Lieutenant Colonel Young-Oak Kim file photo [24140]

Young-Oak Kim

Given NameYoung-Oak
Died29 Dec 2005
CountryUnited States


ww2dbaseYoung-Oak Kim (McCune-Reischauer romanization: Kim Yong'ok) was born to Korean immigrants Soon Kwon Kim and Nora Koh in Los Angeles, California, United States in 1919. He grew up in the Bunker Hill area of the city and graduated from Belmont High School. He attended courses at the Los Angeles City College for one year and then worked at various odd jobs. He attempted to enlist in the United States Army, but was turned down due to racial discrimination, but ultimately he would become a member of the US Army in any case, as a conscript, in Jan 1941. In Apr 1941, his father passed away. Between mid-1941 and Jan 1943, he studied at the Infantry Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, United States. In Jan 1943, despite being Korean-American, the US Army assigned him to the US 100th Infantry Battalion, which was made of Japanese-Americans, based in the Territory of Hawaii. Upon learning of this, his battalion commanding officer offered to help him transfer to a different unit, but Kim insisted that he would stay with the battalion as an American just like all other members. With the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, he saw action in Italy and France. At the latter country, he was wounded at Biffontaine and was sent home to California in late 1944 to recuperate. By the time he returned to Europe, the European War would be over. He left the US Army after WW2 and opened a successful laundromat. When the Korean War began, he sold the business and rejoined the US Army. Although the army had wanted to place him in a position to best use his understanding of Korean language and culture, he opted to join the 31st Infantry Regiment of the 7th Infantry Division, as the regimental intelligence officer, in order to be close to the front lines. In Aug 1951, he was wounded by an accidental shelling of friendly positions by US 555th Field Artillery Battalion during Operation Piledriver; he was evacuated to Tokyo, Japan for treatment and recuperation. He returned to Korea in Oct 1951 and assumed command of the 1st Battalion of the 31st Infantry Regiment. He departed Korea for the United States in Sep 1952. In the 1960s, he was assigned to South Korea as a US military advisor. He retired from US Army service in 1972 at the rank of colonel. In 2003, he was decorated by the government of the Republic of Korea. He passed away from cancer at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was posthumously awarded the Korean Taeguk Cordon of the Order of Military Merit.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Sep 2015

Young-Oak Kim Interactive Map

Young-Oak Kim Timeline

31 Jan 1941 Young-Oak Kim was drafted into the United States Army.
16 May 1944 US Army personnel Captain Young-Oak Kim and Private First Class Irving Akahoshi captured two German soldiers near Cisterna, Italy for intelligence.
29 Dec 2005 Young-Oak Kim passed away from cancer at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, United States.

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