Michael Balog, 95, passed away Thursday morning [October 17, 2013] at the VA Community Living Center, Wilkes-Barre.
Born in Highland, he was the son of the late Michael and Anna (Bendick) Balog.
A highly-decorated veteran, Michael served in the Marine Corps during World War II and the Korean Conflict. He was awarded a Good Conduct Medal, Purple Heart, Silver Star Medal, and two Bronze Stars.
Michael received the Silver Star Medal for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving with the elite Edson’s Raiders during the Battle of Sugarloaf Hill and capture of Okinawa. Serving as an ammunition carrier of a Marine machine gun platoon on Okinawa Shima, Ryukyu Islands, May 15, 1945, the platoon was receiving a terrific barrage of enemy hand grenades thrown from behind the crest line of a prominent knoll. In the face of intense enemy fire, which was inflicting heavy casualties on the platoon, he unhesitatingly dashed toward the crest and threw grenades into the enemy position, at the same time directing his own machine gun fire on the strong point. He repeated this heroic and voluntary act four times with such devastating effect that it enabled the platoon to advance and secure the objective.
The awarding of the two Bronze Stars occurred due to his actions during the Guadalcanal-Tulagi landing.
After his military career, Michael was a correction officer at the Graterford State Prison, retiring after 30 years of employment.
Michael was a member of St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church, Freeland, and a life member of both the Freeland Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5010 and the Freeland American Legion Post 473.
Preceding him in death were his parents; his wife, Margaret (Kaschak) Balog; and sisters, Mary Petrushka, Betty Kardisco, Anna Gower, Helen Haiges and Margaret Balog.
Surviving are numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held on Monday at 9:30 a.m. from McHugh-Wilczek Funeral Home, 249 Centre St., Freeland.
The Divine Liturgy with the Office of Christian
Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. in St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church, Freeland. Burial will be in Ss. Peter and Paul Lutheran Cemetery, Freeland.
Family and friends may call at the funeral home on Monday from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.
Historian’s note: Pfc. Balog served in C Company, 1st Battalion, 29th Marines, 6th Marine Division on Okinawa.