Robert Lee Ball

Private First Class
United States Marine Corps
29 November 1949 - 18 June 1968
Trenton, New Jersey
Panel 56W Line 017



Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Robert Lee Ball

08 Apr 2008

I never got a chance to know you but you were a friend of my cousin Pat Allen. You lived on her block. I was at your funeral just before leaving for Parris Island. I didn't understand your sacrifice at the time but now, having served, I DO! I pray that all who knew and loved you are blessed. I know you are in Heaven ... away from the horrors of war and the ugliness of this world. Semper Fi - Book

From a fellow USMC Vet and acquaintance,
Richard Booker
505 S. 3rd Street, Colwyn, Pa 19023

If you are able,
save them a place
inside of you
and save one backward glance
when you are leaving
for the places they can
no longer go.

Be not ashamed to say
you loved them,
though you may
or may not have always.
Take what they have left
and what they have taught you
with their dying
and keep it with your own.

And in that time
when men decide and feel safe
to call the war insane,
take one moment to embrace
those gentle heroes
you left behind.

Major Michael D. O'Donnell
170th Aslt Helo Co
Missing in Action 24 Mar 1970

A Note from The Virtual Wall

During the latter half of June 1968 the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines were providing security for the Khe Sanh Combat Base. During the early morning hours of 18 June 1968 The Kilo 3/4 position came under attack. The following description is taken from 3/4's Command Chronology:
"18 June: 3/4 received an attack from an estimated NVA company from the 88th Regiment of the 308th Division. At 0555H Co "K" received a light probe and called in illumination mixed with high explosive. At 0610H, Co "K" received the main thrust of the attack. The enemy crawled to within 30 feet of the lines before launching their attack. The attack was supported by 82mm mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. The NVA were able to penetrate the FEBA. Co "M" was informed by Col BOURNE to displace one platoon OPCON to Co "K". At 0620, an Aerial Observer came on station and observed one group of 25 to 30 NVA and numerous smaller groups of eight to ten NVA at XD875264. He called in fixed wing air strikes and Huey gun ships. The attack continued until 0945. The NVA left snipers and automatic weapons behind to try to cover their withdrawal. ... At 1030, Co "K" with the platoon from Co "M" were able to restore the FEBA and tie in with Co "I". ... At 1215, units began to sweep the battlefield and to clear out the remaining pockets of resistance. At 1417, the sweep was completed ... The casualties were 14 KIAs and 30 WIAs. There were 129 NVA KIAs confirmed (91 small arms, 25 artillery, 13 air)."
Fifteen American dead can be associated with the fight, including two combat engineers. They are
  • A Co, 3rd Engineers
  • H&S Co, 3rd Bn, 4th Marines
    • LCpl Carey L. Johns, Oneonta, AL (with Kilo 3/4)
    • Pvt James E. Degnis, Worcester, MA (with Kilo 3/4)

  • K Co, 3rd Bn, 4th Marines
    • SSgt Albert R. Taylor, Springville, CA
    • Cpl Fergus J. Carroll, Philadelphia, PA
    • Cpl James M. Mathews, Butler, NJ
    • LCpl Steven B. Lavigne, Cheboygan, MI
    • LCpl Elwood Owens, Windsor, NC
    • LCpl Rito Silva, Alice, TX
    • Pfc Robert L. Ball, Trenton, NJ
    • Pfc Ronald D. Fogard, Battle Lake, MN
    • Pfc William T. Gibson, Easton, PA

  • M Co, 3rd Bn, 4th Marines

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a fellow USMC Vet and acquaintance,
Richard Booker
505 S. 3rd Street, Colwyn, Pa 19023

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 08 Apr 2008
Last updated 04/26/2008