Based: Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: April 14, 2007
Hometown: Mission Viejo
Burial: Pacific View Memorial Park, Corona del Mar
"He was a boy completely full of life," his mother said.
From Military Times:
MISSION VIEJO, Calif. — Daniel J. Santee decided to join the Marines after attending the funeral of a family friend killed two years ago by a sniper in Iraq.
The friend, Jeffrey Starr, had long been an inspiration to Santee.
“They were like-minded spirits,” said Santee’s mom, Cathy. “He wanted to take over where Jeff left off. Everyone asked him to wait, and he did, but nothing would deter him. His heart was set.”
The 21-year-old lance corporal died April 14 almost in same location as his friend Starr in Iraq’s Al Anbar province, his mother said.
He was atop a Humvee turret, guarding a convoy of fellow Marines, when the vehicle swerved to miss a pothole, tipped over and crushed him, his mother said.
Santee, who grew up in Mission Viejo and enlisted 10 months ago, had been Iraq fewer than seven weeks. He was assigned to the Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Before enlisting, Santee dreamed of becoming a firefighter. He took fire science courses at Santa Ana College and interned with Costa Mesa’s Fire Department. His father had been a Costa Mesa police officer.
“He was a boy completely full of life,” his mother said. “I have never seen him not have a positive attitude about everything, including his chance of dying in Iraq. He knew that. He was prepared for that. He loved being a Marine. He told me, ‘Mom, this is what I was born to do.’ ”
In addition to his mother, Santee is survived by his father, Burton; his brother, Nathan, 24; and his sister, Laura, 22.
Read more about Marine Lance Corporal Daniel J. Santee in the LA Times, find him here at USMC and visit Corporal Santee's Guest Book.