Operation Afghanistan: Soldier puts musical dreams on hold to answer call to duty

Army Spc. Sion Kim put his dreams of being a concert violinist on rest to serve in the U.S....
Army Spc. Sion Kim put his dreams of being a concert violinist on rest to serve in the U.S. Army. (Albert Lutan / KTUU) (KTUU)
Published: Feb. 7, 2018 at 5:51 PM AKST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

As a kid, we all have dreams. Some of us want to be a doctor, actor, or professional athlete. Although life doesn't always work out the way we plan, one soldier from JBER's 4-25 brigade proves it's never too late to pursue a dream.

Spc. Sion Kim, 27, is a medic with the 4-25's Area Response Force deployed to Afghanistan. He and his platoon are constantly on call, ready to respond in a matter of minutes if an aircraft goes down anywhere in Afghanistan. The platoon is trained to disassemble aircraft, prepare sling loads and cut aircraft to remove people, but Spc. Kim's specific role is to keep those injured alive.

"My job is to make sure those people in the down aircraft have the best chance to survive and get to higher care," said Spc. Kim.

Though he loves his job, being a medic in the Army wasn't always his dream. His dream, since he was 9 years old, was to travel the world as a concert violinist, and while he's focused on his platoon's current mission, he isn't ready to give up on what he truly loves.

"I just loved it," said Spc. Kim. "As soon as I started to play the violin, I always wanted to do something with it."

He took lessons, went to high school for music, then college at UCLA for violin performance, and was planning to continue his training at a music school in New York.

Originally from South Korea, Kim says he couldn't afford music school in New York. Instead, he put his dream on a brief hold to do something else he always wanted to do-- serve the country that gave him the opportunity to receive citizenship and education.

Though he admittedly doesn't play as much as he would like, Kim says he breaks out the violin a few times each week, playing for about an hour each time.

"I like to play in my room, but when I notice the guys are getting a little annoyed, I come in to the gym," said Kim. "The thing about violin is if you don't play in a while, you just lose everything you have."

Armed with a $60 violin and $25 bow he bought off Amazon to get him through his deployment, he plays. He plays anywhere and everywhere, even at times taking requests, and putting on a show for his fellow soldiers lifting weights.

"It's a little out of place here at an infantry gym in the middle of Bagram Air Field," said Capt. Justin Purser, 3rd Infantry Division, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade. "You hear that sound and the sound kind of strikes you. You stop and you just have to listen to it because it draws you in, it's enthralling."

Spc. Kim still has another two years of service in the Army to complete. He says once he's done in 2020, he plans to continue pursuing his dream of traveling the world and performing as a concert violinist.