Philip Balkin was born on February 2, 1929 to David and Betty, in Brooklyn, NY. In 1935 the family moved to Los Angeles, where the father, a veteran leather-worker was employed in a shoe factory. Phil was drafted into the American army in 1946 and saw over a year of service in the Far East.
He was determined to follow in the footsteps of his older brother Jerry and serve in the IDF. In October 1948 he left the US, first for France and then to Israel. He immediately volunteered for the army and was attached to a commando unit in the Armored Corps. He fought in the War of Independence's last major campaign, Operation Ayin, against Egypt. He fell in the attack on Auja-el-Hafiron December 27, 1948. On July 20, 1949 he was reinterred in the cemetery in Nahalat Yitzchak.