The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
BALLARD, DONALD E.
Rank and organization: Hospital Corpsman
Second Class, U.S. Navy, Company M, 3d Battalion, 4th Marines, 3d Marine Division. Place
and date: Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, 16 May 1968. Entered service
at: Kansas City, Mo. Born: 5 December 1945, Kansas City, Mo.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life and beyond the call of
duty while serving as a HC2c. with Company M, in connection with operations against enemy
aggressor forces. During the afternoon hours, Company M was moving to join the remainder
of the 3d Battalion in Quang Tri Province. After treating and evacuating 2 heat
casualties, HC2c. Ballard was returning to his platoon from the evacuation landing zone
when the company was ambushed by a North Vietnamese Army unit employing automatic weapons
and mortars, and sustained numerous casualties. Observing a wounded marine, HC2c. Ballard
unhesitatingly moved across the fire swept terrain to the injured man and swiftly rendered
medical assistance to his comrade. HC2c. Ballard then directed 4 marines to carry the
casualty to a position of relative safety. As the 4 men prepared to move the wounded
marine, an enemy soldier suddenly left his concealed position and, after hurling a hand
grenade which landed near the casualty, commenced firing upon the small group of men.
Instantly shouting a warning to the marines, HC2c. Ballard fearlessly threw himself upon
the lethal explosive device to protect his comrades from the deadly blast. When the
grenade failed to detonate, he calmly arose from his dangerous position and resolutely
continued his determined efforts in treating other marine casualties. HC2c. Ballard's
heroic actions and selfless concern for the welfare of his companions served to inspire
all who observed him and prevented possible injury or death to his fellow marines. His
courage, daring initiative, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of extreme
personal danger, sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.