|Pfc. Nile Ballard, 34th Infantry Division, was a POW when he died.|
Nile Clyde Ballard never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
On June 5, 1917 the big national news was the start of the draft that would result in 10 million American men registering for possible service in World War I. Of greater consequence for Lillian and Edgar Ballard was the birth of their son Nile on that day in West Virginia. His parents were also both born in West Virginia. His father worked as a railroad foreman. Nile had an older sister and a younger sister. By 1940 Nile had completed four years of high school, was working as a coal miner and living with his parents.
He enlisted in the army on February 22, 1942. He became a private first class serving as a medic in the 168th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division.
Pfc. Ballard would have participated in the invasion of North Africa and the fighting for Tunisia where he was reported captured by the enemy on February 1, 1943. In the course of his three years of service he manage to escape five times but he ultimately ended up as a POW at Stalag 3B near Fuerstenberg, Germany. He was tragically killed during an Allied bombing raid on April 15, 1945. The prison camp was liberated 20 days later.
His remains were returned to be buried at Drawdy Cemetery, Peytona, West Virginia.
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