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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)
Born 1983/1984 (age 37–38)
Los Angeles, California, US
Nationality United States
Alma mater
  • Santa Monica High
  • University of San Diego
  • Harvard Medical (M.D.)
Military career
Service/branch US Navy Reserve
Years of service 2002–present
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Lieutenant
Unit SEAL Team 3 (2002–09)
Awards Silver 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
Jonny Kim

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 graduate from training in January 2020.

Personal life

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

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 December 2019, 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] NASA announced that Kim is expected to graduate on 10 January 2020,[6] after which he will work in the Astronaut Office while awaiting a flight assignment[5] with the Artemis program.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Powell, Alvin (2017-07-21). "SEAL-tested, NASA-approved" (in en). Harvard Gazette. "Harvard Medical School grad to depart residency for astronaut training" 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Harwood, William (2017-06-07). "NASA introduces 12 new astronauts" (in en). CBS News. 
  3. Kim, Jonny (2017-08-22). "Jonny Kim/NASA 2017 Astronaut Candidate" (in en). Johnson Space Center. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Faust, Jeremy S. (March 2018). "Annals Q&A With Dr. Jonny Kim". In Milling Jr, Truman J. (in en). American College of Emergency Physicians. pp. A13–A16. ISSN 0196-0644. LCCN 80643758. OCLC 5729547. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Garcia, Mark, ed (2017-06-07). "Astronaut Candidate Jonny Kim" (in en). NASA. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Northon, Karen, ed (2019-12-18). "NASA's Astronaut Candidates to Graduate with Eye on Artemis Missions" (in en). NASA. 

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