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"You are in a support role, as Marine Air, and your job is to make sure that you knock out your target so they don’t hurt your Marines on the ground." (Audio interview, 50:02)

   Jaden J. Kim
Image of Jaden J. Kim
Jaden Kim in flight gear
War: Afghan War, 2001-; Iraq War, 2003-2011
Branch: Marine Corps; Marine Corps
Unit: VMFA(AW)-121 (Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron), 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF)
Rank: Captain
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The first time that Marine Corps Captain Jaden Kim rode in a military aircraft, she nearly fell out of it in her excitement. Her passion for aviation led her to train as a “backseater”—a weapons system officer who coordinated target locations. Deploying first in 2002, she took part in Operation Enduring Freedom, flying missions over Afghanistan for six months; she deployed again in 2003 to assist in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In her interview, she discusses her sense of profound obligation and dedication to the ground troops she was supporting.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (12 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio (58 min.)
»Transcript
  Photos
»Photo Album (1 photo)
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»Current Conflicts: Afghanistan and Iraq
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (12 items)
Reporting to Quantico for Officer Candidate School (OCS); rigors of OCS. (02:49) Daily life and living conditions during OCS. (03:52) Description of daily workouts and military jargon. (01:28)
Training with massive amounts of gear; learning the importance of attention to detail. (02:17) Experience training with an all-female platoon. (01:21) Learning that aviation was open to women; applying to flight school; getting in. (02:41)
Advanced training; deployments overseas. (03:44) Arriving at Al-Jaber Air Base in Kuwait; extreme cold; primitive conditions. (00:32) Description of her typical schedule as a night flier; mission planning; typical mission. Description of her typical schedule as a night flier; mission planning; typical mission. Description of her typical schedule as a night flier; mission planning; typical mission. Description of her typical schedule as a night flier; mission planning; typical mission. (04:25)
Description of response to flying missions in Iraq and being shot out; her focus on achieving mission goals overrode fear. (03:02) Feeling concern for troops on ground while she was flying missions; sometimes feeling powerless to help. (03:51) Importance of flight support staff to accomplishing missions; acknowledging that they are unsung heroes. (02:08)
  
 

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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