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Old 08-11-2014, 03:34 PM
Joe21 Joe21 is offline
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Default Melvin Balikov, A WW2 Buddy

Melvin Balikov was one of my best buddies during WW2. He was one of the funniest and most sincere persons I have even known. I don't recall for certain but believe his parents or grandparents emigrated to the United States from either Russia or Poland. His parents lived in the Chicago area. Melvin was Jewish but the best way to describe Melvin ---- he was unorthodox.

Melvin and I joined the 3125th Signal Service Company at Camp Crowder, MO, about the same time. We were on a team of eight men so being together on a close knit team we became close friends. Most everyone had a nickname but Melvin had not yet been granted a new name. One of the guys suggested we call him "Bally". The name stuck and thereafter everyone called him "Bally".

Bally's Mother was an excellent cook and on a regular basis sent him a huge box of goodies. Bally always shared the goodies with all of out ream members. After the third or fourth box of goodies had arrived, several of us on the team wrote to Mrs. Balikov, telling her Bally had shared the goodies with us and how much we had appreciated his sharing. About a week later a huge box arrived at our company headquarters addressed to Sgt. Balikov's friends. The mailo cleark knew who we were and called for one of us to accept the package. When we opened the box, it was like Christmas. There were goodies galore.

Bally's Mother continued to send boxes of food on a regular basis and we continued writing her "thank you" notes. She also invited any of us to come by her home if we were in the Chicago area. A couple of our buddies were fortunate enough to visit and enjoy a wonderful feast she had prepared.

After we went to Europe the boxes of goodies continued to arrive but not as frequently as when we were stateside. Mrs. Balikov apologized but knew some of the items she had sent to us in the states would be spoiled by the time they arrived in Europe.

Bally was the only Jew on our team.He taught us a lot about the Jewish holidays, customs and beliefs, and he learned a lot about our Protestant and Catholic beliefs and customs. Bally was at his best during the Christmas season. He knew the Christmas carols and hymns better than most of us and had an excellent singing voice. In fact, Bally led us when we sang Christmas carols.

After hostilities ceased in Europe and the Pacific Theater, our company was deactivated and we were reassigned to different units. We didn't say it aloud but we knew we would probably never see some of our close buddies agian. Bally was transferring to Bremen, Germany and I was going to Port de Bouc, France. Bally came up to me and gave me a big bear hug. We didn't say a word, there were no words to express our feelings. As we turned to leave, we both said "take care". I walked a few steps, turned and yelled to Bally, "When you get home, tell your Mother 'thanks', for all the goodies". That was the last time I saw Bally, but I'll never forget him. Bally was truly a good friend.

Several years ago I learned Bally died in 2000.
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Old 08-13-2014, 11:26 AM
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plumbtiger plumbtiger is offline
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Default Re: Melvin Balikov, A WW2 Buddy

Thanks for these anecdotes, Mr. Joe. I had an uncle who was KIA in the Battle of the Bulge. I never knew him since I wasn't born 'til '51, so these stories help me see what it may have been like for him.
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