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Oral History interview of Charles E. Ball. Interview conducted by Allan Schmidt at University of Central Florida.


0:11 Introduction; 1:00 Date and place of birth; 1:05 Parents occupations; 1:16 Education growing up; 1:53 Family in Military; 2:23 Why he choose Navy; 3:03 Boot Camp; 4:23 Training to be Navy Combat Medic; 7:59 Receives Navy Commendation in South Carolina; 9:28 Duties while in Da Nang; 12:12 Marines reaction to a Navy Combat Medic; 13:41 Typical day in Da Nang; 14:30 Leeches; 15:37 Interactions with the locals in Vietnam; 16:44 Communications with home; 18:00 Liberty in Bangkok; 19:04 Most memorable while on Liberty; 19:49 Most memorable experience while in Da Nang; 21:14 Using C-4; 22:48 Diesel Fuel explosion; 24:01 Things do not go as planned; 26:13 Why he left Navy; 27:47 Talking about medals; 30:04 Last 30 days in country; 32:08 Falling off the hill; 33:53 meeting the SGT. I saved in Okinawa; 35:56 A rewarding job; 38:32 I don't wake up screaming; 40:20 Meeting wife at Pax River Naval Air Station; 41:03 Cold hard dose of life; 43:14 Life after the Navy; 44:53 Received by community after discharge; 46:12 No contact with fellow veterans; 48:29 Veterans groups; 49:31 Making his way to Florida; 51:16 His time in Okinawa; 53:23 Final Thoughts.

Date of Birth


Place of Birth

Washington (D.C.)




White - Non Hispanic

Home State


War or Conflict

Vietnam Era



Begin/End date of Service - 1st



Video; MovingImage


Entrance into Service


Branch of Service

U.S. Navy

Unit of Service

September 1965 - November 1965 Boot Camp (Great Lakes, IL); November 1965 - February 1966 USS Wasp (Aircraft Carrier) (Boston, MA); February 1966 - May 1966 Navy Hospital Corps School (Great Lakes); May 1966 - September 1966 Naval Hospital, Charleston, SC; September 1966 - October 1966 Field Medical School, Camp Lejeune, SC; November 1966 - November 1967 Fleet Marine Force, Marine Corps, Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, DaNang, Vietnam; November 1967 - September 1968 Patuxent River Naval Air Station; Discharged September 4, 1968

Location of Service

Great Lakes (Ill.); Naval Hospital Newport (R.I.); Camp Pendleton (Calif.); Da Nang (Vietnam); Naval Air Station Alameda (Calif.)

Highest Rank

Petty Officer 3rd Class; PO3

Prisoner of War


Service Related Injury





National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Campaign Medal; Vietnam Service Medal


"At Charleston Naval Hospital, SC, received a Navy Commendation for saving a teenager's life who was thrown from his car during an accident near where my friend and I were hitch-hiking back to the base, right place at the right time; Proud to have been a Navy Combat Medic for Marine Corps infantry." -- The veteran.


"I was 17 when I joined the Navy; young, stupid and naive. In a little more than 1 year later, 2 weeks after turning 19, I am in Vietnam about ready to put-on a flack-jacket, a helmet, and prepare my medical kit to spend the next 30-days living in rice-paddies and elephant grass while it rained; a theme that would repeat itself for the duration of my time in Vietnam. Welcome to Vietnam and the war. And, there is always more in a war zone. When I came home from Vietnam, I certainly wasn’t a kid anymore and not the same person. To be clear, although it change my life forever, I don’t wake up with nightmares or cold sweats, but I do remember both the good and the bad, and will dwell on the good if I think about it. I will share with you that there is one thing this 19-year-old Corpsman looked forward to when we were out in the field: the rain. I remember vividly getting rained on, trying to sleep in the rain and walking for long periods in the rain..." – The veteran. He was awarded Vietnam Service Medal with Marine Corps Insignia and Vietnam Service Medal with Bronze Star. Service role and location details: Boot Camp (Great Lakes, IL); USS Wasp (Aircraft Carrier) (Boston, MA); Navy Hospital Corps School (Great Lakes); Naval Hospital, Charleston, SC; Field Medical School, Camp Lejeune, NC; Fleet Marine Force, Marine Corps , Da Nang, Vietnam; Patuxent River Naval Air Station.

City of Birth


Country of Birth

United States


Schmidt, Allan

Interview Date

Fall 10-19-2017

Location of Interview

University of Central Florida


Ball, Charles E. ; Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Personal Narratives; United States. Navy

Collection Description

Contains logs, audio and video recordings of interviews with Central Florida's veterans as part of a history class project for the students at the University of Central Florida (UCF). The UCF Community Veterans History Project(CVHP) started in fall 2010. It collects, preserves, and makes accessible to the public the experiences of Central Florida's veterans so that future generations will better understand the realities of conflict. It is a collaborative endeavor supported by multiple departments and offices at UCF. The veterans' histories are archived and made digitally available through the UCF library and selected materials are contributed to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress

Contributor Affiliation / Organization

RICHES University of Central Florida


Schmidt, Allan

Length of Interview

57 Minutes


Department of History, University of Central Florida




All rights are held by the respective holding institution. This material is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. For permission to reproduce and/or for copyright information contact Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries, (407) 823-2576. http://library.ucf.edu/about/departments/special-collections-university-archives/


University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives

Contributing Project

UCF Community Veterans History Project

Document Type