Johnathon Kupka


Kupka, a Special Forces officer, exults in a training jump at the eastern edge of Seoul in 2010. U.S. Army photo

Left: Kupka with U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in 2010. Kupka collection

Right: Kupka with his grandparents and other family members at the DMZ above Seoul. Kupka collection

Lt. Col. Johnathon Moon Kupka, U.S. Army Special Forces, is the son of a Korean War refugee, Moonbeam Kupka, and a former American Army officer. Only 42, he commands the Army’s largest battalion—more than 6,000 soldiers.

A graduate of Pacific Lutheran University, Kupka earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Kansas in 2015 for a dissertation exploring the “warrior class” in the armed services and the way society perceives and stereotypes the military. Twice stationed in Korea, Kupka is proficient in the language.