U.S. Marine San Sim, Cambodian origin, was killed in action in Afghanistan October 29, 2008Posted by chandrapong007 in Cambodia.
Tags: U.S. Marine San Sim
A photo of U.S. Marine San Sim, center, with his sisters Yorn, left, and Saroam Sim, right, is held up by a family member. San was one of ten children in the Sim family.
Family photos of San Sim at various ages were on display at the Sim’s Santa Ana home. San Sim, a U.S. Marine was killed in action last week in Afghanistan.
A photo of U.S. Marine and Santa Ana resident San Sim, 23, killed in Afghanistan last week, is displayed on an altar in the family’s home. San was one of ten Sim children and had already served two tours in Iraq.
Family remembers Marine killed in Afghanistan
San Sim, 23, was weeks away from completing his third tour.
His birthplace, the Phillipines, was ever a reminder of their journey from the terror of the Khmer Rouge. But after Sept. 11, 2001, Sim decided to fight.
Sim was shot to death while on routine patrol in Afghanistan this week, near the end of his third tour of duty. He was 23.
Seng Sim said his brother was shot Tuesday. He died Wednesday, the Department of Defense reported. A military attaché arrived at the family’s home in Santa Ana that same day to notify them, Seng Sim said.
San Sim was part of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Camp Pendleton and Twentynine Palms. They were due to return to the U.S. next month, First Lt. Curtis Williamson said.
Sim, a rifleman, and his unit headed to southwestern Afghanistan in April.
Their mission was security training for the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police, Williamson said, but “the situation on the ground dictated that they have more of a combat role. He was out there fighting.”
Afghanistan was Sim’s third tour abroad; he served twice in Iraq. He won commendations during his career, including two purple hearts.
“He thought family was important, but that it was also important to help those who are suffering,” said Sim’s wife, Karla Sim.
It was that desire, she said, that pushed him to re-enlist after his initial four-year commitment.
“We’re really proud of him,” Seng Sim said.
Sim’s family settled in Santa Ana in 1985, after escaping Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge, and living in a refugee camp in Thailand. San Sim was the youngest of 11 children, born in the Philippines as his family worked to reach the U.S.
Several family members gathered at the Sim’s Santa Ana home, wearing white.
Buddhists believe wearing white and keeping candles lit at the house helps to guide Sim’s spirit home. They will observe 100 days of remembrance.
Sim’s participation in the military clashed some with his family’s pacifist beliefs, but he felt strongly about his calling.
“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.”
“He felt the need,” sister Yasmine Sim said, “to serve the country that gave us the opportunity to escape from war.”
Sim was in the process of gaining his citizenship; the rest of his family has already been naturalized. Family members said they will petition the government to award him citizenship posthumously.
Sim was a student at Santa Ana Valley High School, where he was a wrestler.
That’s where he also met military recruiters and kept in frequent contact with them.
“When he got out of high school, he wanted to do something for his country,” Seng Sim said. “Everything else could wait.”
Family was a big part of Sim’s life, evidenced by a pile of dozens of family photos at the Sim home.
He always seemed to surround himself with children, his sisters said. With 21 nephews and nieces, that wasn’t too difficult. In his spare time, he enjoyed fishing.
Sim’s body is expected to return stateside sometime next week. The Sim family mourns, but will wait for him to return to California before planning a memorial.
“We came to this country to escape war. And now he’s died in war,” Yasmine Sim said. “Our thoughts, prayers and wishes go out to the troops still out there.”