SSGT Louis D. Ball

SSGT Louis D. Ball

Death 9 Apr 1944 (aged 25)
Burial Rochester, Fulton County, Indiana, USA
Plot 40 04.323 -86 13.467
Memorial ID 25653393 · View Source
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Staff Sergeant
Army Air Forces
Killed in Action
Air Medal - Purple Heart
Louis (Monk) Ball served in the Army Air Corp as a tail gunner on a B-24. Louis joined the Air Corp and arrived at Camp Perry, Ohio on October 15th , 1942. He later volunteered for aerial gunnery because his brother was in the same field. Later, according to one of his letters home, he was sent to Panama City for training and was even in the same basic training group as Clark Gable.
Sadly, before he could be sent to the Pacific, Louis learned that his brother was Missing in Action. Following is the first half of a letter he sent home after learning about his brother's fate:

Louis D. Ball

Pocatello, Idaho

April 44 [sic], 1943

Dear Mom, Bill and All:
I just received your shocking news. Thanks for letting me know. I could write a letter of condolence but in times like these I believe it would be better if I take an oath instead, "I swear by any power invested in me to make the enemy, whosoever it shall be, to suffer as they have never suffered before." I was told by a civilian who of course didn't have any loved ones in service, and I quote to his exact words: "It is an honor to die for your country, to help make it a safe place in which your loved ones may live in peace and happiness." O.K. If that's the way they want it I can assure you that I will gladly die for my country but - first I want most of all to make them know just what the meaning of suffering is. My life as a whole has never amounted to anything, therefore it means little to me now. The first enemy ship that I blast out of those once peaceful skies goes to Norval. God have mercy on the poor devil's soul. If anything, which undoubtedly will, should happen to me, I want no tears or fretting. Just say that I took that honor in order to help make this country a peaceful and happy place in which we proud Americans can live. I only hope I may be spared on my missions, not for my life alone but so I may carry on with the one thought in my mind for Norval as well as myself. Hoping your thoughts will be with me with a hearty wish of luck and God Speed.

In October of 1943, Reatha Ball received word that Louis was also now missing in action. Fortunately, Louis was found after spending eleven days in the jungle after he and the rest of his crew bailed out over New Guinea. After being reassigned to another B-24, Louis's luck ended on Easter Sunday, April 9th, 1944, when his bomber took a direct hit from a Japanese Zero fighter and exploded with all hands lost over the Pacific.

Louis was one of four Ball brothers that served their country during the second World War. Louis and Norval served in the Army Air Force as tail gunners in B-24 bombers. The youngest brother, Hovey James Ball, also served in the Air Corps and flew many bombing missions over Italy as a gunner and radio technician. Another brother, Robert Lee Ball, served a short time as a draftee before being discharged for a physical disability.

Reatha Ball was the first mother in Fulton County to lose a son during the war and the only one to lose two.

Plot: Section 3, Row 5

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  • Created by: SixDogTeam
  • Added: 31 Mar 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 25653393
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for SSGT Louis D. Ball (11 Dec 1918–9 Apr 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 25653393, citing Rochester IOOF Cemetery, Rochester, Fulton County, Indiana, USA ; Maintained by SixDogTeam (contributor 46950943) .