b. 05/12/1945 Kansas City, Missouri.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 16/05/1968 Quang Tri Province, Vietnam.
Ballard was born in Kansas City, Missouri and it was there that he enlisted in the United States 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 May 16, 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 US 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 the United States of America's highest award, the Medal of Honor.
After having left the Navy the previous year, Ballard received the Medal of Honor from President Richard M. Nixon and General Westmoreland 1970. He then enlisted in Army officer candidate school. Westmoreland offered Ballard a direct commission, however 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, and of which he was the first member and commander.
On April 5, 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.
Ballard has been active in providing services to veterans and active duty military, including work towards opening a USO facility in downtown Kansas City.