World War IIUS Army Air Corps Reserve
233rd AAF BU, Davis-Monthan Field, Tucson, Arizona
Service Number: O-2059437
Born: November 27, 1922
Inducted: February 19, 1943
Died: November 30, 1944 Tucson, Arizona
Buried: Eckley Cemetery, Block 5 Lot 5
Son of Vern J. and Ethel D Tuell Ballard of Eckley.
Wray Gazette December 7, 1944
An Eckley Pilot Meets Tragic Death
Second Lieutenant Harold Dean Ballard, Met Death on Flight From the Base at Tucson, Arizona
It was a shocking bit of news that came to the home of Mr. and Mrs. V.J. Ballard and announced to them the tragic death of their son, Second Lieutenant Harold Dean Ballard, on Thursday November 30.
Lieutenant Ballard was pilot on a B-24 and met his death while on flight from the base at Tucson, Arizona, though details of the accident are not known at this time. He as an intelligent young man with a high appraisal of the virtues of life and was only too willing to give of his very best in the service of his country. The entire community extends its sincerest sympathy to the loved ones of Lieutenant Ballard, who gave his last full measure of devotion to the cause of justice and peace.
The body was brought to Eckley by a military escort and memorial services will be held this (Thursday) afternoon at 2:00 p.m. at the Eckley Community Church. The veterans of Foreign Wars will have charge of the services assisted by Rev. A.C. Schaub. A trio composed of Betty Sutter, Norma Whittenberg and Mrs. LaVonne Millikan will sing "My Task," "Goodnight, Good Morning," and "The Lord is My Shepard."
Second Lieutenant Harold Ballard was born on November 27, 1933 at Eckley, Colorado and departed this life November 30, 1944, at the age of 22 years and three days. He is the only son of Mr. and Mrs. V.J. Ballard of Eckley.
He grew to manhood in Eckley and graduated from the Eckley high school with the class of 1940. For three summers he attended Camp Chief Ouray, a YMCA camp near Grandby, Colorado.
Harold then entered Greeley State College of Education in Greeley in the fall of 1940. He was a member of Lambda Gamma Kappa and Phi Epsilon Phi, a Men's National Pep Fraternity. At the beginning of his junior year of college, he volunteered in the Army Air Corps Reserve and left to begin his training on February 19, 1943. His initial training was begun at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, where he spent a month. His college training was received at Michigan State College, East Lansing, Michigan. Harold took his pilot training at the Classification Center in San Antonio, Texas; Chickasha, Oklahoma, Garden City, Kansas, and Frederick, Oklahoma and graduated from the Frederick Army Air Field with the class of 44E on May 23, 1944 receiving his wings as a pilot and commission as a Second Lieutenant.
After spending a fifteen day leave at the home of his parents, he reported to Fort Worth Army Air Field at Fort Worth, Texas. Upon completion of his training there, he spent a ten day delay-in-route at his home, then reported to Davis-Monthan Field at Tucson, Arizona where he accidentally met death in an airplane crash. He was pilot on a B-24 bomber.
Besides his parents, Mr. and Mrs. V.J. Ballard, he is survived by one sister, Betty Jo, his grandmothers, Mrs. Alta Ballard of Denver, Colorado and Mrs. Anna Tuell of Eckley, Colorado and a host of other near relatives and friends.
Funeral services will be held at the Eckley Community church on December 7, 1944, at 2:00 p.m. The service will be in charge of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, assisted by Rev. A.C. Schaub. The funeral address will be give by Carl A. Hutchinson of Otis Misses Betty Sutter, Norma Whittenberg and Mrs. LaVonne Millikan will sing "My Task," "Goodnight, Good Morning," and "The Lord is My Shepard."
Interment will be at the Eckley cemetery.
The untimely demise of this splendid young man has laid a burden of sorrow on all who knew him. Lt. Ballard was a young man of high ideals and character and was one of the country's finest as attested by the position he held in the U.S. Army.
Extract of AAF Accident Report - 11 December 1944
2Lt. Ballard had primary training at Chickasha, Ok, Basic at Garden City, Ks, Advanced at Frederick, Ok, B-24 transition at Fort Worth, Tx and was rated a pilot 23 May 1944. Pilot time was 480.40 hrs. B-24 time was 205.30 hrs.
NARRATION OF EVENTS
Aircraft numbers 42-73344 (here after referred to as Baker 2 - [Ballard's Plane]) and 42-73357 (here after referred to as Baker 5) were two of an eighteen ship formation. The formation was mad up of three boxes of six ships, each using a Combat Box Stagger type of formation. Each Box was made up of two three-ship elements in a V, the second element being stagger and stacked up.
Both aircraft were assigned to the same Box, Baker 2 being right wing man in the first element and Baker five being right wing man in the second element.
The first ship of the formation took off at 0730 MST, the following ships at 30-second intervals, using runway 120. The sun's glare made it exceedingly difficult to see the aircraft in front, causing confusion as to which were the lead aircraft. Contributing to the confusion, one aircraft aborted the formation to the inside, being unable to retract the landing gear. In this confusion Baker 2 formed on Baker 4 in Baker 5's position. Baker 5 then pulled up under Baker 2 and slightly to the rear. The collision occurred shortly thereafter. On impact, Baker 5 dived straight into the ground and Baker 2 did a maneuver described as a chandelle before rolling over and diving into the ground.
The aircraft crashed approximately 200 yards apart from an altitude of 1,500 feet. All occupants were killed instantly. Both aircraft exploded and were burned completely on contact with the ground.
Confusion as to identity of aircraft arising from formation take-off into the sun and improper technique in leaving formation when aborting.
That a formation control Officer ride in the tail position of the lead aircraft of the formation.
That sun glasses be made available for all pilots required to fly formation.
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