SIDNEY — Ed Ball, executive director of Shelby County Veterans Services, addressed the Sidney Kiwanis Club during a recent meeting.
The Veterans’ Service Commission is a county agency dedicated to aiding veterans in times of need, he said.
Ball served in the U.S. Navy from 1976 to 1997 and retired as a chief petty officer. Serving just under 21 years, it was, as the recruiting commercials used to say, not just a job, it was an adventure, he noted.
“Having come from a family with meager means, college was out of the question, and factories were staring me in the face during my youth. I elected to make the Navy a career, and I am so glad I did. I had found my niche in life. Finally something I was good at. Thanks to all the wonderful leaders and shipmates throughout my career, that made all the difference in the world,” he said.
Ball initially told the Navy he would like to be deployed to the east coast so he was sent to the Pacific and the Far East. He visited Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Apra Harbor, Guam; Subic Bay, Philippines; Yokohama, Yokuska and Sasebo, Japan; Pusan, Incheon and Pohang, South Korea; Hong Kong; Singapore; Malaysia; Adelaide, Woomera, Perth, Harold E Holt North West Cape, Australia; Diego Garcia; Abu Dhabi; Bahrain; Dubai; Matzalan, Mexico; San Francisco; Seattle; and Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia.
From June until August 1976, he trained at the Recruit Training Center at Great Lake Illinois. He then attended radioman “A” school until December 1976. From December 1976 until May 1979, he served on the aircraft carrier USS Constellation. During that time, he was temporarily assigned duty on the USS Bagley FF-1069. From May 1979 until May 1980, the Belknap-class destroyer USS William H. Standley CG-32 was his home.
From May 1980 until February 1985, Ball spent time on land at NTCC Subic Bay, Philippines. He was back in the U.S. from April to October 1985 at the Naval Training Center in San Diego for communications systems technical control school and leadership management and educational training.
After that, it was back to the Far East to Sasebo, Japan, aboard the Austin-class amphibious transport dock USS Dubuque until November 1988. Ball then served on a number of mine sweepers as a communications security custodian.
From December 1988 through June 1991, it was dry land once again at the Naval Communications Station in San Miguel, Philippines. Then it was on to NCTS Cubi Pt, Philippines, until November 1992. It was in June 1991 that Ball was witness to the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo. The eruption produced high-speed avalanches of hot ash and gas, massive lahar floods and huge clouds of superheated volcanic material. Ball saw complete devastation of areas where previously had stood forests of trees.
Ball completed the last two years of his career in the Defense Information Systems Agency field office in Guam.