National Medical War Memorial and Youth Educational Center

Contact Us
Convention Center
History Walk
In The News
Military Museum





Medical Memorial Sculpture written by Amy Millett

This piece represents Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class
Donald E. Ballard U.S. Navy, Company M, 3rd Battalion, 4th
Marines, 3rd Marine Division, May 16, 1968, Republic of

The sculpture depicts Corpsman Ballard treating three
Marines. Two are down and one is kneeling, providing
security for his 6 clock.

In actuality Ballard was treating seven Marines at the time
of the incident. The event described by the citation, and in
interviews with Donald Ballard and other serviceman, is
that there were seven Marines he was treating while they
were receiving small arms fire and grenades at the medical
treatment area. One of the wounded Marines at the time
would later receive the Navy Cross and retire as Sergeant
Major of the Marine Corp.

On Col. Ballard's left, there is one man who lost both of his
legs from a grenade. During the time Ballard was treating
the wounded, grenades were coming in, and he had to
throw them back.

The soldier to Col. Ballard's right in the sculpture, who had
been shot in the leg and was already bandaged up, took a
shot in the face. With his mouth full of blood, he choked
out, "Grenade!" Corpsman Ballard didn't know how long
the grenade had been there, but in order to save the
wounded men's lives he threw himself on it. When the
grenade didn't go off right away, Corpsman Ballard thought
to himself. "Maybe I can get rid of this sucker, because I
have to get back to work". So he covered the man who had
lost both legs and threw the grenade away. They believe
the grenade went off after that.

Looking at the base of the sculpture from the front, one
sees the plaque with Donald Ballard's rank, date and place
of incident on the base. In the center one sees HM2 Donald
Ballard falling forward onto the grenade. On the right, on
the front base, is the Navy Congressional Medal of Honor.
And to the left is a Purple Heart with two oak leaf clusters
indicating the three Purple Hearts Corpsman Ballard
received. On the left side, in raised relief, is "CORPSMAN
UP" which is the call sign for the Marines. On the right side
is a quote from the Bible JOHN 15:13 in which Christ said,
"Greater Love hath no man than this, that he lay down his
life for his friends". Corpsman Ballard holds in his right
hand, in the proper manner, a field dressing with the sterile
side inside. The intent was to show that his reaction was so
immediate that he had not let go of the field dressing.
And his hands are raised to be able to throw the largest
part of his chest area on the grenade. On his helmet is
"DOC, Kansas City Kid." This was his nickname as Ballard
was from Kansas City, MO. There is a round in the tear in
his helmet cover which he said he put there. On the left side
of his flack jacket is a caduceus (medical symbol) as well as
on the base next to the Purple Heart. He carries a revolver,
an Air Force survival knife in his boot, and a Marine K-Bar.
Corpsman Ballard carried three canteens at the time in
order to have water for the men suffering from the heat and
sunstroke. In his bandoleer, in which one usually carries
ammunition, he carries bandages. His sleeves are rolled,
and he wears a watch. His AK-47, one that he never fired, is
laying down on the base in the front. In the front also is the
chi-com grenade on which Corpsman Ballard threw

Right side of the sculpture

With these Marines a dog tag was placed in the left boot for
identification which is shown with the man who lost both
legs. Corpsman Ballard was working on this Marine when
they received more gunfire and grenades. One can see the
hemostat on the blown off left leg. The Corpsman bag is
open. There are dressings in there. The surgical kit is laying
open on the wounded soldiers abdomen. All over the base
are empty field dressing wrappers. In order to use an M-16
as a splint for an IV bottle, the weapon must be cleared, the
clip removed and the bolt cleared. The removed clip and
extra rounds are found on the base near the M-16. There
are spent round cartridges all around the base.

Left side of the sculpture

About Sculpture
In Appreciation
Statue View
Your Story










© 2006-2012 - National Medical War Memorial Foundation & Anago institute.
                                                     All Rights Reserved - Reproduction in Any Form Prohibited Without Written Permission

                                                     Last update: 28 May, 2006.  This site first placed into service on 18 February, 2000.