Frank Wisniewski emailed me and indicated that Diamond Jim had a stroke. In disbelief, I immediately called MSG (RET) Quentin Balot Jr., known as “Q”, Jimmy’s brother. It was true Jimmy was in trouble, on a ventilator, and his brain was swelling. The next day I spoke with “Q” again and he said that Jimmy was gone at the age of 54, just like Sir Joseph of Cyr. Diamond Jim, Sir Joseph of Cyr, and I used to work, drink, laugh, and cry together.
I remember when Jimmy, along with Wendell Greene, Joe Bossi, Mike Cioch, and Marvin Crist volunteered to assist training the 101st and other units before they deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.· His ingenuity knew no bounds as we setup training folks in “cultural and situational” awareness.· Jimmy made certain we had a constant commo link and plenty of simulated IEDs for training.· In fact, when the training simulators started failing because of tempature changes, Jimmy figured out the problem and designed a new way to make them work. Once when a Lieutenant was clearing a house, a simulator misfired. Without hesitation Jimmy proceeded to fix the problem. But as there wasn’t enough time before the Lieutenant returned through the doorway, Jimmy discharged the simulator while yelling “Allah Akbar” to maintain the true training affect.
Sometimes Jimmy would create a controversy and some folks mistook that for sniveling, but those who truly knew him understand that he created controversy because he wanted people around him to think.
It was truly a very sad day for us and the many friends that Jimmy has. I and others will truly miss him. He is another Brother, a Professional who will not be forgotten.
Da Rock Sends…..
He attended Blessed Sacrament School, in both Newark and Elizabeth NJ and Saint Mary of the Assumption and Thomas Jefferson High Schools in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He was a member of the track team at Thomas Jefferson. He was a graduate of Devry Technical Institute.
He served a long 26 year fulfilling and professional career with several units to include: 2nd Infantry Division, 1-75th Rangers, 11th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 278th Air Defense Artillery, 1-141st Infantry, and 301st Troop Command Tennesee National Guard. He served in the Army, Army Reserve, and National Guard. Most of his closest friends knew him as “Diamond Jim Balot”. He was a “True Professional” and a member of “The Brotherhood”.
During his military service, Jimmy served on many missions in various foreign countries, most recently in Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan. He held several MOS’s to include: 05B, 11B, 18B, 18E, 25C, 25S, and 31C.
Jimmy’s awards and decorations include the Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve components Achievement Medal (3rd Award), National Defense Service medal (2nd Award), Korean Defense Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon (2nd Award), Army Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon (3rd Award), Parachutist Badge, Special Forces Tab, and Expert Infantryman Badge. He is a Life Member of Chapter 38, Special Forces Association located at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and VFW Post Number 11160 located in Clarksville, Tennessee. He is Catholic.
A viewing service was held at McReynolds-Nave & Larson Funeral Home in Clarksville, Tennessee on 29 December 2010 for family, friends, and members of Chapter 38, Special Forces Association. Followed by the traditional “Brotherhood Toast” conducted at Jimmy’s favorite VFW Post 11160.
In accordance with his parents wishes, another viewing was held Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at Krowicki McCracken Funeral Home, 2124 East St. George Avenue, Linden, New Jersey. Calling hours were 1400-1600 hours (2-4 p.m.) and 1900-2100 hours (7-9 p.m.). A funeral mass was held Thursday, January 6 at 0930 hours (9:30 a.m.) at Blessed Sacrament Church in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Internment followed at Brigadier General William C. Doyle Cemetery, Arneytown, New Jersey. Many members of The Brotherhood and family traveled from far and wide to attend the services.
In lieu of flowers donations were made in his name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 501 St Jude Place, Memphis, Tennesse 38105.
Survivors include his Father, SGM (RET) Quentin D. Balot, Mother Betty Sackmann Balot of Elizabeth, New Jersey; brother, MSG (RET) Quentin D. Balot Jr., Woodlawn, Tennessee; sisters, Diana M. Frank, Allentown, Pennsylvania, Cynthia M. Balot, Flagstaff, Arizona; and Selene M. Rivera, Bloomfield, New Jersey.