Chief Warrant Officer 2 Edward Balli, 42, of Monterey, California, died on January 20, 2014 in an attack on an American military base in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Edward Balli
In its press release, the USAREUR writes that CW2 Balli was assigned to U.S. Army Europe, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, Vilseck, Germany. He had more than 15 years of service in the Army, and he was an expert in U.S. Army unmanned aerial vehicle operations. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Afghanistan and Iraq Campaign Medals and Combat Action Badge. He was on his fourth deployment and just four years from being able to retire to his home in Hawaii.
CW2 Balli was the American soldier who was killed in the attack on an American base that was reported earlier this week by the New York Times:
KABUL, Afghanistan — Behind a truck bomb, Taliban gunmen in military fatigues staged a brazen raid on Monday against a sprawling base shared by American and Afghan forces in southern Afghanistan. Afghan officials said an American soldier was killed in the attack...Tony Virrueta, CW2 Balli’s uncle, said Balli was born and raised in Salinas, California. In recalling his nephew, Virrueta said Balli “died doing what he loved. He was so proud of his service and he was so proud of his role in defending our country … [his] biggest concern at this point in his career, as a leader, was always for the care and concern of the soldiers that worked with him."
According to Afghan officials and officers from the NATO-led coalition, the assault on the base … began shortly after 10 a.m. when a small truck packed with explosives drove up to the main gate of Pasab. The driver set off a powerful blast, killing himself and the American soldier…
Within seconds of the explosion, a minivan sped to the gate, and eight gunmen clad in military fatigues and wearing suicide vests jumped out and tried to storm the base … American and Afghan soldiers “quickly engaged with the attackers and killed all eight bombers before they could enter the base”…
The tribute on the Army Homepage gives further insight into CW2 Balli's leadership:
His fellow Soldiers described Balli as an outstanding leader of Soldiers. He was a person with a kind heart and smile that aimed to please those who he worked for and with. He was a very motivated person who loved his job as an Unmanned Aerial System Operations Officer Platoon Leader, providing the eyes in the sky for those soldiers on the ground.CW2 Balli is survived by his wife, Kristie Balli, his stepdaughters Momilani Morales and Desiare Abrera, and stepson Michael Donios.
Balli would always give advice to his younger soldiers assisting them with personal and professional goals. He was an inspiration to all with whom he served; he lived his life to the fullest.
DOD release ~ USAREUR Release (via email) ~ Stars and Stripes
www.army.mil ~ Patriot Guard ~ Monterey Herald ~ New York Times
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