Introduce the Col. Young Oak Kim Congressional Gold Medal Act

The Congressional Gold Medal


The Congressional Gold Medal is one of the highest civilian awards in the United States. It seeks to honor those, individually or as a group, “who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient’s field long after the achievement. Awarding this most prestigious civilian honor befits Col. Young Oak Kim’s life of extraordinary heroism, leadership, and humanitarianism. Through his equally impactful military and civilian contributions, Kim exemplified a commitment to service to others that few other Americans have ever matched.


The contributions of Korean Americans have never been recognized by a Congressional Gold Medal or the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the two highest civilian awards in the United States. Congress can take the first step by enacting legislation to honor this World War II legend and community leader.

Who is Col. Young Oak Kim (1919 – 2005)


  • Courageous war hero, civic leader, and humble humanitarian.
  • Born in Los Angeles in 1919 to Korean American immigrants.
  • Fought in World War II and the Korean War.
  • During World War II, was the only Korean American in the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team, the famous Japanese American unit.
  • Served in the U.S. Army until 1972.
  • Founded several charitable, educational, and social service non-profit organizations in Southern California after his military retirement.

A Record of Patriotism and Service


  • Undertook a “suicide mission” in the 1944 Battle of Anzio during the liberation of Rome, Italy and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest U.S. military award.
  • Became commander of the First Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment during the Korean War, making him the first person of color officer to command an Army battalion on the battlefield in U.S. history.
  • Led his battalion to adopt an orphanage in Seoul, Korea of over 500 children who grew up to be successful innovators and leaders in the workforce.
  • Served as a U.S. military advisor to the Republic of Korea Army and established the first missile battalion of Korea.
  • Earned two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars, two Legions of Merit, and three Purple Hearts over his military career.
  • Founder, co-founder and founding member of the Korean American Museum; the Koreatown Youth Community Center, the Korean American Coalition; and the Korean Health, Education, Information, and Research Center.
  • Chairman of the Center for Asian Pacific Families, which, under his leadership, became the largest women’s shelter in Southern California in the 1990s.
  • Helped establish the Japanese American National Museum, the Go For Broke Memorial, and Go For Broke Educational Fund.

Learn More About Efforts to Introduce Legislation to Award the CGM to Col. Young Oak Kim

Contact: David L. Kim at (202) 573-3380 or email at