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NASA Picks Former Navy SEAL, Harvard Grad For Astronaut Training

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NASA selected decorated former Navy SEAL and Harvard Medical School graduate Dr. Jonny Kim to begin the process of becoming an astronaut Wednesday.

Kim will report for duty to the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class this coming August after a long career in the Navy, which placed him in more than 100 combat operations, according to an announcement from NASA. Kim enlisted in the Navy after graduating from Santa Monica High School in 2002, at which point he completed training at Naval Special Warfare and joined SEAL Team Three in San Diego.

While serving as a SEAL, Kim earned the Silver Star and Bronze Star with Combat “V” and deployed to the Middle East twice, where he was a combat medic, sniper, navigator and point man.

After finishing his time as a SEAL, Kim decided to enroll at the University of San Diego and get a degree in mathematics summa cum laude before moving on to Harvard Medical School, where he received a Doctorate of Medicine in 2016. He now works as a resident physician at Massachusetts General Hospital-Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

“The team of emergency medicine physicians, orthopedic surgeons and nurses saved my friend’s life. That’s when I realized there was a greater calling for me, and that calling was medicine,” he said in a video describing why he decided to go into the medical field.

All candidates will report in August for a two-year training program at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Only 358 astronauts have been accepted since 1959.

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