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Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard

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Information about Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard

Profile image of Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard

Profession

Category:
MilitaryMakers
Occupation(s):
Military Officer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere Near Water
Favorite Quote:
Get Over It.

Birthplace

Born:
3/27/1942
Birth Location:
Meeker, Louisiana

Profession

Category:
MilitaryMakers
Occupation(s):
Military Officer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere Near Water
Favorite Quote:
Get Over It.

Birthplace

Born:
3/27/1942
Birth Location:
Meeker
See how Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Retired Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and entrepreneur Lieutenant General Joe Nathan Ballard was born on March 27, 1942 in Meeker, Louisiana. The son of sharecropper parents, Ballard grew up in Oakdale, Louisiana where he attended Allen Parish School for Colored Youth. As a child when his mother told him that his father was not able to read, it became Ballard's mission to teach his father to read. He read his father the Bible until 1960 when he went away to college. Ballard attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, majoring in electrical engineering. He graduated in 1965 and joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Ballard went on to earn an M.S. degree in engineering management from Missouri University of Science and Technology in 1972. He also graduated from the Engineer Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Army Command and General Staff College and the Army War College.

Ballard started his career in the U.S. Army while still in college, working with the advanced ROTC program at Southern University. When Ballard graduated in January of 1965, he immediately joined the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant and was assigned to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He was one of very few African Americans assigned to that unit. While in the U.S. Army, he served two tours in the Vietnam War, first, as platoon leader of the 84th Engineer Battalion. He, then attended the Engineer Officer Advanced Course and served as commander of Company C, 864th Engineer Battalion, and then chief of Lines of Communications Section Operations of the 18th Engineer Brigade. Between 1993 and 1995, Ballard served as Commander of the U.S. Army Engineer Center at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He, then, served as Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. Subsequently, in 1996, Ballard made history by becoming the 49th Chief of Engineers for the U.S. Army, being the first African American to hold this position.

In 2000, Ballard retired from the U.S. Army. That same year, he became president and CEO of a business development company called the Ravens Group, LLC. In 2002, he founded TRG Construction, Inc., a general contracting firm, where he also serves as president and CEO.

Ballard has received several honors during his career. From the military, he received two Distinguished Service Medals, three Legion of Merit awards, two Bronze Stars, and few other honors. He has also received several honorary degrees, including an honorary doctorate of law from Lincoln University.

Ballard is now retired from the military and resides in Davidsonville, Maryland.

See how Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard describes his mother's family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard describes his mother's family background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard describes his paternal grandmother's childhood in Louisiana
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lt. Col. Joe N. remembers teaching his father to read
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard lists his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard remembers growing up on a farm in Meeker, Louisiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard describes the sights, smells and sounds of his childhood, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard describes the sights, smells and sounds of his childhood, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard remembers Allen Parish School for Colored Youth in Oakdale, Louisiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard recalls his first television set
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard explains the impact of television on society
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard describes teachers who influenced him
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard recalls learning to be a leader
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard recalls how he became interested in electronics
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard recalls his decision to attend college
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard remembers choosing Southern University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard describes his experience at Southern University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard recounts how H. Rap Brown received his name at Southern University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard describes the culture of Southern University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard remembers advancing in the Reserve Officers' Training Corp
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard recalls his experience in the Reserve Officers' Training Corp
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard recalls the Civil Rights Movement in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard remembers civil rights activism at Southern University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard explains his civil rights activism and his U.S. military service
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard reflects on lessons he learned in ROTC
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard describes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard recalls his U.S. military service in Vietnam
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard remembers Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard remembers Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard recalls his moral dilemma after Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard describes reconciling his military service with his racial identity
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard describes the loss of community after desegregation
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard describes the status of African American soldiers in the Vietnam War
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard explains his decision to leave the U.S. military
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard recalls moving to Des Plaines, Illinois, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard recalls moving to Des Plaines, Illinois, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard describes his work at Illinois Bell Telephone Company
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard recalls racial discrimination at Illinois Bell Telephone Company
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard recalls reenlisting in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard explains his U.S. Army recruitment strategy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard recalls his mentor HistoryMaker General Colin L. Powell
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard remembers his advancement in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Joe N. Ballard remembers his appointment as brigadier general