Medal of Honor Recipient Speaks with Somerville High School Students

Medal of Honor Recipient Donald Ballard


By William Tauro
This past Wednesday, a motorcade of Massachusetts State Police Special Operations motorcycle unit agents and troopers escorted United States Medal of Honor Recipient Donald Ballard to the Somerville High School auditorium where he spoke in front of Somerville High School students. 
The Somerville Police Honor Guard was there in full force for the opening ceremony as Somerville honored retired Colonel Donald Ballard to the stage.  
Colonel Ballad wearing his Medal of Honor that was presented to him by late President Richard Nixon, gave a motivational talk to the students inspiring them to be the best that you can be in this world. 
Ballard was a Corpsman Second Class in the U.S. Navy, Company M, 3d Battalion, 4th Marines, 3d Marine Division during the Vietnam war. 
Donald Ballad later retired at the rank of colonel from his military career.  

He also spoke about a situation during a conflict in battle when he fearlessly threw himself upon the lethal explosive device, a hand grenade to protect his comrades from the deadly blast and saved countess lives in his platoon.
During the Vietnam War, Ballard served one partial tour of duty, 13 months, then recalled waking up in a hospital in Japan recovering from his wounds.  
His speech also talked about teaching students to live, respect each other and to help out people and to make a good impact in society. 
Ballad also spoke about receiving several other medals over the years and stated that he was credited in saving seventy nine lives in his military career. 
He later spoke on his post military career of when he got back into the states and became a police officer for seven years. He also stated that later he changed uniforms again and became a EMT in his town. 
After the talk, Ballard took a series of questions-and-answers from the crowd of curious students that asked a variety of questions that Ballard gladly and proudly answered. 
Ballard’s Citation

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.


2 thoughts on “Medal of Honor Recipient Speaks with Somerville High School Students”

  1. This article does not begin to describe how inappropriate, abrasive and insulting this person’s speech and comments were during his appearance at Somerville High School. Clearly, the author of your article did not speak to any of the students or teachers who had the misfortune to witness the event.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.