James Vincent Ballay

Army of the United States
04 January 1949 - 12 May 1970
Monett, Missouri
Panel 10W Line 021

Combat Infantry

Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Army Commendation, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for James Vincent Ballay

01 Feb 2004

James Vincent Ballay was born January 4, 1949 and his home of record was Monett, Missouri. He was a graduate of Monett High School in 1967. He was married to Marilyn (Hamilton) at the time of his death. Other survivors included his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Ballay and four sisters: Judy, Mary Jane, Barbara and Betty.

James served with the 3rd Battalion, 506th Infantry (Currahees) of the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. He died on May 12, 1970 and I believe it is possible he was one of the 28 men wounded in Cambodia on May 10th, when eight other Currahees were killed. Possibly not. He had only recently been promoted to Sgt. and had been awarded the Bronze Star, Air Medal and the Army Commmendation Medal.

James is buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Monett, Missouri.

God rest your soul, Currahee.

Anyone wishing to connect with the survivors of this unit, please contact currahee.org .

From a Currahee researcher.
E-Mail may be forwarded via the

13 Aug 2007

If you served with "Jimmy" feel free to e-mail me. I'd like to talk with you. Thank you for your service to our country.

From his nephew,
Michael Caleb Woodruff
4604 Mahonia Road, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87120

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The Se San River forms a portion of the Vietnamese-Cambodian border from the point where Kontum and Pleiku Provinces join on the RVN side extending south for about 15 kilometers, where the river turns west while the RVN-CB the border continues on in a north-south direction. The area on the Cambodian side of the border had been a North Vietnamese sanctuary from the earliest days of US involvement - in fact, the NVA troops engaged in the now-well-known Nov 1965 fights in the Ia Drang Valley ("We Were Soldiers") were supplied from the NVA base camps just across the border.

The 3rd Bn, 506th Infantry entered Cambodia's Se San River Valley on 05 May and immediately came in contact with NVA forces. The first five days of the operation were highly profitable - the US soldiers destroyed much of the NVA's supplies and infrastructure. That changed on 10 May, when B Company, 3/506 engaged an NVA battalion - eight Americans from the 2nd Plt were killed in the action:

  • SGT Lawrence N. De Boer, Grand Rapids, MI
  • SGT Frederick W. Harms, Peoria, IL
  • SGT Thomas B. Merriman, Paulding, OH
  • SGT Ernest L. Moore, Spring Lake, MI
  • SGT Leslie H. Sabo, Ellwood City, PA
  • SGT Donald W. Smith, Rantoul, IL
  • SGT Leslie J. Wilbanks, Gila Bend, AZ
  • CPL James E. Debrew, Whitakers, NC
Sergeant Ballay's Alpha Company wasn't involved in that action. Two days later, as the rifle companies worked their way through the heavy vegetation, Alpha's point man - Sergeant Ballay - spotted an Oriental soldier ahead of him and engaged the apparent enemy soldier. The soldier and his colleagues returned a heavy volume of fire. Although the returning fire was almost immediately recognized as coming from US rather than NVA weapons and the exchange was stopped within a matter of minutes, the damage had been done - Sergeant Ballay had been killed and several members of Delta 3/506 wounded, though none fatally.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his nephew,
Michael Caleb Woodruff
4604 Mahonia Road, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87120

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 1 Feb 2004
Last updated 03/21/2008