To his little sister Esther, Army Sgt. Daniel Lim was like a “second mom.” Devoted to his family, Lim spent his first military paycheck on designer goods for his parents and routinely seemed to care more about them and his fellow soldiers than himself.
“He never said ‘no,’ ” his mother recalled. “He always said ‘OK.’ ”
FOR THE RECORD:
Military obituary: An obituary in the Oct. 17 California section gave the wrong name for the father of Army Sgt. Daniel Lim of Cypress. His correct name is Woo Bang Lim, not Bang Woo Lim. —
The 23-year-old, who had his beloved sister’s name tattooed on his chest, died July 24 in Afghanistan. He and three other soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb as they drove through Qalat, the capital of southern Zabol province, known for its 19th century British fortress.
Lim was a driver and missile specialist assigned to the 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Fires Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., an Army-Air Force complex.
He died only a few weeks after visiting his family on leave. Also killed in the blast were Staff Sgt. Conrad A. Mora, 24, of San Diego; Spc. Joseph A. Bauer, 27, of Cincinnati; and Pfc. Andrew L. Hand, 25, of Enterprise, Ala.
Lim, who grew up in Cypress, attended Patton Elementary School and Bell Intermediate School before graduating in 2005 from Pacifica High School in Garden Grove, where he had a reputation as a solid student.
Interested in teaching and mechanical engineering, Lim took classes at Cal State Long Beach, but decided to leave school during his freshman year and join the Army. He received his basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., and instruction in missile systems at Ft. Sill, Okla.
After serving 31 months in South Korea, Lim arrived at Lewis-McChord in May 2009. Five months later, his battalion headed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. It was Lim’s first combat tour.
“He really wanted to be a soldier,” said his mother, Soon Lim of Yorba Linda. “My son had a strong soldier’s spirit. He made sergeant in four years and received lots of medals and awards. He was happy in the Army.”
Years before entering the service, Lim played on a championship roller hockey team coached by Gil Leyvas of Garden Grove. Leyvas said Lim was “a good kid, who excelled at everything.” He was the fastest skater that Leyvas had ever seen and led the team to victory in 2001 as the squad’s top scorer.
“Daniel was the most respectful, humble, loyal, and honest young man I’ve ever met — the model that every young person should strive to be,” Leyvas said.
Lim was very close to his family. His mother said he waited in line for hours every week to use a telephone so he could call home from Afghanistan.
Because his parents ran a family business, Lim often took care of his sister, who is seven years younger, earning his nickname as her “second mom.” He would drape a set of Esther’s rollerblades over his shoulder and ride his skateboard or bike to pick her up from school. On their way home, he would sometimes treat her to ice cream or candy.
“He had so little money, but he was very generous,” his mother said. “He was always buying things for us.”
Services for Lim were held Aug. 2 at Korean Martyrs Catholic Center in Westminster, where he had been a member. His burial took place later that day at Riverside National Cemetery. About 500 mourners attended.
Lim’s godfather, Nicholas Oh of Tustin, eulogized the fallen soldier as someone “who gave all for his family — gave all to his sister, his community and our country.”
Esther, now 16, read from a letter she had written to her brother. She recounted all the things he had done for her — things, she said, she had taken for granted, but eventually realized how special they were.
Others recalled that Lim, an avid motorcyclist and snowboarder, was fun-loving and tried to make sure that anyone with him had fun too. He did “everything to the max,” one friend said. On the other hand, he could be a quiet, reflective person who often worried about the well-being of his fellow soldiers.
“When he was home, he liked being here,” his mother said. “But the last time, he told his dad that he should go back early because he wanted to take care of the soldiers in his unit. He wanted to teach them. He wanted them to grow as he had grown.”
In addition to his mother and sister, Lim is survived by his father, Bang Woo Lim.