Jonny Kim

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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 (June 2017)
Born1983/1984 (age 35–36)
NationalityUnited States
Alma mater
Military career
Service/branchUS Navy Reserve
Service years2002–present
RankUS-O3 insignia.svg Lieutenant
UnitSEAL Team 3 (2002–09)
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
Space career
NASA Astronaut
SelectionNASA Astronaut Group 22

Jonny Kim (born 1983/1984) is a decorated United States Navy Reserve lieutenant, physician, and NASA Astronaut Candidate.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Kim joined the US Navy after high school and became an operator with SEAL Team 3 (2002–09) before being accepted to NROTC at the University of San Diego. With a 2012 bachelor's degree in mathematics, Kim was commissioned into the US Navy's Medical Corps.

After receiving his 2016 Doctor of Medicine from Harvard Medical School, Kim was accepted into NASA Astronaut Group 22 in June 2017 and is expected to complete training in August 2019.

Personal life[edit]

In 1983 or 1984,[1] Jonathan Kim[2] was born and then raised in Los Angeles, California. He is a first-generation Korean American whose parents emigrated from South Korea to the United States in the early 1980s.[3]

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." This lasted until age 16 when he learned about the United States Naval Special Warfare Command, and felt it was his vocation. A high-school student, Kim then invested his remaining academic 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."[4]

As of June 2017, Kim was married with children.[1]


In 2002, Kim graduated from Santa Monica High School. He later received a bachelor's degree (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. Kim completed his medical internship in 2017 at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital.[5]


US Navy[edit]

Kim enlisted with the United States Navy in 2002 as a seaman recruit, 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 in the roles of 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.[5]

Kim is a recipient of the Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal (with "V" device), and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with "V" device).[5] As of June 2017, he was a Naval Reservist on active duty[2] at the rank of lieutenant.[6]


During his time with the Navy SEALs, Kim was inspired by the "spectacular emergency physicians, surgeons, nurses, who saved a lot of my friends' lives and their limbs." This led him to studying medicine at Harvard and becoming a physician.[4] Kim is a specialist in emergency medicine.[1]


While studying at Harvard Medical School, Kim met astronaut–physician Scott E. Parazynski who taught the younger man about NASA and that organization's mission. Kim later described this conversation as being similarly revelatory as his teenaged discovery of Naval Special Warfare.[4] In 2017, while a resident at Massachusetts General Hospital,[5] Kim applied at USAJobs to become an Astronaut Candidate. The application process included mental status examinations, electrocardiography tests, blood tests, a chest radiograph, a personality test, interviews with a selection board and behavioralists, and group work tests.[4] Kim was one of 18,300+ applicants.[2]

Astronaut Group 22 with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine (2018)

It was June 2017, and Kim was at a grocery store when he received the call notifying him of his selection;[1] he was one of twelve people chosen to join NASA Astronaut Group 22.[2] He reported for duty on 21 August 2017.[4] Kim was expected to graduate in the last quarter of 2019,[7] after which he'll work in the Astronaut Office while awaiting a flight assignment.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d 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
  2. ^ a b c d Harwood, William (7 June 2017). "NASA introduces 12 new astronauts". CBS News. Archived from the original on 11 September 2018. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ a b c d e 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.
  5. ^ a b c d e Garcia, Mark, ed. (7 June 2017). "Astronaut Candidate Jonny Kim | NASA". NASA. Archived from the original on 30 August 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  6. ^ "NASA Astronaut Candidate Jonny Kim". University of San Diego. 9 June 2017. Archived from the original on 4 August 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2019. Dr. Jonny Kim Biography
  7. ^ "Collaboration is key for the future of space exploration, HubWeek scientists say". Boston: Boston University News Service. 4 October 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.