Following her dreams -- and her brother -- into military

April 07, 2003|By Fay Lande

Last year, Mary Kim enlisted in the Maryland Army National Guard. "It's really my brother who got me to do this," she said. "He's 31. He's in the Persian Gulf now. He enlisted last year."

The events of Sept. 11 and the prospect of war on Iraq also prompted Kim to make the trip Dec. 14 to the Military Entrance Processing Station on Coca Cola Drive in the Dorsey Industrial Center, off Route 100.

"If it's going to happen, I'd love to be part of it," she said. "I'm not one of these people who can kind of sit back and let things happen. I'm not afraid to go out there. I'm not afraid to fight for my country. This is the best time as any - if you're going to see action, you're going to see it now."

Kim, 30, grew up in Ellicott City. She went to Centennial Lane Elementary, Dunloggin Middle and Centennial High schools. She attended Goucher College on a trustee scholarship and holds a master's degree in health science from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. She works at Anne Arundel Medical Center, analyzing clinical and financial data.

"I love my job. I love my hospital," she said. "What's the next step? Let's join the Army!"

Her parents had mixed feelings. Kim's mother owns K-Florist on U.S. 40. Her father is a psychiatrist at Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville.

"My mom was really upset by it all," Kim said. "My parents grew up in South Korea. My dad had to serve in the Army for about three years, so to him it's not a big deal. He obviously knew my brother could do it. We're 30, pretty much at the age where we do what we want to do. I also think they understand - I mean, they love this country as much as we do."

Last month, Kim spent the weekend as Private Kim at Soldier Readiness Battalion at Camp Fretterd Military Reservation in Reisterstown. She'll go to boot camp in August and hopes to attend Officer Candidate School.

"It's a great force to be part of. It's a little scary," she said. "I don't regret it. I don't think I'll ever regret it. I'm trying not to put much thought into it. I'm in it for the next eight years."

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