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Col. Kim Young-oak inducted into the Hall of Honor

Posted May. 19, 2023 08:05,   

Updated May. 22, 2023 17:07


Col. Kim Young-oak, a Korean-American who voluntarily enlisted in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and the first Asian American to ever command a battalion in combat, has been inducted into the Command and General Staff College Hall of Fame for his decorated service, according to the United States Army Combined Arms Center (USACAC) on Wednesday.

Located in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, USACAC was established in 1881 to provide leadership and supervision for field grade officers and professional military education.

Col. Kim is one of the 10 Korean War heroes jointly selected by the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs and the Korea-U.S. Combined Forces, marking the 70th anniversary of the Korea-U.S. alliance. Born in Los Angeles in 1919, Col. Kim fought in World War II and the Korean War.

Kim left the Army after World War II but rejoined in 1950 when the Korean War broke out. He served in the 31st Infantry of the 7th Infantry Division and became the first Asian American to command a battalion in combat. During the Chinese spring offensive in May 1951, Kim led the unit and first reached the south of the Hantan River (the Kansas Line) among UN troops.

Kim helped some 500 Korean War orphans. After retiring from the Army in 1972, Kim dedicated his life to helping domestic violence victims; women forced into sexual servitude by the Japanese army and Korean adoptees. He died in December 2005 at the age of 86.

“USACAC is an institution where the best of best military officers are trained and educated. It is a proud history of Korean Americans that Col. Kim became the first Asian American to be inducted in the Hall of Honor,” Professor Jang Tae-han, who translated Col. Kim’s biography, attended the induction ceremony and gave a congratulatory remark.