First generation Airman takes pride in heritage

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

“I take pride in being first generation military,” said Airman 1st Class Hyo Kim, a SharePoint administrator and knowledge manager assigned to the 6th Communications Squadron. “I do it for my family who has done so much for me.”

At the age of two, Kim moved to the United States with his family from South Korea. He grew up in Fairfax, Virginia and lived there until joining the Air Force.

“I was told by my dad that he wanted a better future for us so we immigrated here,” said Kim. “My parents came from nothing and worked hard for my sister and me to grow up in the U.S. without any problems.”

Kim’s original goal was to play college football after high school, but his parents gave him the idea of enlisting in the military instead.

“At first I was skeptical and wasn’t really sure, but thanks to my parents, I don’t regret one second of it,” said Kim. “My mom helped me stay disciplined until I shipped out.”

Kim enlisted when he was 19 years old.

“My parents, aunts, and uncles are very proud that I am the first one to be in the Air Force,” said, Kim. “And my sister is next, she will be enlisting next year.”

Kim’s next set of goals involve finishing school to become an officer and eventually become a pilot.

“Kim came into the Air Force highly motivated,” said Staff Sgt. Stephen Morphis, the NCO in charge of SharePoint and publications assigned to the 6th CS. “Being a Knowledge Manager in today's Air Force requires a certain mindset that Kim possesses.”

Morphis also shared that Kim is always the first to raise his hand to volunteer for base and community events. Recently, Kim participated as a member of the Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage committee and helped coordinate and execute the AAPI heritage celebration earlier in May.

“In his short time here at MacDill so far, he has shown a tremendous amount of dedication and has embraced the ‘whole Airman concept,’” said Morphis.

Aside from his hard work here at MacDill, Kim places a lot of worth on family values.

“Respecting elders and people older than me, and caring for family was a big deal growing up,” said Kim.

According to Kim, his family still holds on to a few South Korean traditions and practices.

“I always ate with chopsticks and when our birthdays would come around we would eat this type of soup along with other Korean dishes,” said Kim. “New Years was my favorite because we would all gather and bow to our grandparents, aunts, and uncles and in return, we get money.”

Kim will visit South Korea next year for the first time since moving to the U.S.

“I finally get to see my grandma who went back to Korea when I was eight,” said Kim. “I’m also excited to see how different it is from the U.S.; it’s going to be a culture shock for me.”