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The Battle of Monte Cassino: COL Young Oak Kim Part I

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Manage episode 405139326 series 2888615
Indhold leveret af Robert Kirk and Evergreen Podcasts | The Honor Project. Alt podcastindhold inklusive episoder, grafik og podcastbeskrivelser uploades og leveres direkte af Robert Kirk and Evergreen Podcasts | The Honor Project eller deres podcastplatformspartner. Hvis du mener, at nogen bruger dit ophavsretligt beskyttede værk uden din tilladelse, kan du følge processen beskrevet her https://da.player.fm/legal.

In this first part of his interview, COL Kim talks about joining the Army, serving as a Korean American in World War II, and the Battle of Monte Cassino

Young Oak Kim was born in Los Angeles to a Korean family in 1919. He tried enlisting prior to World War II, but was denied due to his race. When war finally broke out in Europe, Congress passed the Selective Training Service Act of 1940, requiring all men between the ages of 21 and 45, regardless of race, to register for the draft. Kim was among the first group of men allied up, and he entered the Army in January 1941.

Racism, exacerbated by Japan’s role in the war, was commonplace both in and out of the military. Despite proving himself to be an exceptional shooter during training, Kim was initially denied the opportunity to fight in the war because he had the “wrong color skin and wrong color eyes”. Eventually, Kim’s skill was recognized by his superiors and he was elected for Officer Candidate School, graduating in February 1943.

From there, Kim was assigned as the second platoon leader of Company B, 100th Infantry Battalion. The 100th was a racially segregated unit composed mostly of second generation Japanese Americans (known as Nisei) from Hawaii. Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor, the 100th was removed from Hawaii and sent to the mainland for training.

Kim and the 100th Infantry Battalion were sent to Italy in September of 1943. They fought in the Battle of Monte Cassino and the Battle of Anzio, and earned the nickname “The Purple Heart Battalion” due their high casualty rate. Kim was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross for an incredible midnight infiltration mission, which he talks about in the next episode.

After leaving Italy, the 100th Infantry Battalion became part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, another segregated Nisei regiment, and sent to France. Kim was injured by enemy fire at Biffontaine, and was sent back to the US, later earning a Silver Star and the French Croix de Guerre for his actions in France. Germany surrendered before he was able to return.

Kim left the Army following World War II, but when war broke out in Korea, he rejoined. He commanded a South Korean guerrilla unit, and was awarded another Silver Star for his actions there.

Kim left Korea in 1952. He then worked as an instructor at Fort Benning, and at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. He retired in 1972 at the rank of colonel as one of the most highly decorated Asian American soldiers in U.S. history with a total of 19 medals.

The 100th also made history, becoming one of the most highly decorated units of World War II.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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190 episoder

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Manage episode 405139326 series 2888615
Indhold leveret af Robert Kirk and Evergreen Podcasts | The Honor Project. Alt podcastindhold inklusive episoder, grafik og podcastbeskrivelser uploades og leveres direkte af Robert Kirk and Evergreen Podcasts | The Honor Project eller deres podcastplatformspartner. Hvis du mener, at nogen bruger dit ophavsretligt beskyttede værk uden din tilladelse, kan du følge processen beskrevet her https://da.player.fm/legal.

In this first part of his interview, COL Kim talks about joining the Army, serving as a Korean American in World War II, and the Battle of Monte Cassino

Young Oak Kim was born in Los Angeles to a Korean family in 1919. He tried enlisting prior to World War II, but was denied due to his race. When war finally broke out in Europe, Congress passed the Selective Training Service Act of 1940, requiring all men between the ages of 21 and 45, regardless of race, to register for the draft. Kim was among the first group of men allied up, and he entered the Army in January 1941.

Racism, exacerbated by Japan’s role in the war, was commonplace both in and out of the military. Despite proving himself to be an exceptional shooter during training, Kim was initially denied the opportunity to fight in the war because he had the “wrong color skin and wrong color eyes”. Eventually, Kim’s skill was recognized by his superiors and he was elected for Officer Candidate School, graduating in February 1943.

From there, Kim was assigned as the second platoon leader of Company B, 100th Infantry Battalion. The 100th was a racially segregated unit composed mostly of second generation Japanese Americans (known as Nisei) from Hawaii. Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor, the 100th was removed from Hawaii and sent to the mainland for training.

Kim and the 100th Infantry Battalion were sent to Italy in September of 1943. They fought in the Battle of Monte Cassino and the Battle of Anzio, and earned the nickname “The Purple Heart Battalion” due their high casualty rate. Kim was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross for an incredible midnight infiltration mission, which he talks about in the next episode.

After leaving Italy, the 100th Infantry Battalion became part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, another segregated Nisei regiment, and sent to France. Kim was injured by enemy fire at Biffontaine, and was sent back to the US, later earning a Silver Star and the French Croix de Guerre for his actions in France. Germany surrendered before he was able to return.

Kim left the Army following World War II, but when war broke out in Korea, he rejoined. He commanded a South Korean guerrilla unit, and was awarded another Silver Star for his actions there.

Kim left Korea in 1952. He then worked as an instructor at Fort Benning, and at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. He retired in 1972 at the rank of colonel as one of the most highly decorated Asian American soldiers in U.S. history with a total of 19 medals.

The 100th also made history, becoming one of the most highly decorated units of World War II.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  continue reading

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