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I Got The News Today (IGTNT), which is the oldest continuous series on Daily Kos, provides members of this community a venue to pay their respects to those who have died as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.   The IGTNT title is a reminder that nearly every day the family of an active duty service member receives the terrible news that their beloved has died.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Edward Balli
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.
CW2 Edward Balli, Courtesy U.S. Army

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...

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”…

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."

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.

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.

CW2 Balli is survived by his wife, Kristie Balli, his stepdaughters Momilani Morales and Desiare Abrera, and stepson Michael Donios.
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DOD release ~ USAREUR Release (via email) ~ Stars and Stripes
www.army.mil ~ Patriot Guard ~ Monterey Herald ~ New York Times

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I Got the News Today is a diary series intended to honor, respect and remind.  Its title is a reminder that almost every day a military family gets the terrible news about a loved one. Diaries about the fallen usually appear two days after their names are officially released, which allows time for the IGTNT team to find and tell their stories.

The DoD news releases are here, and all of the U.S. fatalities can be seen here.  These men and women all had people who they loved and who loved them.  

Click the IGTNT tags to see the series, which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by i dunno, Monkeybiz, Noweasels, Blue Jersey Mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, SisTwo, Spam Nunn, True Blue Majority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, Maggie Jean, Jax Dem, The Fat Lady Sings, Ekaterina, Sandy on Signal, and me, Joy of Fishes.

Please bear in mind that these diaries are read by friends and family of the service members chronicled here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.

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