27, of Nashville, Tenn., assigned to 8th Communications Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died May 12 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations. Kevin was a radio operator assigned to the 8th Communications Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. and was serving his second tour in Afghanistan and had earned the Bronze Star in his first deployment in the wartorn country “for putting himself in harm’s way to call in an air strike to protect his fellow Marines.
Balduf’s wife, Amy, is a Richmond native and still lives there, as does her parents. “He was a Marine’s Marine, gung ho,” Al Sutherland said of his son-in-law. “But he was somebody who didn’t brag about himself. ‘I did my job,’ that’s all he’d say. He was humble.” The former Amy Sutherland graduated from Richmond High School in 2003. The couple were married in Maine in 2006 at Sugarloaf.
To honor Sgt Kevin B. Balduf, his wife, Amy unearthed and retrieved this stone from the summit of Mt. Washington. In Amy’s words:
My name is Amy Balduf I’m the wife of the late Sgt. Kevin Brian Balduf of the United States Marine Corps. His daughters and I found the stone at the summit of Mount Washington or I should say the stone found us.
We had driven to the top with a friend and my niece it was interesting to say the least. I’m really not one for crazy Heights and looking down over the side of a mountain but Kevin always said he wanted to go up sometime when we were home in Maine. So two days after my 28th birthday we packed up the car and headed out with Mount Washington as our destination we drove to the top while Eden (Kevin and I’s youngest daughter) cried all the way we arrived there and a storm rolled in not long after we got there we took pictures and explored and eventually made our way down. Just as we left the top we saw stacked rocks on the right and pulled in, something pulled me out there, so we walked out and look at the formations and decided we need to make one for Kevin. So we started finding rocks and building the formation that would soon adorn Kevin’s name and KIA information. when Stephanie and Eden yelled to me that they had found an awesome rock as they brought it closer I looked at the rock in right there in front of my eyes was a “wink from heaven” A heart something I’ll always hold dear to my heart because of the first trip Kevin, Stephanie and I took to his grandparents camp on Tennessee lake in Waverley, Tennessee, Kevin found a heart rock and gave it to me and told me I would forever have his heart in my hands.
Kevin is a devoted husband and loving father he was hard-working, determined, always willing to learn or teach himself something new, He was always fiddling with something to do with radios at work he oftentaught his senior and junior marines how to use radios or how to fix them or even talk about new things they needed to better their communications department he often had fun building antennas out of random parts that he would find lying around. He once made an antenna from those random pieces that reached approximately eighteen miles. Kevin was smart as a whip when it came to communications, he always paid close attention to details in everything he did. Kevin was every commanding officers dream — hard worker, driven, determined, hard to discourage, always upbeat, always willing to help, first-in and last out, he often gave other Marines rides home when they needed it, he was very quiet and humble.
Many did not know Kevin received the Bronze Star with combat V in 2004 for climbing to the top of the ridge while under fire to call and coordinates for an airstrike and was credited with saving the lives of many people that day. Unless you saw him in uniform or saw his truck he wouldn’t/ didn’t talk about it, his response was always “I was just doing my job” and that’s where he would leave it. A humble hero was the way you would hear people talk about Kevin.
And if you talked to them after a long PT SESSION they would say he was a machine he could run like a gazelle and was a “big shot” on the basketball court. He loved to be active and often would come home telling me how he almost or did make someone puke that day in PT. But Kevin would help you get to your goal often running from the front of the formation all the way to the back to give someone a pep talk to get them back into the formation. Kevin was just a few months away from being 28 years old when he passed after being shot by an Afghan national civil order of police ANCOP for short in May 2011, just three weeks before our youngest daughter’s fourth birthday.
In May Kevin passed, and June and July were all of our birthdays — Eden June 4th, myself June 28th, Kevin was July 14 and Stephanie was July 17. Those weeks after his passing we had a lot of rough days with all the celebrations that Kevin loved so much.
Kevin was amazing father and a devoted husband he lived for and loved his family, he worked so hard to provide for us and played even harder with the girls whether it was walking on the beach or walking around our neighborhood, playing in the backyard in the summer or building a snowman when we got snow in North Carolina, watching football on the weekends, coloring with the girls, anything we could do together we did.
Kevin was quiet and gentle, with a heart of gold that stretched from the depths of his heart to the smiles on his face. He was so little but with the deepest voice you’ve ever heard the southern accent that melted my heart you would totally think Kevin was a different person if you had talked to him on the phone and then met him in person because you would say that voice came out of you.
Thank you Amy. MHANF.
Photos courtesy of Catherine Frost of Freeport, ME.