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The Associated Press
SANTA ANA, Calif.—A 23-year-old Marine was killed in combat in Afghanistan, one month shy of completing his third tour of duty in the Middle East, military officials said Friday.
Lance Cpl. San Sim of Santa Ana died Wednesday after being shot in the Helmand province, the Department of Defense said.
Sim, a rifleman based in Camp Pendleton, headed to southwestern Afghanistan in April and was due to return next month, said 1st Lt. Curtis Williamson. He said his unit’s mission was to help train Afghan troops but “the situation on the ground dictated that they have more of a combat role. He was out there fighting.”
Sim’s brother Seng Sim described him as a dedicated Marine who had completed two stints in Iraq and won commendations, including two Purple Hearts.
“We’re really proud of him,” Seng Sim said.
San Sim was part of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force. He attended Santa Ana Valley High School before joining the Marines.
“When he got out of high school, he wanted to do something for his country,” Seng Sim said. “Everything else could wait.”
The Marine’s body is expected to return next week. Funeral arrangements were pending.
Marine Lance Cpl. San Sim remembered
The Associated Press
San Sim could crack a joke or quote a movie, even in the worst situations. His fellow soldiers knew him as Simba — a nickname that stuck after someone caught him watching “The Lion King” on his cot.
“He was just a big ball of fun,” said Lance Cpl. Dylan Morgan.
“He was an all-around good guy.”
Sim, 23, of Santa Ana, Calif., died Oct. 22 from enemy gunfire in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He also had done two stints in Iraq and was assigned to Twentynine Palms, Calif.
Sim was in the process of gaining his citizenship.
“He was proud of what he did,” said sister Serene Sim. “He felt like he was really doing something. After what happen on 9-11, he wanted to go out there and put in his own effort.”
Sim was born in a refugee camp in the Philippines, the youngest of 11 children in a family fleeing Cambodia. He grew up in Santa Ana, loved to fish and wrestled in high school.
“We came to this country to escape war. And now he’s died in war,” said another sister, Yasmine Sim. “Our thoughts, prayers and wishes go out to the troops still out there.”
He is survived by his wife, Karla, and son, Donovan.