Friday, November 17, 2006
Local soldier killed in Iraq
A private first class dies from injuries after an explosion.
By SUSHMA SUBRAMANIAN, ELLYN PAK and ADAM TOWNSEND
The Orange County Register
PLACENTIA – Jang Ho Kim never wanted his family to worry.
When his parents called him from their home in Placentia and asked where he was, he would never say he was in Baghdad, a war-torn city.
The private first class always told them he was just outside Baghdad.
"He always worried about his parents worrying," one of Kim's pastors, David Gyusik Song, said Thursday night.
The day before, the parents had heard the worst possible news.
Kim – a member of the Army's 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division – died Monday from injuries suffered when a homemade bomb exploded near his vehicle during a combat operation in Baghdad.
He was 20.
The blast also killed another U.S. soldier, Pfc. Daniel J. Allman II, 20, of Canon, Ga.
"My heart is empty, but I'm consoled because our son, Jang Ho, believed in God," his mother, Sang Soon Kim, said in Korean in a brief telephone interview Thursday.
Kim joined the Army last year. He wanted a challenge. A year into Fullerton College, he believed enlisting in the military and going to war would give him direction, the pastor said in his office at Grace Korean Church in Fullerton.
"He wanted to find his life's way – his sort of vision," said Song, who had known Kim for years.
Church officials, who were saddened by the news of Kim's death, remembered him as a bright, kind, intelligent man.
"He's so calm," Song said. "He always had a smile, and he wanted to help everyone."
Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea. The family immigrated to the U.S. in 1990 and lived in New York before moving to Orange County, The Korea Times reported.
His father, Seop Bae Kim, is a manager at a Samsung Electronics office in Irvine and an elder at Grace Korean Church. The soldier's mother is a church evangelist.
"When we heard the news, we wondered why us … and we felt resentment," his father told The Korea Times. "But we're proud that the blood that our son spilled will spread the Gospel in the Islamic nation."
Kim dreamed of designing computer games one day, Song said.
Kim, who attended Valencia High School in Placentia, joined the Army in June 2005.
He joked with his parents about his decision to be stationed in Iraq instead of Korea. He was sent to Iraq in August after a stint in Germany.
Her son called last week to tell her that he probably wouldn't be able to go on a along with his family on a trip to Korea in February.
There was probably something wrong, she thought.
CONTACT US: Register staff writer Jeff Rowe contributed to this report. 714-704-3796 or email@example.com
Copyright 2006 The Orange County Register
FAITHFUL: Seop Bae Kim, left, and Sang Soon Kim said they were comforted because their son believed in God and proud because his death would spread Christianity.
COURTESY OF THE KOREA TIMES
DUTIFUL SON: Jang Ho Kim tried not to worry his parents, Seop Bae Kim, left, and Sang Soon Kim, of Placentia.
COURTESY OF THE KOREA TIMES