By Cpl. Salvador R. Moreno
CAMP PENDLETON — For some, traditions don’t mean much. For Pfc. Daniel Kim, tradition is everything. His family’s long-time tradition of military service heavily influenced his decision to become a U.S. Marine.
Kim, 19, born in Anaheim to Kevin and Diane Kim, is the youngest of six siblings. Three are military officers in the Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard, another is a Merchant Marine. His father and grandfather are both former Republic of Korea Marines.
He felt this tradition calling and decided to enlist in the Corps. He said everyone has a sense of duty, and for him, it was serving in the Marine Corps.
The 2010 Marina High School graduate completed recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. He attended his military occupational specialty school in Virginia where he graduated as an intelligence analyst. Kim reported to 1st Intelligence Battalion, May 2011.
He chose the intelligence field because it sounded like something he would enjoy and would be beneficial for him after the military.
“I heard it was one of the better jobs in the Marine Corps,” Kim said. “So far I have nothing to complain about.”
The intelligence field allows him to challenge and better himself by testing his mental abilities.
His performance and work ethic comes from his parents’ determination despite rough times.
He said he probably wouldn’t be as successful in life without the family values he was taught.
Kim said his parents immigrated to the U.S. from Korea in the 60s. They worked long hours and struggled to provide for their family, often barely having enough food on the table to feed them all.
“Looking back at it now, it’s amazing how we came to be with what little we had,” Kim said. “It was my parents’ selfless devotion to family that led to our strong work ethic and successful military careers.”
He said it was important to his parents that the children carry on the family legacy from a young age. They made sure their expectations were known — he was expected to serve his country in the military.
“The military was an easy choice,” said Navy Lt. Abraham Kim, Kim’s older brother. “It was the lifestyle we grew up in.”
Their oldest sister was the first sibling to follow family tradition and joined the Coast Guard.
“He wanted to follow in his family’s footsteps,” said Lance Cpl. Joshua Braica, intelligence specialist with 1st Intelligence Battalion, and Kim’s friend. “The military is a big part of his life. Traditions are important to him.”
Though most of his siblings are commissioned officers, Kim decided to postpone college and join the enlisted ranks.
Abraham said his brother’s competiveness and physical abilities led him to the enlisted side of the military. He excelled at sports as he grew older, earning numerous athletic awards in high school. He was the most athletic out of all siblings.
“He wanted to do something completely different than his siblings,” Abraham said.
“He is really skilled and talented and thought his talents would better be served as enlisted. He likes to be in the dirt.”
Abraham said the family is proud of Daniel and his accomplishments because he is making a career for himself and continuing a tradition of three generations.
Kim plans on attending college and earning a degree in English while he serves, but is still unsure of where his military career might go. Though his future may not be written, Kim continues to honor a family tradition of serving his country.