September 26, 2016 –
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif – A lone tear escapes down the cheek of Beverly Balsley as she remembers the exact moment she discovered her son Spc. Michael Balsley had been killed in Iraq.
“When the casualty notification officer came to our house that night it was total shock … my husband answered the door and by the look on his face I knew, I didn’t need to see anyone,” said Beverly.
An improvised explosive device killed Michael instantly on Jan. 25, 2007, while on patrol near Baghdad, as he served with the 2nd Infantry Division as a cavalry scout.
He had only been deployed for three months.
He was 23 years old.
Beverly, a Gold Star Mother from Hayward, Calif., remembered her son fondly at a Gold Star Family Day event hosted by the 63rd Regional Support Command, Sept. 24, Armed Forces Reserve Center, Mountain View, Calif.
“Michael wanted to go into the Army and when I asked him why he said it was because of 9-11,” Beverly said. “I didn’t try and talk him out of it. His father was a Vietnam veteran, so that influenced him a little bit.”
“I was so proud of him… he was always the type that had to be doing something. He was very active and if he was bored he’d be climbing the walls,” she continued.
“He had the biggest smile which would light up the room,” Beverly beamed.
Beverly said her son served in Korea during his first year on active duty before returning to the United States, where he joined the 2nd Inf. Div. at Fort Carson, Colo.
Michael had only been deployed three months when he lost his life, she said.
“My husband, my older son and myself had this gut feeling he wasn’t going to make it home alive,” Beverly said. “But we never said it to each other. We didn’t want to jinx it.”
Michael’s platoon was on a night patrol and hit an IED, which killed him and Sgt. Alexander Fuller instantly, something which helped ease some of the agony for Beverly.
“If he had to die I’m glad it happened quickly. I didn’t want him to suffer,” Beverly said with relief.
Nearly 10 years after his death, the memories still remain strong for Beverly, with time never healing the agony.
“In almost 10 years there’s probably only been 6 days where I haven’t cried,” she said. “I’ve worn Michael’s dog tags the Army gave us at his funeral every day since.”
“I never take them off,” she said strongly. “I’ll wear them for the rest of my life.”