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John Ball, Sr. celebrates 60-year Legion membership

Pictured presenting the 60 Year American Legion Membership Plaque to John Ball, Sr. at his home are: (from left) Chuck Mehls, Post Honor Guard Commander; Ed Groom, Quartermaster; Lee Feneis, Champlain; and Loren Barnes, 1st Vice Commander. Photo courtesy of the New Richmond American Legion

On Jan. 4, the American Legion Honor Guard provided a special tribute and plaque to John Ball, Sr. at his home honoring 60 continuous years of membership in the New Richmond American Legion Post 80.

Ball entered military service in November 1948 and trained with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Being a "jumper" with the 101st was optimal at that time and Ball chose not to go into that area. He became interested in medical supplies and was assigned to inventory and processed these items for the Division Logistical Command. He was then sent to Fort Sam, Houston, Texas, which was becoming a medical training center for the U.S. Army, and became certified as a medical supply technician.

Ball's tour of duty was up in 1950 and he reverted to reserve status only to be called back to active duty when the Korean Conflict broke out. This time, due to his medical supply certification, he was assigned to the hospital staff of the Fort McCoy base hospital, which had been empty since World War II, with the exception of a medical clinic.

Now, with the wounded being brought back to the U.S., the Fort McCoy Hospital was renovated and prepared to receive patients. Ball was placed in charge of medical supply procurement, inventory and storage. He continued this mission until being discharged from active duty in October 1952.

After spending a few years in California and beginning to raise a family, Ball returned to New Richmond where he joined the New Richmond American Legion in 1957.