Young-Oak Kim (1919 – 2005)

Colonel U.S. Army, 1941 – 1946 & 1950 – 1972

Young-Oak Kim was a Korean American United States Army Officer during WWII and the Korean War, civic leader, and humanitarian. During WWII, Kim served in the US 100the Infantry Battalion which was later reformed into the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He and private first class, Irving Akahoshi executed one of the key raids during the Italian campaign, delivering German soldiers for interrogation who would give intelligence vital to the war.

In the Korean War, while in the 31st Infantry, Kim played a significant role in stopping Chinese troops and pushing them back to the 38th parallel. He later became Commander of the 1st battalion; the first minority officer in U.S. history to gain this leadership position.

Kim served 30 years in the military, becoming the most decorated Asian American in the U.S Military by the time he retired from the rank of colonel. For his service, Kim was awarded the Silver Star, Purple Heart, Distinguished Service Cross, and Legion of Honor.

Sources:

“Kim (Young Oak) Biography Papers,” oac.cdlib.org, accessed January 11, 2021, https://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/c8668kmk/.“Young Oak Kim,” http://www.100thbattalion.org, accessed January 11, 2021, https://www.100thbattalion.org/history/veterans/officers/young-oak-kim/.

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