A middle school named for a Korean-American war hero will be set up in California this year. The Los Angeles Unified School District announced on Tuesday that Young Oak Kim Academy will open in the Koreatown area of the city in September. The late Colonel Kim Young-oak was a highly decorated member of the U.S. Army's 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team who served in World War II and the Korean War.
Born in Los Angeles, Colonel Kim was a second-generation Korean-American widely remembered for his wartime heroics. He was awarded medals from France, Italy, Korea and the U.S. for courageous and exemplary achievements. Following his discharge from the Army, Kim devoted the rest of his life to charity work, helping war orphans and young people. Dying at the age of 86 in 2006, he is one of the most admired figures in the history of Korean immigration to the U.S.
Young Oak Kim Academy is L.A.'s first middle school and third school overall named for a Korean, after Charles H. Kim Elementary and Mariposa-Nabi Primary Center. Its establishment is due in great part to the efforts of the Friends of Colonel Young Oak Kim, an organization founded in 2006 by a group seeking to commemorate the colonel's exemplary spirit. After organizing campaigns and sending numerous petitions to the local community and politicians, the organization's efforts have finally borne fruit.