MG James W. Ball

Ball was born in Columbia, MS, on February 10, 1939. He completed high school in 1956 and attended Mississippi State University where he received a Regular Army commission in 1960. As student, he was a member of Kappa Alpha fraternity and of Scabbard and Blade and graduated as a distinguished military graduate with a B.S. degree in industrial management.

Entering the Army in 1960, Lieutenant Ball completed the Infantry School Basic Course and was a Platoon Leader and Assistant S4 with the 2nd Airborne Battle Group, 187th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. Fort Campbell, Kentucky. After, he transferred to an Ordnance career as a project officer for the Procurement and Production Directorate at the United States Army Missile Command. Following a tour in France, Ball spent six months S-4 for the 62nd Maintenance Battalion in Vietnam before completing a year as Commander of the 149th Maintenance Company of the 62nd. He completed the Ordnance Advanced Course at Aberdeen in 1968, and, following an assignment with the Defense Contract Administration Services District in Atlanta, the Command and General Staff College course at Fort Leavenworth in 1970. From 1970 until 1973, he was successively Logistics Staff Officer for the Deputy Chief of Logistics. U.S. Army Europe and a student at the U.S. Army Logistics Management Center at Fort Lee, Virginia. Ball completed an MS degree in Contract and Procurement Management at the Florida Institute of Technology in 1974.

He was one of the last Americans to leave when North Vietnamese forces moved into Saigon in April 1975. As a member of the Defense Attaché Office, he handled all requisitions for supplies, equipment, and spare parts. He was one of the officers in charge of the evacuation of American and allied soldiers and civilians, as well as their families.

In 1983, Colonel Ball began a 38-month assignment as Project Manager for Training Devices with the Office of the Deputy Commanding General for Research. Development and Acquisition. U.S. Army Material Command, in Orlando, Florida. Having been selected for Brigadier General in July 1986, Ball spent two years as Program Executive Officer. Combat Support Systems, U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Command. Warren, Michigan.

In August, 1988, he became Chief of Ordnance and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Ordnance Center and School. During his two years there, budget allocations were gradually reduced by the Department of the Army from $26 million to less than $19 million. Despite the challenge which this presented, the NCO Academy was recertified, and the Ordnance Museum was readied for recertification after an effort of several years, a process which was successfully completed several months following General Ball's departure. With consistent effort by the entire staff, the caliber of ROTC graduates brought into the Ordnance Corps underwent great improvement, and efforts to bring in quality students were made throughout the School program. Needed improvements were made in the ability of enlisted men and NCO's to diagnose and fix equipment faults in the field. The first half of the Warrant Officer Corps course had been moved to Fort Rucker toward the end of General Salomon's tour as Chief, which meant that General Ball could concentrate on upgrading the second half of the course offered at the Ordnance School. Continuing attention was given to the training of reserve components, and considerable effort was expended on the upgrading of existing school facilities and on the completion of several essential new building projects. A bookstore for the students was finally opened in one of the classroom buildings in the summer of 1990, climaxing an effort of many years' duration. General Ball is presently assigned to the Pentagon as Director for Supplies and Maintenance, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics. General Ball retired in 1993.