Paul Kim, a 12-year US Army veteran, died on Oct. 5, 2022, in Ukraine while fighting Russian troops. Photo from Legacy.com. Composite by Matt White/Coffee or Die Magazine.
Paul Kim was an enlisted soldier who became an infantry officer, an 82nd Airborne paratrooper, and an ROTC instructor for college students hoping to follow in his footsteps.
On Oct. 5, he was killed fighting in Ukraine, in combat in Mykolaiv, fighting with that country’s International Legion of Territorial Defense, according to the Ukrainian government.
Officials at a funeral home in Fort Worth, Texas, confirmed to Coffee or Die Magazine that a funeral Mass for Kim would be held Friday, Nov. 4. Kim was two days shy of his 35th birthday when he died.
According to Spravdi, the strategic communication center for the Ukrainian government, Kim died while battling Russian troops near Ternovi Pody, a small settlement in the Mykolaiv region.
Kim and a Ukrainian soldier were killed during heavy shelling in a “particularly violent battle” involving artillery, tanks, and armored vehicles, according to Spravdi.
Paul Kim, a former US soldier, died while fighting in Ukraine on Oct. 5, 2022. Photos from the Ukrainian Centre for Strategic Communication. Composite by Jenna Biter/Coffee or Die Magazine.
The settlement is about an hour northwest of Kherson, where the Ukrainian military has been waging a counteroffensive against Russian troops since late August.
Kim, whose call sign was “Kilo,” joined the International Legion of Territorial Defense — Ukraine’s foreign military unit — in August, just ahead of the counteroffensive.
According to an obituary published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Wednesday, Kim was “passionate in traveling, learning and teaching about history and culture, and was a foodie. He was selfless and always put others before himself. He loved Oklahoma football, dad jokes, puns, and his friends and family. Paul was a devoted Catholic and active in his church community.”
Army officials confirmed to Coffee or Die that Kim served in the Army for 12 years. He enlisted in the Army Reserve in 2005 and was commissioned as an active-duty infantry officer in 2011. He served with the 82nd Airborne Division from February 2013 to July 2015 before leaving the military in 2017, Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Hewitt said.
Kim deployed to Iraq from June 2007 to May 2008, Hewitt said, and was a graduate of the University of Oklahoma.
He then taught military science to ROTC students at the University of Texas Arlington, officials at the school confirmed to Coffee or Die.
Kim is survived by both of his parents and a brother, his obituary said.
Kim’s funeral Mass will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Friday at Greenwood Chapel, 3100 White Settlement Road, Fort Worth, Texas. The Mass will be open to the public, a chapel official said.
Kim’s interment will be held at 2 p.m. at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.
Read Next: Born Into War: A Ukrainian Family’s Birth and Survival Story
Jenna Biter is a staff writer at Coffee or Die Magazine. She has a master’s degree in national security and is a Russian language student. When she’s not writing, Jenna can be found reading classics, running, or learning new things, like the constellations in the night sky. Her husband is on active duty in the US military. Know a good story about national security or the military? Email Jenna.
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