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Feb 2, 2023 | In The News

A man who broke racial barriers to go on to a successful career in the military is being considered for a Congressional Gold Medal.

Northwest Asian Weekly reports the four Korean American members of Congress introduced a bipartisan bill to award the honor to Colonel Young Oak Kim. He volunteered to enlist in the U.S. military in World War II, but was initially banned because he is Asian American, according to the four.

When the United States changed its policy, Kim joined the 100th Infantry Batallion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, according to Wikipedia. He went on to win 19 medals, including the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, two Bronze stars, three Purple Hearts and many more.

“Despite the barriers and racism he faced because of his heritage, Colonel Kim excelled in his service—both in our military and in our community. He is more than deserving of this high honor as a military hero during both World War II and the Korean War,” said Rep. Marilyn Strickland (D-WA).

RELATED: Lawmakers Urge President to Award Medal of Freedom to Asian American War Hero

His actions in WWII helped to liberate Rome after he secured information by infiltrating German territory. The Army awarded him the Distinguished Service Cross for his valor.

“I am humbled to use my voice to honor him, just as he told me to honor our shared name, our country and duty to public service,” said Rep. Young Kim (R-CA). “I am glad that all Korean American members of Congress could come together to work to award him this belated and well-deserved Congressional Gold Medal.”

Kim rejoined the U.S. Army when the Korean War began.

The two other members of Congress who introduced the resolution are Reps Andy Kim (D-NJ) and Michelle Steel (R-CA).

Col. Kim died in 2005.


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