George C. Ball, Jr., Papers

Manuscript Collection #678
Ball, George C., Jr., 1919-
Physical description
0.65 Cubic Feet, consisting of correspondence, orders, briefings, speeches, printed material, photographs, and miscellaneous items.
Preferred Citation
George C. Ball, Jr., Papers (#678), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1941-1968) including correspondence, orders, briefings, speeches, printed material, photographs and miscellaneous items.

Biographical/historical information

George C. Ball, Jr. (Jerry) was born in Memphis, TN (May 20, 1919), graduated from the United States Naval Academy (1941), and was assigned to the battleship USS NORTH CAROLINA (BB-55). Ball entered submarine training school in New London, CT (March 1942), and spent the next eighteen months on board the submarine USS S-14 (SS-119), rising from engineer to gunnery officer, communications officer, navigation officer, and finally to executive officer. Ball became the youngest submarine commanding officer in the Navy when he took command (January 1944) of the submarine USS 0-6 (SS-67). Ball then served as executive officer (April 1945-April 1947) on the submarines USS SAND LANCE (SS-381), USS GUAVINA (SS-362), and USS CONGER (SS-477); commanding officer (1950-1952) of the submarines USS ENTEMEDOR (SS-340) and USS TENCH (SS-417); coordinator for training reserves (1954-1956) aboard the submarine tender USS HOWARD W. GILMORE (AS-16); and commander (June 1963-August 1964) of the attack transport USS MONROVIA (APA-31). Ball's administrative duties included serving as naval aide to the commander in chief of the Caribbean (January 1948-June 1949); working in the office of the chief of Naval Operations (1952-1954); commander of Submarine Division 42, Key West, FL (1956-1957); member of the joint staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1958-1960); commanding officer of the Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (1961-1963); assistant director and later director of the Naval War College (1965-1967); commander of Submarine Squadron 12, Key West, FL (January 1967-July 1968); and deputy chief of staff for the US Southern Command in the Canal Zone, Panama (1968-1971). Ball retired as a captain (June 30, 1971).

Scope and arrangement

The collection's correspondence consists mainly of orders, reports, and requests for leave. Of particular interest are Ball's description of a fire that destroyed transport USS LAFAYETTE (AP-53) while docked in New York (February 10, 1942); details of base life in Panama and the Panama Canal Zone (June 1, 1948 - May 24, 1949), and a detailed account of the water tending and re-supply duties of the self-propelled dredge YW-114 on a mission out of Cuba (November 24, 1962). Correspondence written while in Cuba after the Cuban Missile Crisis mentions the possibility of lifting the quarantine on American families, reopening base schools at Guantanamo Bay, and the return of families (November 27, 1962, December 2 & 26, 1962). Life on base in Key West (January 25, April 10, 1968) is also described in the correspondence.

Naval war training operations are discussed in the correspondence and include two war games that resulted in casualties. Detailed are the deaths of two men who fell off the deck of the submarine USS PICUDA (SS-382) in the open sea during Operation Quick Pursuit (April 18, 1967). Further correspondence deals with poor training and job quality, inadequate safety precautions, laxness of submarine commanders in avoiding detection, and the actions of the PICUDA' s captain during Quick Pursuit (May 11, 1967, February 28, 1968). Also mentioned are the grounding of the nuclear submarine USS SEAWOLF (SSN-575), and the loss of the Israeli submarine DAKAR and the French submarine MINERVA during Operation Springboard (February 1, 5 1968). The loss with all hands of the nuclear submarines USS THRESHER (SSN-593) and USS SCORPION (SSN-589) are also discussed (April 12, 1963, March 2, 1967, May 27, 1968). Other training exercises referred to are Portex and Caribex (March 15, 1950), the joint US/Spanish war game Poopdeck 2-67, and the joint US/French war game Fairgame V (May 24, 1967).

Other correspondence addresses discipline and the growing disregard of submarine commanders for enforcing safety procedures, observations of the periscopes of several submarines during maneuvers, poor mess hall procedures, and the lack of command discipline (March 2, 1967). Also discussed are the construction of nuclear submarines USS TAUTOG (SSN-639) and USS HADDOCK (SSN-621), describing problems, needs, status reports, personnel assignments, and sea trials (January-December 1967; March 13, 1968); the military trials of three seamen from submarine USS SEACAT (SS- 399) caught with marijuana and the dangers of marijuana street peddling (August 10, September 27, 1967; January 22, 1968); and a meningitis outbreak (February 12, 1968) on board the submarine tender USS HOWARD W. GILMORE (AS-16). A booklet attached to a letter (June 3, 1968) discusses the financial benefits to Panama from the United States presence in Panama and the Canal Zone. Miscellaneous items include a civilian account of daily naval maneuvers in the Caribbean, a 1958 report of a study by OPNAV/BUPERS Personnel Monitoring Group entitled "Desirability and Selection Criterior for Early Promotion of Naval Officers," photographs (mostly Naval personnel shots), speeches and briefs given to various crews, several issues of publications from the US Naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (1960), and a Boy Scout handbook for the Panama area.

See also George Ball Oral History #139.

Administrative information
Custodial History

May 25, 1994, 1,100 items; Papers (1941-1973) of US Naval Officer, USNA Class of 1941, including correspondence, reports, briefings, speeches, orders, photographs, and miscellaneous materials. Gift courtesy of Captain George C. Ball, Jr., USN (Ret.), Orlando, FL.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Captain George C. Ball, Jr.

Processing information

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Key terms
Personal Names
Ball, George C., Jr., 1919-
Corporate Names
Lafayette (Transport ship : AP-53)
Picuda (Ship)
Scorpion (Submarine)
Seawolf (Submarine : SSN-575)
Thresher (Submarine : SSN-593)
Nuclear submarines--United States
Submarine disasters--United States
Submarine warfare--United States
Submarines (Ships)--United States
War games, Naval
United States--Foreign relations--1961-1963

Container list
Box 1 Correspondence and Orders 1941-1963
Box 2 Correspondence and orders 1963-1968, 1971, nd; Biographical Information
Box 3 Civilian Observer; Printed Material; Miscellaneous Material; Photographs