Colonel Young Oak Kim
Colonel Young Oak Kim was commissioned as an Infantry Officer upon graduation from Infantry Officer Candidate School Class 162-A at Fort Benning, Georgia, in January of 1943. This was predated by two years of enlisted service as a mechanic. He reported to his first duty assignment as a Platoon Leader, 2nd PLT, Co B, with the Japanese American 100th “Purple Heart” Infantry Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment. COL Kim was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for heroism during World War II.
CITATION: For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving Headquarters Company, 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate), attached to the 34th Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces near Cisterna, Italy, on 16 May 1944. First Lieutenant Kim, accompanied by one enlisted man, voluntarily went on a patrol to secure information of enemy units and dispositions in a vital sector of the front. All previous patrols of combat strength had attempted without success to take prisoners in this well defended sector. First Lieutenant Kim and his assistant infiltrated approximately 800 yards through the enemy line of outposts. While observing enemy dispositions, he discovered a strong enemy outpost situated in a small ditch. To reach this outpost, First Lieutenant Kim and his assistant, in broad daylight, crawled 250 yards across an open field, exposed to enemy observation from the German main line of resistance on the commanding slope of their rear. Arriving at a point near the outpost, they surprised two Germans armed with machine pistols who were acting as security. By use of signs, First Lieutenant Kim warned the enemy to remain quiet. He retraced his perilous route with the two prisoners and successfully by-passed two enemy listening posts to arrive at his own lines. First Lieutenant Kim's courageous and daring performance provided vital information and identification of enemy units in a critical sector of the front.
His subsequent duty assignments include: HHC, 100th IN BN, 34th ID; S-3, 100th IN BN, 34th ID; S-3, 100th IN BN, 442nd Regimental Combat Team; S-2/3 31st IN RGT, 7th ID; Commander, 1-31 IN RGT, 7th ID.
His military education and training include: Infantry Officer Candidate School, Command and General Staff College, Senior Officer Advanced Operations Course, United States Army Special Warfare School, Senior Officer Counterinsurgency and Special Warfare Orientation Course.
COL Kim's military awards and decorations include: Distinguished Service Cross; Silver Star (w/OLC); Legion of Merit (w/OLC); Bronze Star; Purple Heart (w/2 OLC); Army Commendation Medal (w/OLC); World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal (w/OLC); Korean Service Medal (w/bronze star), Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon (w/6 bars), French Croix de Guerre, Italian Military Valor Cross, UN Medal, Presidential Unit Citation (w/3OLC), and the Combat Infantryman Badge (2nd award).