SALINAS, Calif. - Chief Warrant Officer Edward Balli was an unmanned aerial vehicle operator who was on his fourth combat deployment in January when he was killed in Afghanistan after insurgents detonated a makeshift bomb and opened fire on sleeping troops.
Family said Edward and another soldier provided covering fire so that junior troops would have time to take civilians in the area to safety. They said Balli knew he was likely headed into a situation in which they would not return.
Edward was laid to rest with full military honors in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii on February 7th.
Now, family is trying to fund a public memorial service and a permanent memorial site in his hometown of Salinas.
A memorial will be at Hartnell College's Main Stage Bldg. K on March 8th at 10:30 a.m. A reception will follow at the College Center Bldg. C.
Balli was born and raised in Salinas and graduated from North Salinas High School. He leaves behind a wife and three grown children.
He joined the army at 19 years old and followed a long line of family members who also served their country.