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First Name: John

Last Name: Ballentine

Birthplace: Hillsboro, OH, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Jennings

Date of Birth: 04 October 1896

Date of Death: 21 May 1970

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served:
John Jennings Ballentine

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1918

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


John Jennings Ballentine
Admiral, U.S. Navy

John Jennings Ballentine was born on 4 October 1896 in Hillsboro, OH. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with the Class of 1918 which, as an accelerated class due to World War I, actually graduated in 1917. On 22 November 1920, Ballentine was designated Naval Aviator Number 2878.

In 1933, Ballentine was a Lieutenant Commander in command of Torpedo Squadron (VT-2B) attached to the USS Saratoga.

At the outbreak of World War II, he was serving as Executive Officer of the aircraft carrier USS Ranger. On 24 December 1941 he was ordered to take command of the carrier USS Long Island.

From May until December, 1942, he served as Chief of Staff and Aide to the Commander, Carriers, Atlantic Fleet, and on 25 May 1943, he took command of the newly constructed aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill. During his time on Bunker Hill, Ballentine saw action in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, as well as at Rabaul. In February 1944, Rear Admiral Ballentine reported for duty as Deputy Chief of Staff and Aide to the Commander, Aircraft, Pacific Fleet, at Pearl Harbor, HI, serving in that duty until October 1944.

On his return to the U.S. he served from November 1944 until 26 June 1945 as Commander, Fleet Air, Seattle, WA. On 27 June, Rear Admiral Ballentine reported to 3rd Fleet at Leyte for temporary duty as Commander, Carrier Division Seven, and hoisted his flag in in the USS Bon Homme Richard. Here he was joined by key staff officers from Pearl Harbor. Until he was detached on 19 August, ComCarDiv Seven was in an indoctrination status and observed the operations with the prospect of being assigned a task group.

Ballentine was then assigned duty as Fleet Liaison Officer for Commander-in-Chief Pacific at Headquarters, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, Pacific. He landed at Atsugi Airport on 30 August in the airborne occupation of Japan escorting General of the Army Douglas MacArthur to the surrender ceremonies on the battleship U.S. Missouri on 2 September 1945.

In January 1946 Admiral Ballentine reported to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, for duty as Assistant on the Military Staff Committee of the Security Council, United Nations, and was designated Chief of Staff and Deputy to Admiral Richmond K. Turner, Representative of the Chief of Naval Operations on the Military Staff Committee of the Security Council of the United Nations. He continued those duties when Admiral Turner was relieved by Admiral Henry K. Hewitt in March 1947 and remained until he was detached in July 1947.

When asked to comment on the United Nations Military Staff Committee negotiations during the 1946-47 period, Ballentine said: "Diplomacy is completely frustrating to somebody like Kelly Turner and to me, because you fan the air, and fan a lot of papers, and get absolutely nowhere with it. "

He made a five-month cruise in the Mediterranean in USS Midway in the winter of 1947 and made a similar cruise with the Sixth Fleet in USS Roosevelt in 1948-49. He served as a Member of the General Board, Navy Department. Washington, DC, before taking command of the Sixth Fleet.

In November 1949, Vice Admiral Ballentine was named Commander of the Sixth Fleet, U.S. Naval Forces, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, succeeding Admiral Forrest P. Sherman. He served in the Mediterranean area previously as Commander of Carrier Division ONE.

In 1951, Vice Admiral Ballentine assumed duty as Commander, Air Force, Atlantic Fleet, with headquarters at the U.S. Naval Air Station, Norfolk, VA. He remained in this command until retirement.

Ballentine was one of the honorary pallbearers at Admiral Percival Sherman's (CNO) funeral.

Upon his retirement in 1954, he was advanced to the four-star rank of Admiral. *

* The Act of Congress of 4 March 1925, allowed Navy officers to be promoted one grade upon retirement if they had been specially commended for performance of duty in actual combat. These promotions were colloquially known as "tombstone promotions" because they conferred the prestige of the higher rank but not the additional retirement pay, so their only practical benefit was to allow recipients to engrave a loftier title on their business cards and tombstones. An Act of Congress on 23 February 1942, enabled tombstone promotions to three- and four-star grades.

Medals and Awards

Silver Star Medal
Legion of Merit with Combat "Valor" Device (3 Awards)

In Retirement

After retirement from the Navy, John and Catherine moved to their home, Millbank Farm, in Dogue, VA.


John Ballentine married Catherine Howard Sheild in 1922. They had two sons, John J. Ballentine Jr., born on 5 August 1923, and an infant, Howard S. Ballentine, born/died on 15 September 1929.

Death and Burial

Admiral John Jennings Ballentine died on 21 May 1970. He is buried at Emmanuel Episcopal Church Cemetery in Port Conway, King George County, VA.

He was survived by his wife, Catherine, who died on 28 December 1981, and by his son, John Jr. who died on 5 June 2007.

Honoree ID: 459   Created by: MHOH




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