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First Name: Donald

Last Name: Ballard

Birthplace: Kansas City, MO, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Kansas City, MO
Middle Name: Everett

Date of Birth: 05 December 1945

Rank: Colonel

Years Served: 1965 - 1970 (Navy), 1973-2000 (Army NG)
Donald Everett Ballard

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Donald Everett Ballard
Colonel, Kansas National Guard
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Donald Everett Ballard is a retired Colonel of the Kansas National Guard. He is also a former Hospital Corpsman in the U.S. Navy where, while serving in the Vietnam War, he received the Medal of Honor.

Ballard was born on 5 December 1945 in Kansas City, MO, and it was there that he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Sent to Vietnam, Ballard served as a Corpsman in the Quang Tri province with Company M, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines (Mike 3/4) of the 3rd Marine Division.

On 16 May 1968, Ballard treated two Marines suffering from heat exhaustion and, when returning to his unit from the casualty evacuation helicopter pad, he and his company were attacked by the North Vietnamese Army. While under fire, Ballard directed aid to other wounded Marines and when a grenade landed nearby, he lay on top of it to protect the wounded. The grenade failed to explode and Ballard was able to throw it away to explode harmlessly, and then continue to treat the wounded. For his actions, he received America's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Hospital Corpsman Second Class, United States Navy, Company M, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division.

Place and date: Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, 16 May 1968.

Entered service at: Kansas City, MO. Born: 5 December 1945, Kansas City, MO.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life and beyond the call of duty while serving as a HC2c. with Company M, in connection with operations against enemy aggressor forces. During the afternoon hours, Company M was moving to join the remainder of the 3d Battalion in Quang Tri Province. After treating and evacuating 2 heat casualties, HC2c. Ballard was returning to his platoon from the evacuation landing zone when the company was ambushed by a North Vietnamese Army unit employing automatic weapons and mortars, and sustained numerous casualties. Observing a wounded Marine, HC2c. Ballard unhesitatingly moved across the fire swept terrain to the injured man and swiftly rendered medical assistance to his comrade. HC2c. Ballard then directed 4 marines to carry the casualty to a position of relative safety. As the 4 men prepared to move the wounded Marine, an enemy soldier suddenly left his concealed position and, after hurling a hand grenade which landed near the casualty, commenced firing upon the small group of men. Instantly shouting a warning to the Marines, HC2c. Ballard fearlessly threw himself upon the lethal explosive device to protect his comrades from the deadly blast. When the grenade failed to detonate, he calmly arose from his dangerous position and resolutely continued his determined efforts in treating other Marine casualties. HC2c. Ballard's heroic actions and selfless concern for the welfare of his companions served to inspire all who observed him and prevented possible injury or death to his fellow Marines. His courage, daring initiative, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of extreme personal danger, sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

After having left the Navy the previous year, Ballard received the Medal of Honor from President Richard M. Nixon and General Westmoreland in 1970. He then enlisted in Army Officer Candidate School. Westmoreland offered Ballard a direct commission but Ballard turned it down for personal reasons.

Ballard later joined the Kansas National Guard in 1973, and served as an ambulance platoon leader, company commander, and was tasked with creating the new 'Medical Detachment 5,' a unit which performs medicals on Guard members in order to save the cost of contracting outside medical help. Ballard was the unit's first member, and commander.

On 5 April 1998, Ballard was promoted to Colonel by Major General James F. Reuger and served as Special Assistant to the Adjutant General until his retirement in 2000.


Inducted into the National Guard Hall of Fame in November 2001, Ballard is the only living Kansas Guardsman to have received the Medal of Honor.

He is also the subject of a memorial statue at the National Medical War Memorial in Kansas City, depicting Ballard during the action for which he received the Medal of Honor.

Honoree ID: 888   Created by: MHOH




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