Don Merino

I got a call at work with bad news.  Another Brother was down and being taken to Vanderbilt Hospital via “Life Flight”.  It was CSM (RET) Joseph M. Bossi.  Images of days gone by started creeping though my small brain.  Times of when Joe, alais “Don Merino” and I would sit at SafeHouse 38 smoke and joke with Da Cajun, Da Smurf, Diamond Jim, Mild Mannered Mikey, and Da Italian Stallion. 

Don Merino was a major influence and contribitor within Chapter 38, SFA and SafeHouse 38; especially during the early years.

CSM (Retired) Joseph M. Bossi was a classiful Sergeant Major and has been reassigned to the big patrol base in the sky, but I suspect he, along with other Brothers, will be lighting the DZ for the rest of us.

Joe, keep a cool one for me and remember I smoke Marlboro 100’s known as Reds.  So if you find any C-Rations laying around save the Marlboros for me, even though they only have “shortie” Marlboros in them.  If you find Lucky Strikes please save them for Poker John.

Another Brother who will sorely be missed, but never forgotten.

Da Rock Sends………

Command Sergeant Major (Retired) Joseph M. Bossi age 77 of Clarksville, Tennessee passed away on Saturday February 6, 2016 at Grace Healthcare of Clarksville.  He was born February 3, 1939 in McKeesport, Pennsylvania.  Joe was a patriot who served his country in the United States Army.

Command Sergeant Major Joseph M. Bossi entered the U.S. Army in 1956.  While in the Army he served four tours in Germany, three combat tours in Vietnam and one tour each in Thailand and Italy.

His stateside assignments included duty with the 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Kentucky; B Troop, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry and the 506th Airborne Infantry, Fort Campbell, Kentucky.  CSM Bossi served in numerous noncommissioned officer leadership positions. Highlights of these assignments are:   First Sergeant, B Company, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry, Fort Campbell, Kentucky; CSM, 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry, Germany; CSM, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Armored Division, Germany; and CSM, Special Troop 7th Corps, Germany.  In July of 1984, CSM Bossi was selected to stay in the United States Army past 30 years.  On July 9th, 1986, CSM Bossi assumed duties as CSM, Fourth United States Army, Fort Sheridan, Illinois.  CSM Bossi retired with 33 years of service.

He attended numerous Army schools to include the Noncommissioned Officer Academy, the Sergeants Major Academy, Class 10, Basic Airborne School, Jumpmaster School, Demolitions and Mine Warfare School, Special Warfare School, Combat Intelligence School and Air Assault School.

His awards and decorations include Special Forces Tab, the Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Laotian Jump Wings, German Marksmanship Badge in Gold, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, four Meritorious Service Medals, Joint Services Medal, two Air Medals, four Army Commendation Medals, the Army Achievement Medal, Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/Palm, Presidential Unit Citation and the Meritorious Unit Commendation (with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster).

He also served as the President of the Chapter 38, Special Forces Association and the President of the 101st Association where he was instrumental in the formation of both of those organizations.  He was also a member of the American Legion in Oak Grove, Kentucky and the VFW in Clarksville, Tennessee..

Joe is survived by his wife Karin E. Klein Bossi of Clarksville; a daughter Kathi M. Stokes and husband Ricky L. of Clarksville; two sons Joseph R. Bossi and wife Jackie B. of Falls Church, Virginia; and Richard M. Bossi of Nashville, Tennessee.  He is also survived by three grandchildren, Charlotte M. Bossi, Charles K. Stokes, and Amber Stokes as well as eight great grandchildren.  In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by a grandson Darrell R. Willis.  A memorial service with military honors will be conducted on Friday February 12, 2016 at  1300 hours (1:00 p.m.) at the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery, West at Hopkinsville, Kentucky. 

Arrangements are under the care of Gateway Funeral Home and Cremation Center  335 Franklin Street  Clarksville, Tennessee  37040  Phone 931-919-2600


Diamond Jim

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…..

Born 4 April 1956 in Newark, New Jersey, Sergeant First Class James David Balot, 54, died Monday, December 27, 2010, at Skyline Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee from a stroke.

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.