Local NewsVeteran’s Voice


Las Vegas veteran shares Marines stories, memories with guitar

Posted at 6:26 AM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 11:35:13-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — One of the best things about music is that it has the power to connect people from all walks of life.

For Jan Michael Balgan his guitar is something that helped him develop long-time friendships while he served in the Marines.

“We would all go around like a little fire pit area like a little bonfire and it would just be all of us. And then we would just jam,” said Jan Michael.

His guitar has turned into a souvenir filled with signatures that bring up memories from his time overseas.

“I brought it with me throughout my whole deployment in 2004,” Jan Michael said. “Imagine me carrying my stuff to go to Iraq, and I have my guitar case going out from North Carolina to Maine to Kuwait to Iraq and all of these other places. I was literally carrying this guitar.”

He says he is now focused on helping people in his hometown of Las Vegas as an officer within the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. He is also part of the Filipino American Law Enforcement Officers Association chapter in Las Vegas.

"What I wanted to do is not only serve my country but serve my community,” Jan Michael said.

As time passes, the six strings and signatures on his guitar help him remember his years of service.

“Some of these guys went through Desert Storm, some of these guys went through the first invasion in Iraq in 2003,” Jan Michael said. “So, a lot of knowledge a lot of history behind it and to have these signatures, it’s like I get to remember each one of them like its yesterday.”