Lt Albert G. Balius, Jr. USA (Ret)
Albert "Al" Balius was born on September 22, 1925 in Biloxi, Mississippi. Al is the son of Albert Balius, Sr. from Biloxi who served in WWI in France, and Louella Hastings Balius from Robertsdale, Alabama.
Al attended the Biloxi Schools and later took courses at the University of Southern Mississippi. Al Balius was drafted into the Army in December 1943, trained at Ft. Siebert, Alabama and was sent to Camp Shelby, Mississippi where he worked as a basic training instructor.
In 1944, Sgt. Balius volunteered for a two year special assignment which took him to Bushnell, Florida where he was assigned to the Army Chemical Warfare Service Experimental Station. The soldiers collected samples of mustard gas dispersed by planes dropping 100 lb bombs of gas or from mortar shells in special designated areas. The purpose of the testing of the gas was to develop better protective clothing and equipment to use in the event of an attach and also to determine the effects of weather on the gas. Sgt. Balius manned a control point for operating machines, completing more than forty experiments. He was awarded a Commendation for Meritorious Service in the field of Chemical Warfare.
While in Florida, he met Marjorie Martell from Massachusetts. They married on May 15th, 1946 and returned to Camp Shelby where he was discharged from the Army on June 15, 1946.
In 1947, Mr. Balius joined the Mississippi National Guard, Battery C Anti-Aircraft Unit, which was activated in 1951 during the Korean Conflict. The 115th AAA Gun Battalion was sent to Baltimore, Maryland to set up an anti-aircraft position in defense of Baltimore and Washington D.C. as part of the Anti-Aircraft Defense Command. This was during the Cold War between Russian and the United States. It was during this tour of duty in 1951, that he was selected ot observe an atomic bomb test in Nevada. Mr. Balius retired from the National Guard with the rank of First Lieutenant in 1964.
Al and Marjorie raised a family of four, three of whom live nearby, Andrew Arthur Balius, Albert Scott Balius and Elizabeth Balius Norman. Their daughter, Elizabeth, is a Senior Command Post Controller with the Air Force Reserves and is assigned to the 403rd Wing at Keesler AFB. Oldest son, Mark Hastings Balius, joined the Army after ROTC in college and died at age 40.
Today, Al and Marjorie Balius, his bride of sixty-five years, call D'Iberville their home since moving from Biloxi to D'Iberville in 1975. Al is a member of the Biloxi Rotary Club, BPOE 606 Elks Club, Biloxi Bay Chamber of Commerce, D'Iberville/St. Martin Chamber of Commerce, Keesler Officers Club and Retired Officers Association.
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