The Inspiring Story of NASA Astronaut Jonny Kim, Who Served as A Navy Seal Sniper, And Harvard Doctor, Before Becoming A NASA Astronaut

If you use social media frequently, you must have come across the image of one man serving as a NAVY Seal Sniper, Harvard Doctor, and NASA Astronaut. But is this image real or it is just a random social media meme? Well, the fact remains that one person truly attains such a feat in life, and he is no other person than NASA Astronaut Jonny Kim.

The best part of the story is that Kim was able to change his career path three times at only 39 years old. What inspired him to attain such a feat in life? What is the future of NASA Astronaut Jonny Kim in space? Continue reading to learn more.

What Inspired NASA Astronaut Jonny Kim towards becoming A Navy Seal Sniper, Trained Harvard Doctor, And A NASA Astronaut

Every child is born with the great ambition of crossing several hurdles and achieving success in life. Jonathan Yong Kim was born just like every other child on 5 February 1984 in Los Angeles, California to South Korean Parents who emigrated to the United States in the Early 1980s. The family ran a liquor store business in South Los Angeles and his mother also worked as a substitute elementary school teacher to support the family. Kim attended Santa Monica High School where he received high grades in his classes and graduated in 2002. 

“Kim received a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude) in mathematics from the University of San Diego in 2012, and a Doctor of Medicine from Harvard Medical School in 2016,” according to Wikipedia. “Kim was a Pat Tillman Foundation “Tillman Scholar” selectee. In 2017, Kim completed his medical internship in emergency medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.”

But What inspired Kim to attain greater feats in his career? In 2020, The Chosun Ilbo reported that the adolescent Kim actually suffered domestic violence at the hands of his father while he was just 16 years old. His father was addicted to heavy alcoholism and in February 2002, things turned ugly for the family when Kim’s dad came home threatening his family with a gun.

During an interview with GoalCast, Kim revealed what truly happened that night. He revealed that his dad came home very intoxicated to meet him and his mother.

“I remembered my father came up to me and some of the last words he said to me were I’m sorry Jonathan and he pepper sprayed my face,” Kim revealed during the Interview with GoalCast. “Then all I could hear in the kitchen was my mother screaming for help and saying he got a gun.”

Kim disclosed that he confronted his dad to drop the gun and even engaged in a fight with him. But his dad got hold of a dumbbell and smashed Kim’s head with it. When Kim realized that he cannot win the fight, he pleaded with his father to give up the gun and make peace with the family.

His mother called the police to rescue the family. When the police arrived, they engaged in a gunfight with Kim’s father, and he later lost his life during the hit. It was at this moment that Kim realized he needed to do something to protect his family. His friend invited him to join the Navy Seal and the 16-year-old Kim willingly accepted the offer. He also revealed the actual reason why joined the seal during the interview.

“I wanted to become a seal to find my true identity,” Kim said.” Be someone that could protect the people that I love that couldn’t protect themselves. And I knew from there, maybe, just maybe, I had what it takes to become a seal.”

Astronaut Jonny Kim’s Career with the United States NAVY

Kim revealed that he has always been a shy little kid with less confidence. But the incident that occurred with his family in 2002 turned his life around and redefined his purpose in life. After being enlisted with the United States Navy in 2002 as a seaman recruit, Kim proceeded to graduate as a BUD/S class 247.

Upon his graduation, he was assigned to SEAL Team 3 with the rating Special Warfare Operator. As a Sniper in the Navy, Kim was enlisted for the battle of Ramadi against al Qaeda in Iraq. However, Kim lost his best friend in the middle of the battle. The death of his best friend left him broken and sad.

However, he remained strong and completed his tasks for the mission. Kim was deployed twice to the Middle East and he took part in over 100 combat missions as a sniper, combat medic, point man, and navigator. In 2009, Kim was lucky to be accepted to the STA-21 commissioning program.

Astronaut Jonny Kim’s Career as a Physician

After he graduated from the University of San Diego in 2012, Kim left the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps and entered the Medical Corps. He later enrolled at Harvard Medical School to be trained as a physician. Kim graduated from Harvard Medical School in 2016 and completed his medical internship in emergency medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2017.

Astronaut Jonny Kim’s Career With NASA

When Kim was still studying at Harvard, he met with Astronaut-physician Scott E. Parazynski and was inspired by him to become an astronaut. He later applied for NASA astronaut candidacy. On June 7, 2017, Kim was one of the twelve candidates selected from over 18,300 applicants to become NASA Astronauts Group 22.

Kim reported for duty on 21 August 2017 and graduated from the training on January 10, 2020. NASA reveals that Kim will be working in the Astronaut Office while he waits for his flight assignment. On December 9, 2020, NASA officially choose Kim as one of the 18 astronauts to train for the Artemis Moon Landing Mission in 2025.

In April 2021, Kim was chosen as an Increment Lead for Expedition 65. Kim is just getting started with his career exploring the Cosmos and improving our knowledge about the Universe.


The inspiring story of Jonathan Kim should serve as a great motivation to every young person that anticipates attaining greater feats in life. Kim went from becoming a NAVY Seal to becoming a Physician and later became an astronaut before he even clock 40. This is to show you that you can reach any feat in life if you are determined and focused in life. What do you think about the inspiring story of NASA Astronaut Jonny Kim?

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