The Doctor/SEAL/Astronaut: Dr. Jonny Kim

2017 Astronaut Candidate - Dr. Jonny Kim
2017 NASA Astronaut Candidate – Jonny Kim. Photo Date: June 6, 2017. Location: Ellington Field – Hangar 276, Tarmac. Photographer: Robert Markowitz

Many parents dream of having their kids growing up to become a doctor. Many kids dream of growing up to become an astronaut. Jonny Kim is doing both. Meet the Harvard alumni, Doctor, Navy SEAL and one of the 2017 NASA Astronaut candidate Jonny Kim.

Korean-American Jonathan Kim was born and raised in America. His accomplishments in just 34 years include being a full-fledged Navy SEAL, a doctor, and most recently became an astronaut.

NAVY Seal Beginnings

He was first recruited as a seaman who signed up for the grueling SEAL training that took 2 years. Next, he went to Iraq as a member of SEAL Team 3. Here he served as a sniper, a combat medic as well as a navigator. In that time, he earned a Silver and Bronze Star with Combat “V” and finishing 100 combat missions.

The Path to Becoming a Doctor

During his time in the field, two of Jonny’s friends get shot in the face. That gave him the motivation to become a doctor. Even though he tried his best, he had no medical experience at the time. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough and he lost both of them. Consequently, he realized “there was a greater calling for him in medicine.”

Kim took his pre-doctorate courses at the University of San Diego. He graduated top of the class as summa cum laude. From there he went to Harvard Medical School and graduated in 2016.

Even then, that was not enough. So Jonny decided to take his achievements to the skies. With only a 0.067% percent chance, Kim passed the excruciatingly difficult training to become an astronaut.


“Jonny Kim was selected as a member of NASA’s 2017 astronaut class, nicknamed ‘the Turtles.’ Then he enlisted in the Navy as a Seaman recruit following graduation from Santa Monica High School in 2002. After completion of training at Naval Special Warfare, he was assigned as a Special Warfare Operator to SEAL Team THREE in San Diego, California. At this point, he served as a combat medic, sniper, navigator and point man. He went on more than 100 combat operations spanning two deployments to the Middle East before accepting the Navy’s commissioning program in 2009. Following his graduation from the University of San Diego in 2012, Jonny Kim was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps into the Medical Corps. At the time of his selection in June 2017, Kim was a resident physician in emergency medicine with Partners Healthcare at Massachusetts General Hospital.”

Credit: NASA

Learn more about Jonny Kim and/or the 2017 NASA astronaut candidates:

Click here to learn more about the NASA astronaut space program.

Click here to learn more about Jonny Kim’s journey with NASA.

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