2nd Lieutenant Mark Daily was born on the Fourth of July, 1983. He grew up in Irvine, attended Stonecreek Elementary School, Lakeside Middle School and Woodbridge High. As a youngster, Mark enjoyed soccer and baseball. At Woodbridge he participated in football, track, and the Mock Trial Team. At Saddleback College, Mark joined the Speech and Debate Team, was a senator in student government, and in the Honors Program. He was president of the Campus Democracy Club, participated in the Model U.N., and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa academic honors fraternity. At UCLA, Mark majored in Political Science and graduated Cum Laude in June 2005. While at UCLA, he joined the Army’s ROTC program and served as Cadet Battalion Commander. Mark received the prestigious George C. Marshall Award and was named the ROTC's Outstanding Cadet for 2005. He was also a Distinguished Military Graduate for UCLA, the highest honor the ROTC awards. After graduation Mark was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He married Janet Hristova in July 2005, and they later moved to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, where he trained as an Armor Officer and Scout Platoon Leader.
Mark cited a strong sense of responsibility to the oppressed as one of his reasons for volunteering for service in Iraq. Regarded by friends and colleagues as a natural leader, mentor, and role model, he served with distinction in Operation Iraqi Freedom for three months before he was killed January 15, 2007 by an improvised explosive device. He received the War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, and was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart for his service to his country. Mark will be remembered by many for his ability to write and speak with eloquence, intelligence, and humor. His essay "Why I Joined" was read on the Senate floor by Senator John Cornyn, and entered into the Congressional Record by Representative John Campbell.