Jonny Kim

Jonathan Kim (born 1984) is a United States Navy lieutenant, physician, and NASA astronaut. He was accepted into NASA Astronaut Group 22 in June 2017, and graduated from the training program in January 2020.

Jonny Kim
An Asian man in a blue flight suit is standing in front of a jet fighter, carrying pilot's equipment, facing the camera and smiling.
Kim in June 2017
Jonathan Kim

1984 (age 35–36)
Children3 (as of January 2020)
Space career
NASA Astronaut
SelectionNASA Astronaut Group 22
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branchUnited States Navy
RankUS-O3 insignia.svg Lieutenant
AwardsSilver Star Medal ribbon.svg Silver Star
Bronze Star Medal ribbon.svg"V" device, brass.svg Bronze Star Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal ribbon.svg"V" device, brass.svg Commendation
Combat Action Ribbon.svg Combat Action

Personal lifeEdit

Emigrating from South Korea to the United States in the early 1980s,[1] Kim's parents opened a liquor store in South Los Angeles, with Kim's father scarcely having a high-school education.[2] Jonathan Kim[3] was born in 1984[4] in Los Angeles.[1] Kim's mother worked as a substitute elementary school teacher while raising Kim and his younger brother.[2] In a 2018 interview with Annals of Emergency Medicine, Kim described himself as "the epitome of that quiet kid who just lacked complete self-confidence."[5]

At Santa Monica High School,[6] Kim received high grades in his classes, including several Advanced Placement, and participated in swimming and water polo;[2] he graduated in 2002. Kim received a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude) in mathematics from the University of San Diego (USD) in 2012, and his Doctor of Medicine from Harvard Medical School in 2016. In 2017, Kim completed his medical internship in emergency medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital.[6]

Kim's father died before seeing his son join the US Navy.[2] As of January 2020, Kim was married[7] with three children.[8]


US NavyEdit

Kim learned about and decided to join the United States Naval Special Warfare Command at age 16, investing his remaining high-school years physically conditioning himself for the rigors of Special Warfare training. Of this decision, Kim said, "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."[5]

After enlisting with the United States Navy in 2002 as a seaman recruit, Kim graduated BUD/S class 247 and was assigned to SEAL Team 3 with the rate Special Warfare Operator. He deployed twice to the Middle East and participated in over 100 combat missions as a combat medic, sniper, navigator, and point man. Kim was accepted for commissioning in 2009; when he graduated from USD in 2012 and left the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps, Kim entered the Medical Corps.[6] During his tenure with the SEALs, Kim served with PO2s Marc Alan Lee and Michael A. Monsoor.[7]

Kim is a recipient of a Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal (with Combat "V"), the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with Combat "V"), and Combat Action Ribbon. As of January 2020, he was on active duty[6] with the Navy Reserve at the rank of lieutenant.[7] According to Jocko Willink, Kim's Silver Star was awarded for rescuing multiple wounded Iraqi soldiers in the face of enemy fire.[9]


While studying at Harvard Medical School, Kim met and was inspired by astronaut–physician Scott E. Parazynski to apply for Astronaut Candidacy.[5] Kim was one of over 18,300 applicants.[3]

Astronaut Group 22 with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine (2018)

It was June 2017[10] when Kim was one of twelve people chosen to join NASA Astronaut Group 22.[3] He reported for duty on 21 August 2017,[5] and graduated from training on 10 January 2020. According to NASA, Kim will work in the Astronaut Office while awaiting a flight assignment[6] with the Artemis program.[11]


  1. ^ a b Kim, Jonny (22 August 2017). Jonny Kim/NASA 2017 Astronaut Candidate. Johnson Space Center. Archived from the original on 17 March 2018. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Choi, David (17 January 2020). "How an insecure teenager became a NASA-trained Navy SEAL, and convinced his Korean-American mom to allow him to join the military". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 19 January 2020. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Harwood, William (7 June 2017). "NASA introduces 12 new astronauts". CBS News. Archived from the original on 11 September 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  4. ^ Miles, Wilson (29 November 2019). "#VeteranOfTheDay Navy Veteran Jonny Kim". United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Archived from the original on 22 December 2019. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d Faust, Jeremy S. (March 2018). Milling Jr, Truman J. (ed.). "Annals Q&A With Dr. Jonny Kim". Annals of Emergency Medicine. American College of Emergency Physicians. 71 (3): A13–A16. ISSN 0196-0644. LCCN 80643758. OCLC 5729547.
  6. ^ a b c d e Garcia, Mark, ed. (9 January 2020). "Astronaut Jonny Kim". NASA. Archived from the original on 15 January 2020. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Robson, Seth (15 January 2020). "Navy SEAL with Harvard medical degree becomes NASA astronaut". Stars and Stripes. Archived from the original on 16 January 2020. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  8. ^ Choi, David (18 January 2020). "This Harvard-educated, NASA-qualified, Navy SEAL gives his kids this simple advice every day". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 17 January 2020. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  9. ^ Powell, Alvin (21 July 2017). "SEAL-tested, NASA-approved". Harvard Gazette. Archived from the original on 1 March 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2019. Harvard Medical School grad to depart residency for astronaut training
  10. ^ Northon, Karen, ed. (18 December 2019). "NASA's Astronaut Candidates to Graduate with Eye on Artemis Missions". NASA. Archived from the original on 27 December 2019. Retrieved 27 December 2019.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit