Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Army Pfc. Dane R. Balcon

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Dane R. Balcon, 19, of Colorado Springs, Colo.

Pfc. Balcon was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. He died Sept. 5, 2007 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device.

Springs soldier, 19, killed in Iraq

A soldier from Colorado Springs was killed in combat in Iraq, the Defense Department said late Thursday.

Pfc. Dane R. Balcon, 19, died Wednesday from wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device went off in Balad. Balcon was a member of the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry regiment, 3rd Brigade Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.

Balcon graduated from Sand Creek High School in 2006.

“Outstanding” was the one word Assistant Principal David Morgan said he would use to describe Balcon.

“He just had an absolute love for the military and serving his country,” Morgan said. “It’s what he always said he wanted to do.”

Balcon came back to the school in May to let teachers and students know how he was doing in the Army, Morgan said.

On Aug. 30, Balcon left a message on his page, saying that he was still alive and that he’d be coming back to “the world” soon, said friend Jamar Harrison. It was the last message he left.

“I responded to him to let him know that I prayed for him and that I love him,” he said. “The biggest thing I want to know is if he read it.”

Balcon loved the drums and was “very, very involved with all aspects of our music at Sand Creek,” Morgan said.

Harrison, 17, said Balcon joined the school’s drumline in his senior year, even though he couldn’t read music sheets very well. Harrison, who plays on the line, said the six-member team became a close-knit family in the single year that Balcon was there.

“We knew we wanted him on the drumline because we knew how positive he was and how enthusiastic he was,” said Harrison, a senior at Sand Creek. “He didn’t make anyone seem like an outsider. He liked to crack jokes, and if anyone was in a bad mood, he’d crack more jokes. He was just a person that brought a smile to your face.”

Harrison said he remembers sitting around between performances during basketball games, chatting about anything, from television shows to music on each other’s iPods.

“We were always swapping each other’s earphones,” he said. “We weren’t supposed to have them at games, but somehow me and Dane would have ours.”

An announcement about Balcon’s death was made to the students at the school Thursday, followed by a moment of silence. Harrison said the mood in the halls was somber and reflective, and students and staff were trying to uplift each other.

“You could tell everyone had respect for him, whether or not they knew him,” he said. “People could tell that it was very honorable, what he did.”

“It’s been very hard for the staff and students who knew him,” Morgan said. “He was so well-liked.”

Several former students came back to the school Thursday to share their grief with others who knew him. The students in the media class are preparing a video memorial on Balcon that will air on the in-house Channel 1. And the school’s flag was to hang at half staff this morning.

“What he wanted to do with his life was have a career in the military,” Morgan said. “He gave the ultimate price for it.”

Army Pfc. Dane R. Balcon was killed in action on 9/5/07.

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