Harry Kim: A legacy of service to the Far East District and beyond
In late November we learned of the passing of a former United States Army Corps of Engineers, Far East District employee who served for decades with the Far East District and for more than 50 years in the U.S. government. Harry Kim, who served as the district’s chief of contracting between 1989 and 2012 and served in contracting as a retired annuitant until 2015, is remembered as an outstanding leader and a good friend.
“He was well-respected and admired by many, and will always be a part of the FED legacy,” said David Kim, a procurement analyst in the district’s contracting division.
Kim started his government service in 1952 when he volunteered for the U.S. Army, then in the middle of the Korean War, in an effort to join the fight and do what he could for his parents and close relatives in Korea. Although he tried to get to Korea, the Army decided to send him to Kentucky, where he served 24 months at the Armor School, Foreign Liaison Section, Fort Knox. There he served as an interpreter for visiting Republic of Korea (ROK) armor officers receiving training under the exchange military students program.
Following his Army service, Kim attended the University of Illinois at Urbana, majoring in business administration. During his junior year Kim returned to Korea to see his ailing father. After his father’s passing, Kim took a job at the Korea Procurement Agency (KPA), as a special assistant to the legal staff.
During his 17 years of service at KPA, Kim served as a contracting officer with an unlimited warrant responsibility for all phases of contracting services, supplies, construction and cost type contracts for the repair and maintenance for U.S. Forces Korea.
During the Vietnam conflict, Kim was responsible for procuring all items such as camouflage uniforms and jungle shoes in support of Korean troops deployed in Vietnam. For his efforts of timely execution of contracts, Kim was commended by various ROK and U.S. government agencies.
When he came to the Far East District in 1989 as the chief of contracting Kim’s interaction with Korean contractors, his knowledge of Korean laws, customs and economic conditions contributed to the success of the district in accomplishing its mission.
During his 22 years as the district’s contracting chief he processed and approved about 9,000 contract actions, awarded about $4.6 billion in actual contracts and executed the Program Management Consortium for the Yongsan Relocation Program.
“I do not regret even one minute of my association with this great organization or what I have done, but am proud to be a part of the great professionals that make up the Corps,” said Kim in 2008.
Mike Feighny, retired district counsel, considered Kim an esteemed colleague and a great friend. Feighny said that he first met Kim when he was on active duty in 1982.
“He was a dedicated public servant to both the U.S. and Republic of Korea and its alliance,” said Feighny. “Honest and hardworking. He expected his people to work hard as well. Harry was very effective at dealing with contractors and talking straight to them and getting things done.” said Feighny. “He was very highly respected in the Korean community.”
Feighny recalled the friendship that he shared with Kim and the funny moments that made their bond unique.
“Both Harry and I were hard of hearing so we would sit in the snack bar during lunch and yell at each other,” said Feighny. “Sometimes we couldn’t understand each other but that didn’t stop us from trying.”
Kim leaves behind a legacy of hard work and dedication which continues to resonate through the district.