This month, NASA’s group of 12 candidates begin their two-year training program to become the nation’s next generation of astronauts. Among them is Jonny Kim, a physician and former special operator with the Navy SEALs.
Kim enlisted in the Navy in 2002 and entered Naval Special Warfare Training Center in Coronado, Calif. After graduation, he was assigned to SEAL Team Three in San Diego, where he served as a combat medic, sniper, navigator, and point man on 100 combat missions during his two tours in the Middle East. Kim was awarded both the Silver Star and the Bronze Star with the Combat “V” device for valor as well as the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with the Combat “V.”
Kim’s astronaut training focuses on “International Space Station systems, robotics, Russian language, flying T-38 training jets, and spacewalk training,” Brandi Dean of NASA’s public affairs office informs OpsLens.
“In addition, they’ll have activities that build what we call expeditionary skills – things like leadership, followership, team care, and communication,” Dean adds.
All traits Kim undoubtedly excelled at as a member of Naval Special Warfare.
Once he completes his two-year training program, Kim will be considered a “full astronaut” and is eligible for mission assignment, with the possibly of a trip to Mars not yet out of the question.
However, Kim will not be the first, or even the second SEAL that NASA found to have “the right stuff.”
The Discovery Channel has three videos of Gemini VI and VII (links below):
Even a couple of blind squirrels can find a nut every once in a while.
Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins (both Republicans from Maine) have co-sponsored a resolution to honor decorated Navy SEAL and astronaut, Commander Chris Cassidy.
Cassidy’s bio at NASA is well worth reading (just a few highlights listed here)
Cassidy is a 1993 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy… Honorman (the top graduate) of BUD/S Class 192… received a master’s degree in ocean engineering from M.I.T. in 2000… Deployed to Afghanistan two weeks after Sept. 11… Awarded the Bronze Star with combat ‘V’ and Presidential Unit Citation for leading a 9-day operation at the Zharwar Kili cave complex – a national priority objective directly on the Afghan/Pakistan border… Awarded a second Bronze Star for service in Afghanistan in 2004…
With a SEAL on the Space Shuttle, the U.S. has finally put a weapon in space – one the Chinese don’t have the ability to destroy.