Major General Duard D. Ball, 14th Commander of White Sands Proving Ground/Missile Range, was born October 11, 1930 in McAlester, Oklahoma. He served in the Naval Reserve from 1947-1950 and then in the Army Reserve until 1952. Upon graduation from Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University) in 1953, Ball received his commission in the Ordnance Corps as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in general agriculture.
Later he received a Master's of Business Administration from Babson Institute of Business Administration in Wellesley, Massachusetts and studied advanced management at the University of Pittsburgh.
Ball first came to White Sands in 1958. He worked with the Redstone missile project as a first lieutenant in missile guidance and as control officer. He was promoted to captain while at the missile range.
Fifteen years after he left, he returned to White Sands in 1975 as a colonel. He served as a special assistant to the commanding general for long-range planning. Later he served as director of Personnel, Training and Force Development and then as director of National Range Operations.
Ball assumed command of White Sands in March 1979 and left in July 1980 to become project manager for the Abrams Tank project in Warren, Michigan. While commander he founded the Hall of Fame to help recognize the efforts and work of civilians and military personnel here. His vision has made it possible to permanently honor those who have made lasting contributions to White Sands.
His concern for soldiers and civilians alike was demonstrated by his efforts to improve the work atmosphere and living conditions at White Sands. He made himself available to all range personnel and involved himself personally in their problems.
In addition, he further developed the range's working relationship with surrounding communities. He campaigned for their recognition of White Sands workforce contributions to the communities.
Ball also set new standards for missile range program management. This led to total achievement of mission goals and cost-savings objectives.
During his career Ball was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Soldier's Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal and Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters.
Ball retired from the Army in August 1984 after serving more than 31 years of active duty. He died in April 1986 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. In the months following his death Ball was inducted into the Ordnance Hall of Fame at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland and had a new, 15-suite guesthouse named for him at White Sands.