Elmwood Park Marine dies serving in Afghanistan

November 6, 2011 (ELMWOOD PARK, Ill.)

Lance Cpl. Nick Daniels, 25, joined the military in January 2010. He was a graduate of Saint Patrick High School in Chicago.

While a U.S. Marine Corps representative came to the Daniels family home Saturday to give them the bad news, the Daniels say they still have not been told any details about how their son was killed.

He reported for training September 3 and left for his first tour of duty in Afghanistan 16 days later. He served as a combat engineer.

"Everybody always thinks it's not going to happen to their family but it's real and it happens," said family friend Joe Pullia.

On Sunday night, Nick Daniels grandmother straightened out the Marine Corp flag outside the fallen soldier's Elmwood Park home. Daniels had only been in Afghanistan for two months when his family received news they hoped they would never hear.

"I worried about it a little bit but I always saw him as my bigger, older, brother and he was strong and would come out alive," said the Marine's brother Lonny Daniels.

Nick was the oldest of four children. His family that says while he never talked about joining the Marines, they weren't surprised when he signed up.

"He wanted to be fighting with the toughest, he didn't want someone weak next to him," Lonny Daniels said.

Lonny Daniels says his big brother was always up for a challenge and loved competition. Before enlisting, he coached football at his alma mater, Saint Patrick High School on the Northwest Side. Lonny says he will always remember Nick as cool guy who watched out for his younger siblings.

"I always aspired to be like him. He was always fast, athletic, the girls loved him," Lonny Daniels said. "He's really funny, probably one of the funniest guys. He had a really good attitude with everybody. Everybody loved him."

He told his brothers while he was up for the challenge, he didn't have plans of making a career out of the military. Lonny Daniels says his older brother wanted to become a police officer.

Nick Daniels is survived by his parents, two brothers and a sister. He told his mother the night before he left on a train for Afghanistan that he had plans to marry his girlfriend.

Funeral plans for Nick Daniels are pending.

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