Donald Everett Ballard was born on 5 December 1945, in Kansas City, Missouri. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on 27 December 1965 and attended the Naval Hospital Corps School in Great Lakes, Illinois, before his first assignment to the Naval Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. He joined the 2d Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in October 1966.

In January 1968, he reported for duty with Headquarters and Service Company, 3d Battalion, 4th Marines, 3d Marine Division, and was then deployed to the Republic of Vietnam. Hospital Corpsman Third Class Ballard served in battle with Company M, 3d Battalion, 4th Marines, in Quang Tri Province. There he unhesitatingly put himself in the line of fire to aid wounded Marines. On 16 May 1968, as HM3 Ballard treated several Marines who were hit by enemy fire during an ambush, a grenade fell close to his group of men. HM3 Ballard yelled a warning, threw himself over the grenade, and waited for the blast. When the grenade failed to detonate, he calmly got back up and continued administering medical aid. For his inspiring courage and daring initiative, HM3 Ballard received the Medal of Honor.

Hospital Corpsman Third Class Ballard was also awarded the Purple Heart with two gold stars in lieu of a second and third awards for wounds received in enemy action. He returned to duty after the first two wounds, but was evacuated to Okinawa following the third. After two months, HM2 Ballard returned to the United States to work once again at the Naval Hospital in Memphis. He was released to inactive duty in the Naval Reserve on 26 February 1970 and was presented the Medal of Honor by President Richard M. Nixon at the White House on 14 May 1970.

He entered the U. S. Army National Guard, where he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Medical Service Corps, in 1970. He was promoted to colonel in 1998 and retired in 2000. In addition to his reserve duty, Col Ballard worked as a medical technician with the fire department in Kansas City, Missouri, and owned two funeral homes.

In addition to the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart with two gold stars, Col Ballard’s awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with two bronze stars, the Fleet Marine Force Combat Operations Insignia, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Navy Medal of Honor recipients serving with Marine units at the time of award

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