Air Force Memorabilia

Ball, Howard R.

Rank: Staff Sergeant
Serial Number: 33285049
Military Branch: 8th Bomber Squadron, 3rd Bomber Group
Origin: Pennsylvania
Date of Death: 1944-3-19
Manila American Cemetery
Featured: No

Howard Ball was born November 15, 1912 in Butler, Pennsylvania. His mother was Minnie Ball of 123 Donaghy Avenue, Butler, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Army on July 23, 1942 in Pittsburgh.

Sgt Ball was a gunner on an A-20G fighter/bomber,tail number 43-9462, nicknamed "Mugwump", that carried a crew of 3. The three crew members KIA March 19, 1944 were Ball, Staff Sgt. Otis Cunnagin, S/N 35126210, and 2nd Lt. Norman L. Craig, S/N O-675173.

On the 8th Attack Squadron website it states: "March 19..(Mission) 79-L…Seven A-20s took off to bomb and strafe a convoy northwest of Kairiru Island. One Lugger was sunk by direct bomb hits. A large Fox Tare Charlie was sunk. One A-20 was believed shot down by a strafing B-25 and one plane landed at Dumpu with machine gun holes in gunner's compartment, also believed due to strafing of the B-25. 4000 pounds of bombs were dropped and 4050 rounds of ammunition were expended in strafing." Thus, Sgt Ball's A-20 "Mugwump" was destroyed by friendly fire when he was on his 42nd combat mission.

Sgt Ball's obituary ran in the Butler Eagle in March, 1944 along with a front page story about his death. That story is reproduced below.

A great website that shows extensive details of day to day missions for Ball's outfit can be found at:

Sgt Ball's group includes his posthumous officially engraved slot brooch Purple Heart and posthumous officially engraved soild brooch Air Medal. Both medals come with their presentation boxes. Also included is a copy of Ball's Air Medal Decoration award card, and a copy of the newspaper article referenced above. The grave memorial marker shown below is in the Saint Peters Cemetery in Butler, Pennsylvania.

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