Young-Oak Kim was born in Los Angeles County, California back in 1919 to Soon and Nora. He graduated from Belmont High School, before attending Los Angeles City College for a year. He was drafted into the United States Army in 1941. He was first assigned as an engineer before being selected for the Infantry Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia.
After graduation, he was assigned to the U.S. 100th Infantry Battalion from Hawaii. He was sent to Italy, where he was wounded and awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart. Being promoted to first lieutenant he participated in the Battle of Monte Cassion. He and Private First Class Irving Akahoshi captured some German soldiers, their information led him to receive the U.S. Distinguished Service Cross and the Italian Bronze Medal of Military Valor in 1944. He also served during the Korean War. He served his country for 30 years, before retiring on disability. He died in 2005, he was 86.
What you may not know about Kim is that he was the first Asian-American to command a battalion in combat.
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