Cpt. Paul Lee Kim, an American military volunteer in Ukraine, died while liberating Mykolaiv from the Russian invasion.
Born in Houston, Kim was a foreign legionnaire who served for 12 years in the U.S. Army. He was also an infantry officer, an 82nd Airborne paratrooper and an ROTC instructor, Coffee or Die reports.
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24, Kim joined the International Legion of Territorial Defense in August amidst the start of Ukraine’s counter-attack and acquired full serviceman status.
“Unless we stop them here, we’ll end up fighting them in the West,” Kim stated, according to Leadership.
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The circumstances surrounding Kim’s death were shared by Spravdi, the Ukrainian government’s strategic communication center.
Kilo — Kim’s call sign — and his unit were fighting in the southern direction of the Mykolaiv Oblast region, which had been captured by the Russians. Although Ukrainian soldiers captured 12 enemy soldiers, the violent battle near Ternovi Pody resulted in a massive shelling by the Russians. Kim and another Ukrainian soldier were unable to escape the attack. The International Legion eternalized Kim’s memory by renaming his unit “Team Kilo.”
Kim’s passing was announced by global affairs analyst Enifome Emesakoru on Oct. 5, just two days before his 35th birthday.
Kim’s body was brought to Kyiv before traveling to his final resting place in the United States to be laid to rest with full military honors.
According to his obituary, 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 filled everyone’s life around him with pure love and joy. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him.”
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Kim is survived by his parents, brother, extended family members and friends.
The U.S. Army Veteran was laid to rest on Nov. 4 in Greenwood Chapel. His interment was held on the same day at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.