Legend of my Grandfather

Informant-Wesley Ball: This piece of legend has been passed down through the Ball family for generations. It tells of our heritage and the possibility of a late relative of ours. My father heard it from his grandfather and it is an important story to our family. Wesley Ball is a 50-year-old male from Marion Indiana. Gathered via an email.

Legend: Papa was born in 1929. He graduated from High School at the age of 16 and entered Clarkson College under the Reserve Officers Training Program (ROTC) where he got a degree in electro-mechanical engineering in exchange for a 5 year commitment to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. He graduated and entered the Army in 1949 where he was stationed at Fort Bragg in Kentucky. A year later, the U.S. entered the Korean Conflict. Engineers had a very dangerous job. They were tasked with clearing mine fields, building bridges while under fire, and doing construction on the front lines. Engineers were getting killed and wounded constantly. As a member of the Corp of Engineers, he assumed he would get shipped out to the war at any time. But new engineers came and went and he never was moved from Ft. Bragg. He worked on base doing the same office job. The Korean conflict ended in 1953 and papa was still sitting at FT Bragg doing the same office work for the Corp of engineers. He kept doing his job until he was supposed to be discharged in 1954 after fulfilling his 5 year commitment. When the time came, he didn’t get his discharge papers and he stopped getting his army pay. He started asking questions and nobody could figure it out. They had no record of him at FT. Bragg but the Army paymasters in the Pentagon had him as discharged. After a 2 month investigation they found papa’s army file, it had been mishandled and his file had slid down to the bottom of a filing cabinet. He was discharged and moved on with his life. But had it not been for the lost file, papa would have been shipped to Korea and given the high casualty rate for enginers, if not for the Army’s mistake, we may not even exist!

Thoughts: I love this story because I want to believe that it really happened. I was always told this by my father who made it clear that this story is the reason I exist!