Letter to the Editor

R E (Gene) Ballay: Remembrances of Ballay bolster highway naming proposal

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Dear Editor:

Last week, Mr. Donnie Ellis submitted to your paper a proposal that a portion of North Highway H be named after Sgt. James Ballay, KIA in 1970 Cambodia.

In support of this proposal, I put together a set of more than 70 PowerPoint slides that included remembrances and photos of Vietnam-Cambodia by Jimmy’s fellow Screaming Eagles and tried to deliver them to city hall, only to be told that, “No one in a position of authority was available to speak with me.”

The following remembrances are what City Hall took a pass on:

• Jack Haney: I was there that day when all Hell broke loose. I’ll never forget when you slipped from this earth into the hands of God.

• Joe Sgroi: You are a hero and Top said you didn’t have to go on the Cambodia invasion but you did — may God bless you.

• Dave Brown: I would like to re-emphasize one point. A lesser man that “short” would have refused to take the lead. Believe me, it happened. Jimmy however, did his duty and conducted himself in the highest tradition of an NCO. He was a good guy.

• Eric Johnson: I have been to the wall three times since it was built, and always touch his name.

• Bill Smyth: To Jim’s family, know his brothers have not forgot. I still think about him often, he was a great guy and soldier.

• Etc., etc.

Thank you.

R E (Gene) Ballay