Korean-born Jeong Kim came to the United States as a teenager, speaking only limited English and with a passion for learning. Awarded a college scholarship, he earned a part-ownership in a computer start-up company and a commission as a submarine officer. Today, Dr. Kim is president of Bell Labs, a division of Alcatel-Lucent, and a multimillionaire. The Navy helped launch his career.
I joined the Navy because, as an immigrant grateful for having thrived in the United States, I wanted to do something to repay the country that had done so much for me. As it turned out, after seven years as a naval officer, I gained as much as I gave.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, I immigrated with my family to the United States in 1975, when I was 14. At the time, I spoke practically no English, and life for me in my new country was difficult. Two years later, I left home. To support myself, I worked full-time at a convenience store during the night while attending high school during the day.