this month
Jack of all trades: Kim pictured in his military uniform left, his white medical coat center, and right in his blue NASA uniform+7
He will be the first Korean-American astronaut with NASA to embark on assignments to the International Space Station, the moon and possibly Mars. Kim pictured triumphantly pumping his fist at his graduation ceremony at Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas, on January 10, 2020+7
US Senators Ted Cruz (C-R) and John Cornyn (C-L) pose with Nasa and Canadian Space Agency graduating astronauts on January 10+7
The 13 astronauts, 11 from NASA and 2 from CSA, are the first candidates to graduate under the Artemis program and will become eligible for spaceflight, including assignments to the International Space Station, Artemis missions to the Moon, and ultimately, missions to Mars, according to NASA
Kim said as a youngster he felt like ‘the epitome of that quiet kid who just lacked complete self-confidence,’ in a 2018 interview with Annals of Emergency Medicine.
Then at the age of 16 he learned about the United States Naval Special Warfare Command and found his career path.
‘Going into the Navy was the best decision I ever made in my life because it completely transformed that scared boy who didn’t have any dreams to someone who started to believe in himself,’ he said.
Kim graduated from high school in 2002 and enlisted in the US Navy. He was assigned to SEAL Team Three.
He was commissioned as an officer through the Navy’s enlisted-to-officer commissioning program after he graduated from the University of San Diego with a math degree in 2012.
Then he served as a Special Operations Combat Medic, sniper, navigator and point man on over 100 combat missions in two deployments to the Middle East including Ramadi and Sadr City Iraq. His military honors include a Silver Star and a Bronze Star.
The US Embassy in Seoul, Korea praised Kim for becoming the first Korean American NASA astronaut to venture to the Space Station and missions to the moon+7
Kim shared this picture from his NASA training days in Texas