MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Many of us have heard that popular slogan Super Bowl MVPs exclaim after winning the big game, “I’m going to Disney Land.” Soon one lucky Marine may actually hear the next MVP blurt that trite old line in person, as he has earned the right to boast to his peers, “I’m going to the Super Bowl.”
Cpl. Daniel Kim is a 22-year-old San Francisco native and crew chief with Company B, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division. He is one of two Marines who recently earned a trip to attend Super Bowl XLIII, courtesy of News America Marketing.
The ‘luck’ aspect of his recent win isn’t quite measurable, but his eligibility to be considered definitely came from his heroic life-saving actions played out during a fierce combat incident in Iraq.
On June 7, 2007, Kim’s amtrac crew was riding along a highway in northern Fallujah when an improvised explosive device struck their vehicle. Insurgents planted the explosive under a highway overpass. The blast briefly knocked Kim unconscious and shortly after he revived, an enemy ambush ensued.
In the rear of the vehicle, Kim’s communication Marine suffered a traumatic injury, as the blast amputated his leg. Kim sprang into action and provided medical care to the wounded Marine by applying a tourniquet, which stalled the blood loss.
Kim tended to his crew member and applied Combat Lifesaver’s Course procedures under enemy fire while the other Marines neutralized the threat and corpsmen arrived to the vehicle. Without Kim’s initial response, it is likely his fellow Marine would have died that day.
Kim’s actions that day earned him a Purple Heart Medal and a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat distinguishing device. But who knew that his accomplishments in Iraq would take him all the way to the Super Bowl?
“Yeah I don’t think I had that in mind at the time,” Kim said. “But when my first sergeant told me I was going, I was pretty stoked.”
Although his San Francisco 49ers football club isn’t in championship contention this year, Kim said that won’t stop him from enjoying the festivities.
The two winners will fly to Tampa, Fla., where they will participate in meet-and-greets with NFL stars, tailgate parties, the game, and other events while representing the Marine Corps in their dress uniforms.
Kim said he doesn’t mind having to do the formalities during the events. “This is a great opportunity and I’m looking forward to doing it.”