Young-Oak Kim (2016 New American Hero Award – Colonel Young-Oak Kim, US Army)
Colonel Young-Oak Kim, US Army김영옥 대령 (1919 – December 29, 2005), a highly decorated U.S. Army combat veteran of World War II and the Korean War and a civic leader and humanitarian. He was a member of the U.S. 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and a combat leader in Italy and France during World War II. He was awarded 19 medals, including the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars, three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Medal of Military Valor, a Légion d’honneur, a Croix de guerre, and (posthumously) the Korean Taeguk Cordon of the Order of Military Merit. After his military career, Kim dedicated his life to public service and was an active founder and leader of several non-profit organizations for underserved communities throughout Southern California. He died of cancer at the age of 86. In May 2016, members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus held a press conference, organized by the Council of Korean Americans, to call on President Barack Obama to posthumously award Kim the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Mr. Sam Yoon, President, the Council of Korean Americans will receive the award as a beneficiary.