PFC Heavy Weapons Infantryman John Walter Ball
Record NO: (35)
Rank / Rate
PFC Heavy Weapons Infantryman
War of Service
Date of birth
Jul 6, 1930
Place of birth / home town
Family Members
High School
Enlistment Date
Service Number
Unit / Ship / duty Station
Co D, 1st Battalion, 32nd Inf reg, 7th Inf div
Date of Casuality
Nov 30, 1950
Cause of Death or Status
Place of Incident
North Korea , Battle of Chosin Reservoir
Place of Burial or Memorial
Missing: Memorialized at Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial
★ Purple Heart ★ Army Good Conduct Medal ★ National Defense Service Medal ★ Korean Service Medal ★ United Nations Service Medal ★ Republic of Korea War Service Medal ★ Army Presidential Unit Citation ★ Republic of Korea Presidential Citation ★ Combat Infantryman Badge ★ Marksmanship Badge
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On November 27, 1950, the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), tasked with replacing the 5th Marine Regiment on the east side of the Chosin Reservoir, arrived at the P'ungnyuri Inlet. That night, Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) launched a massive surprise attack against the soldiers of the 31st RCT. The first unit to be attacked was the forward-most element of the 31st RCT, the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment. A brutal 17-day battle in freezing weather and rough terrain soon followed. In the period between 27 November and 13 December 1950, 30,000 United Nations troops were encircled and attacked by approximately 120,000 Chinese troops.Although the Chinese were numerically superior, the 31st RCT managed to repel the initial attack; however, the CCF attacked again the next night, as well as the night after that. Eventually, on December 1, the 31st RCT began to withdraw from the P'ungnyuri Inlet to Hagaru-ri. Private First Class John Walter Ball, who joined the U.S. Army from Ohio, was a member of D Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. He was killed on November 30, 1950, during this action at the Chosin Reservoir, though the exact details surrounding his death are unknown. His body was not recovered at the time of his loss, and he was not identified among the remains returned to U.S. custody after the war. He remains unaccounted-for. Today, Private First Class Ball is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. His name is also inscribed on the Korean War Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, DC, which was updated in 2022 to include the names of the fallen. Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Deferred.