Based: Ft. Carson, Colo.
3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: January 25, 2007
Baghdad (east of), Iraq
Married, 1 child
High School: Mount Eden High School (Hayward)
Burial: Hillcrest Cemetery, Porterville, Calif.
Army Pfc. Michael Christopher Balsley walked and talked like his father, a Vietnam veteran who would tell war stories and watch military movies with his young sons. For Halloween when he was 4, Balsley dressed as GI Joe with his father's patches sewn on by his mother.Do read the entire LA Times article about Army Private 1st Class Michael Balsley here, see pictures and read more at his Guest Book and find more here and here and at Military Times.
A few years out of high school, Balsley became an Army cavalry scout, a tough assignment on the front lines of combat. His father asked him why.
"I guess I want my own war stories, Dad," Balsley replied.
After three months in Iraq, the 23-year-old soldier was on patrol east of Baghdad when a roadside bomb exploded near his Humvee. He was killed in the explosion along with Army Sgt. Alexander H. Fuller, 21, of Centerville, Mass….
Born June 30, 1983, Balsley grew up in Hayward, Calif., a middle-class town that hugs the rolling East Bay hills south of Oakland's gritty urban plain.
Jim Balsley said his son was "sensitive. He kind of looked at the world a little different than most." As a little boy, he climbed their home's dangerously high roof to reach the neighborhood birds. His father built him cardboard wings and let him jump off a backyard picnic table instead.
The family kept a mean-spirited Muscovy duck, Simon, who was a "devil in disguise. He used to attack everybody. But Mike was the only guy that Simon liked. He used to sit on his lap," said Balsley's older brother, James III, 25, of Alameda, Calif., who is in law enforcement.
Jim Balsley said he wants his son to be remembered as a patriot. "Michael was a real person," he said. "Michael was not just another name in the newspaper about another fallen hero defending the United States. Michael was a real individual."