Jocko Podcast 221: Jonny Kim. Navy SEAL, Doctor, Astronaut. The Unimaginable Path.


Jonathan Kim a.k.a. Jonny Kim (@JonnyKimUSA) is a United States Navy Lieutenant (former Navy SEAL), Physician, and Astronaut. He is a part of NASA Astronaut Group 22 graduating from training in January 2020.

Jonny Kim was the guest on the Jocko Podcast 221 where he discussed his life and lessons learned through his path.

Here are our takeaways from the conversation.


  • “I think everything you do in life should be for the right reasons”
  • “As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize that there is value for other people… for them to know that you can be born with bad cards, you don’t need to have it all. But you have a choice and the power to craft your own destiny, your own path.”
  • “I’m a firm believer that shared hardship and suffering is one of the best ways to bring people together towards a common goal to break down barriers to form a brotherhood/sisterhood.”
  • “We see things happen all the time that we know aren’t right…you just know deep down that it’s not right…I think it’s important to choose what battles you stand up for. But there are some battles that you should never ever stand down from.”
  • “How you craft your words is probably the most important thing you can do as a leader and a follower”
  • “I firmly believe that all people want good things. We just disagree on how to get from point A to point B and that’s where we mount our defenses and lose sight of the big picture.”
  • “If you can take a step back, remove your ego and emotion from the picture, and find common ground, that’s where you can influence and share your vision to complete your objective. That’s applicable in everything we do.”
  • “I don’t know too many things in life that are good things that are without risk”
  • “You should never think you’re too good to do a job”
  • “When you’re in the position to be able to help someone and it is for the right reasons and it is done responsibly, you should do that. It is the right human thing to do – is to help others on their path.”
  • “I am not a genius by any means. I consider myself very average physically, mentally. It is just that I feel that I can stick with the goals and have deferred gratification to help support me for my goals.”
  • “Working hard is all I know I can do to make up for any advantages natural or otherwise that I don’t have”
  • “It doesn’t matter where you’re from. With the right attitude, with the right hard work, if you get up every time you fail, you can amount to something…you can leave a positive mark for our world.”


  • “I don’t know that there is any greater motivation than ‘I don’t want to let my guys down’.”
  • “If you’re worrying about things you cannot control, you’re wasting your energy.”
  • “You learn from your mistakes and make adjustments”

Check it out – Jocko Willink Quotes


  • Jonny Kim was born in Los Angeles, California
  • His father came from a poor rural family in South Korea and his mother from a middle-class family in South Korea
  • Jonny’s father owned a liquor store like many South Koreans in Los Angeles and suffered from alcoholism
  • He and his brother, Jeffrey, experienced the physical and verbal abuse on their mother by their father
  • He came to know about Navy SEALs from his friend in High School and read ‘Men in Green Faces‘ by B. Abell Jurus and Gene Wentz and decided to become a Navy SEAL
  • On February 21, 2002, his father brought a gun home and had an altercation with his mother. Jonny Kim was hit with a dumbbell to the head when he tried to protect his mother. An altercation with the police resulted in Jonny’s father getting shot and killed.


  • Jonny Kim was a Swimmer and played Water Polo during High School and was prepared physically for US Navy SEAL selection
  • He went through US Navy Bootcamp at the age of 18
  • He graduated from BUD/s Training in 2003
  • After completing his Medic School, he was sent to SEAL Team 3
  • He was then sent to Sniper School and then showed up at the desert training facility of Task Unit Bruiser
  • He was the assistant navigator, point man, and sniper to Chris Kyle
  • Jonny was initially scared of war but he got into the mindset that he was going to die and that helped him perform during the deployments


  • Ryan Job, a fellow Navy SEAL was shot in the face, near the left eye on August 2nd, 2006
  • Jonny Kim stabilized Ryan and took him on an Army vehicle to Camp Ramadi
  • However, a stop at one of the stations before Camp Ramadi which was opposed by Jonny had a critical impact on Ryan’s condition as a nasopharyngeal airway (NPA) insertion by an Army physician assistant worsened the situation
  • While Jonny was with Ryan, another SEAL Marc Lee was shot and killed in combat
  • Jonny Kim says that the sacrifices by his teammates are what drive him do the things he’s doing in his life
  • Jonny Kim had a total of two deployments as a Navy SEAL


  • Jonny Kim went to the University of San Diego and majored in Mathematics
  • While the US Navy covered a portion of the College tuition for Jonny, he covered the rest by giving out parking tickets
  • He was accepted into the Harvard Medical School to study and become a physician
  • Jonny Kim had 3 children during his years at the University of San Diego and Harvard Medical School
  • He found it hard to find time for his growing family amidst the studies
  • Since he did not have a good way of letting out his emotions after the war, he let them out in less than helpful ways like punching walls and breaking things


  • Jonny Kim came across Scott Edward Parazynski, a NASA Astronaut and Physician and listened to one of his speeches
  • He researched the Astronaut selection at NASA and found that his qualifications matched the requirements
  • He applied for NASA and was one among 12 candidates selected from over 18,300 applications
  • Jonny Kim is not assigned to a crew for his flight assignment yet and is supporting the ongoing missions to the International Space Station
  • The Artemis Program predominantly carried out by NASA aims to put the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024 along with a long-term goal of sustained presence on the Moon with a lunar outpost by 2028







Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp