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Lake Elsinore Private Dies in Iraq Crash

The soldier, 18, is killed in a vehicle accident in Mosul. He had a go-for-it attitude and 'was born and bred in the military,' his mother says.

August 14, 2003|Joy L. Woodson | Times Staff Writer

An Army private from Lake Elsinore has died in a vehicle accident in Mosul, Iraq, authorities said.

Pfc. Daniel R. Parker, 18, was thrown from a vehicle when the driver swerved to avoid an oncoming taxi in another lane Tuesday, a Defense Department spokesman said.

Parker graduated from Lake Elsinore High School in 2002, where he was an ROTC member for four years.

Parker was assigned to 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell.

Family members remembered him as a dedicated young man who never wanted to do anything besides join the Army.

Parker's father, Billy, retired from the 82nd Airborne, family members said.

"He was born and bred in the military," said his mother, Sherri Parker, "and wanted to go in the military since he was 7."

She said that even though he joined the military directly after high school, he always found time to advise and write his four siblings: Dustin, 16; Dalton, 15; Danielle, 10; and Dallas, 6.

Danielle was the last one to receive a letter from her big brother. In it he had promised a trip to Disneyland when he returned.

He missed a trip planned earlier this year to the amusement park because he was shipped out on March 3.

"Through high school he was pretty much involved with friends," his mother said, "but once he got in the military he would call the boys and say, 'Do good in school, do good in school.' "

She said that what the family will miss most about him was his ready-for-anything-anytime attitude. He played hockey when he was younger, loved to inline skate and was an Angels fan.

Even his battalion had recognized his energy and profiled him in a battalion newsletter, saying he personified teamwork and had grown on the job.

"You can honestly say he was really a good kid," his mother said.

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