A paper written about Daniel by Angelita R. Ballada, a student at Old Dominion University in Norfolk Virgina.
|James Daniel Faulkner
“Dan the Man”
This is not about war; this is not about his death’s addition to the casualty number. James
Daniel Faulkner’s story may sound like any other one, but the great life and love his friends
and family felt can never be compared. He is not just another number that died in Iraq. His
life, his number, did not evolve entirely around war, but it grew around the family and the
guardians who led him to become the great hero he is today.
These words are about the affection that shaped his fulfilled life and the affection he shared
Daniel introduced his name when he came into this world as the first boy in the Faulkner
family. Pamela, Daniel’s mother, showed her unconditional love by falling short of sleep
fearful of the fact that the ratio of male infant-death during sleep is greater than the ratio of
female-infant death. Likewise, Daniel cared for his mother wholly. Although he was not a
mommy’s boy, he was very close to his mother and did his best to keep her from worrying
especially after he enlisted in the U.S. Army. Content with life, “Dan the man,” the nickname
he earned through his character, carried a smile around him until the last breath he took on a
lead convoy military vehicle. The fourth of six children and oldest of three brothers, Faulkner
was greatly loved by his siblings. He was very close to his older sister, Heather, and a great
model to his younger brothers. They shared countless enjoyable moments during their
childhood including playing games they invented with his brothers and sisters. One time, he
dared his siblings that a tongue will not stick onto a frozen basketball pole. To prove his
belief, he stuck his own tongue, which, unfortunately, was almost taken partly from the pole.
As a part of a large complete family, they did not need to invite other children to play in their
The love Daniel’s family poured out to him was not one sided. Daniel cherished his family
the most. He was the quiet blameless child of the Faulkner children that when trouble came
he was the last one everyone would suspect. Daniel was very helpful and available to those
who needed him the most. Planning to wed upon his return from deployment in Iraq, Daniel
also shared his love for his soul mate, his fiancée, Lisa Moreno of McAllen, Texas.
Daniel was a great student and member of the honor society, track, and cross country team.
As an athlete of Coach Kingery’s team, or “Coach K”, Daniel hoped to one day follow his
footsteps, and after graduation he coached the middle school’s cross-country team for a
year. He also enjoyed going to the movies or watching movies on DVD. During high school,
Daniel spent his time fishing and playing pool with his best friend Pat Alexander. Daniel
applied and was accepted to Auburn State University, but due to the shortage of housing, he
studied at Indiana University Southeast for one year. Deciding that college was not for him,
he enlisted in the U.S Army in 2000. Selecting Combat Engineering as his preferred
specialty, Daniel loved his duty and was very good at it.
Kind, risk-taking, caring, hopeful, fun, loving, joyful, adventurous, helpful, and fulfilling—
these are only a few words that describe Daniel, but the freedom he used in placing these
words into his life defines his identity as a true American. His caring personality did not
change as he grew up. After basic training, however, Daniel overcame his shyness and build
up his body. Phone calls from countless girls started to pile up. This surprise started to
shock his family because Daniel never talked to girls. Not only did this happen, but he also
got more tattoos. A similar event happened at a younger age when Daniel asked his mother
what she would do if he got a tattoo. His mother said that she would kick him out of the house,
and while Daniel was sleeping, his sleeve slipped up just as his mother was watching him.
Daniel was fearful of his mother’s reaction. However, all his mother can realize is that Daniel
grew up to be a man. When he decided that the US Army is meant to be part of his life, his
mother also realized that he became a grown man.
Daniel embraced his life as a true American with freedom of choice, but his quiet,
compassionate, and caring characters only grew stronger. Based upon Greg Gilkey, “Daniel
was a man of few words but he always smiled.” He extended his description of Daniel: “He
was always ready and willing to help anyone with anything at any time.” The world is
fortunate to have such a man bless his family with his enduring smile. Daniel was not only
brilliant with his duty in the U.S. Army, but he was a good son, a wonderful brother, and a
loving man. Truthfully, no story, no autobiography, and no word can define a bright man such
as James Daniel Faulkner.