Remember all the cool stuff you wanted to do and all the adventures you wanted to have when you were a child? Well, Jonny Kim made his dreams come true by becoming a sniper, a doctor, and a NASA astronaut. And he did it all by the age of 37.
“But… how?” I can hear you asking. Instead of going to college, Kim enlisted and became a Navy Seal at the age of 16. Kim said that his decision to enlist made his mother cry out of disappointment in an interview with NBC San Diego. He added, “She didn't like it very much. I think a lot of Asian Americans at least 20 years ago when I was going through this process just didn't really, weren't really comfortable with it.”
An accomplished and unusual career journey
Kim then went on to become an elite Navy SEAL team member after completing his training at Naval Special Warfare at Coronado and was later assigned to SEAL Team 3. Throughout his military career, Kim completed over 100 combat operations, serving as a Special Operation Combat Medic, a navigator, and a sniper in his two deployments - and as if that wasn't enough, he was also awarded Silver and Bronze Stars with valor. And although he took a detour from college by enlisting after high school, Kim went back to earn his bachelor's degree in Mathematics at the University of San Diego in 2012, with an already impressive military career under his belt.
Kim later realized that his experiences in warzones made him want to become a doctor. Following his passion, he graduated from Harvard Medical School in 2016 and became a physician. Even after all his accomplishments, his desire to serve humanity was not fulfilled. That was when he decided to reach for the stars. Back in 2017, Kim applied for an astronaut candidacy and was selected as an astronaut by NASA, becoming the very-first Korean-American astronaut.
After a long and accomplished career behind him, Kim has also been selected to be a member of NASA's Artemis Mission and could be walking on the moon in 2024. Now, that's what we call living life to the fullest.