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Robert Lewis “Bob” Ballard

11/3/1924 – 11/10/2020

Branch: Navy
Rank: ETM 3rd Class
Unit: Electronics Technicians Mate
Service Dates: 1944 – 1946
County: St. Louis City
City: St. Louis, MO
Conflicts/Significant Events: World War II Stationed on the USS Cero & The USS Balao   

Story uploaded/modified: Sunday, December 7, 2008/Monday April 25th, 2022

Bob volunteered in the United States Navy where he was active duty from 1944 to 1946. There he studied electronics and graduated from the U.S. Navy’s submarine school with the rank of ETM3c (Electronic Technician’s Mate) in January, 1946. He schooled at NTC Great Lakes, IL; NTSCH Michigan City, IN; NTC (EE& RM) Gulfport, MS; NTSCH Navy Pier Chicago, IL, and PSC Lido Beach, Long Island, NY. While at Great Lakes Naval Training Station Robert volunteered for the drum and bugle corps. Robert’s first assignment was the submarine USS Cero, a Gato-class submarine in drydock for overhaul at New London, CT, and then on the USS Balao, the lead ship of the Balao-class of submarines based out of Portsmouth, NH. On the USS Balao, Robert worked in communications (the wireless room), which included the ship’s radar. In his free time aboard ship, Robert took correspondence courses through the United States Armed Forces Institute. The USS Balao patrolled the Atlantic looking for Japanese subs until the cessation of war with the surrender of Japan in August of 1945. On June 15, 1946 Robert was honorably discharged at the U.S.N. Personnel Separation Center in Lido Beach, Long Island, NY. (Incidentally, the USS Balao later enjoyed stardom in 1959 when it was featured as the pink-painted submarine in the Cary Grant comedy Operation Petticoat while based out of Key West. It returned to full service until it was later decommissioned in 1963). In June, 1946, Robert re-enlisted with the Navy, (inactive status) and was honorably discharged a second time on June 15, 1950 at Hdqtrs 1ND, Boston, Massachusetts. Robert was the recipient of the American Theatre Medal and the Victory Medal for his active service.


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