Ever since he was a child, Jonny Kim, a highly decorated Navy SEAL and a graduate of Harvard Medical School, said he had always wanted to go to the moon.
Kim, 39, was among the 18 people NASA chose to take part in the training for its Artemis program, which has plans to put the first woman and possibly first person of color on the lunar surface in 2024.
Kim, who served as a combat medic for the Navy SEAL, could become the first Korean American to land on the moon.
“I wanted to go to space since I was a little child,” Kim told
“Good Morning America” as part of the network’s celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. “I did clearly have the Apollo 11 poster of those astronauts above my bed.”
During the interview, Kim admitted that he did not have a lot of confidence growing up. To combat that self-doubt, the Harvard graduate decided to enlist in the Navy.
“So the first dream I actually had was to enlist in the Navy and be a Navy SEAL and become the strong person that I wanted to become,” he said.
Besides being a combat medic, Kim also assumed the role of navigator, sniper and point man in his 100 operations and two deployments in the Middle East.
The process of jumping from being a Navy SEAL to a doctor and now astronaut was all due to one individual who suggested the idea to him.
“Just by happenstance, someone planted a seed that being a NASA astronaut filled all the same reasons I wanted to be a doctor, to inspire people, to make a positive impact in people’s lives,” Kim shared.
Kim noted that he never had an astronaut role model growing up despite having a poster of the Apollo 11 astronauts in his room.
Kim believes that becoming a beacon of inspiration for young AAPIs could help “unlock a potential that will make them be the very best version of themselves.”
If I can help people identify and relate – who are much younger than me – if they can see a little bit of themselves when they see Victor Glover or Christina Koch, then they can be a better version of themselves. And when everyone can do that, we’re going to be a stronger, better America. We’re going to be a stronger, better humanity.
Besides Kim, there are three other Asian Americans training for the NASA Artemis program, including Dr. Kjell N. Lindgren, Raja Chari and Jasmin Moghbeli.