Ball, John L., Sgt

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 611-Aerial Gunner
Last AFSC Group
Air Crew (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1943-1943, AAF MOS 611, 419th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
Service Years
1941 - 1943
USAAFEnlisted Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
Not Specified
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Ball, John L., Sgt.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
419th Bomb Squadron
Oudna Base # 2, Tunisia

Casualty Date
Sep 25, 1943
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
World War II
Location of Interment
Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery - St. Louis, Missouri
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section 82, Site 242

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
World War II Fallen
  1943, World War II Fallen

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Aerial Gunner Badge

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)301st Bombardment Group, Heavy  419th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1941-1943, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)
  1943-1943, AAF MOS 611, 301st Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1943-1943, AAF MOS 611, 419th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1943-1943 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Tunisia Campaign (1942-43)
  1943-1943 Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)/Operation Strangle
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-17 Flying Fortress  
  1943-1943, B-17 Flying Fortress
 Additional Information

Last Known Activity
Not much has been located on John L. Ball's early life. It has been established that he was born in Rockcastle, Kentucky on September 16, 1921. His parents were George R. and Eva J. Ball. The US Census 1930 has the family in Livingston, Kentucky.

His NARA enlistment forms state he enlisted in the military on May 28, 1941 at Fort Thomas, Kentucky as a private. It further states he had completed 4 years of high school. His occupational group is given as "actor."

He was trained as an aerial gunner, and assigned to the combat crew led by Lt Stapleton. The crew arrived in Tunisia in July, 1943, and began flying missions against targets in North Africa and Italy.

On September 25, 1943, the crew was dispatched to bomb the Bolzana Railroad bridge in Italy. Enemy fighters were sighted, but did not attack the formation, but flak over the target was accurate and heavy.

Stapleton's aircraft dropped from the formation, streaming fuel from a ruptured fuel tank, evidently hit by flak. It went into a cloud bank, and no one sighted it afterward. It eventually crashed near Verona, Italy, killing all aboard.

The bodies were evidently recovered and buried locally, for after the war , the entire crew was returned to Missouri and buried in a common grave in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. The grave is in Section 82, Site 242.
US Census 1930
NARA Enlistment Records


Sgt John L. Ball was  the assigned tail gunner on B-17F # 42-5949, not named, assigned to the 419th Bomb Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report 767 was issued for this loss. Mission loading lists state the crew consisted of:

1 Lt Edward F. Stapleton  p
2 Lt Robert G. Warner  c-p
2 Lt James R. Fitzgerald  nav
2 Lt Max E. Doyle  bomb
SSgt Edward G. Gehrt  eng/tt gun
Sgt  Raymond D. Wagner  r/o
Sgt  Teddy E. Ray  btg
Sgt  John S. Dignan  wg
Sgt  Oscar J. R. Daniels  wg
Sgt  John L. Ball  tail gun

Ranks and grades as of mission date.

Awards and decorations from 301st Bomb Group records.

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