Claude Russell Ball was born in Washington, Pennsylvania, on September 25, 1899, son of William S. and Emily J. (Rohm) Ball. Before graduation from High School in 1920, he had World War I service in the US Navy from February 4, 1918 to August 14, 1919, being discharged as a Pharmacist’s Mate. During that period he was graduated from the Hospital Corps School in Newport, Rhode Island, and served in the Naval Hospital, Chelsea, Massachusetts, and aboard USS Vestal.
He continued his education after the war, graduating from the Bridgeport High School in Bridgeport, West Virginia, in 1920 and received the Bachelor of Science degree from the University of West Virginia at Morgantown, in 1925. Two years later he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Medicine from the University of Maryland School of Medicine at Baltimore, having served his student internship at Baltimore City Hospital in 1926-1927.
He was commissioned Lieutenant (jg) in the Medical Corps of the US Navy on June 8, 1927, and his period of internship at the US Naval Hospital, Brooklyn, New York. He was advanced to Lieutenant on June 30, 1934, and through subsequent promotions attained the rank of Captain to date from June 1, 1943.
From June 1928 through 1930 he served on Asiatic Station, with duty aboard USS Black Hawk, tender for destroyer squadrons, Asiatic Fleet and USS Paul Jones, also assigned to the Asiatic Fleet. He returned to the United States as Medical Officer in USS Hart and USS Rizal, and in 1931-1932 served as Ward Medical Officer at the Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The next year he was a graduate student at the Naval Medical School, Washington, DC; and served with the Civilian Conservation Corps as Camp Surgeon Clearfield, Pennsylvania, and later as Sub-District Medical Advisor in Norfolk, Virginia.
In 1934 he attended a postgraduate course of instruction in Psychiatry and Neurology at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Washington, DC, and for two years thereafter was Assistant Medical Officer at the Fleet Air Base, Coco Solo, Canal Zone. Assigned in October 1936 to the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, he served as Assistant Medical Officer there until June 1940. A month later he began duty afloat as Senior Medical Officer of the light cruiser, USS Savannah, in which he was serving off Bermuda when the United States entered World War II in December 1941. He was aboard when the Savannah became a unit of the Naval Force group assigned the task of immobilizing the Vichy French warships in Port de France, Martinique.
When detached from the Savannah in June 1942, he was ordered to the Receiving Station, Terminal Island, San Francisco, California, where he served as Senior Medical Officer from September 1942 until February 1943. In 1943-1944 he was Senior Medical Officer aboard USS California, which participated in the capture and occupation of Saipan in the Marianas operation in the Pacific. He was transferred in January 1944 to Base Hospital #8, where he served as Executive Officer until February 1945, followed by duty as Director of the Division of Physical Qualifications and Medical Records, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Navy Department, Washington, DC.
In October 1949 he joined the staff of the Commander in Chief, US Atlantic Fleet, and in July 1951 returned to the United States for duty at the Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland. He remained there until October 1951, after which he served as Senior Medical Officer at the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, with further duty on the staff of the Commandant of the Severn River Naval Command. In July 1953 he became Commanding Officer of the US Naval Hospital, Yokosuka, Japan, his present assignment.
Captain Ball has the World War I Victory Medal; the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; the American Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; the National Defense Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal; and the Korean Service Medal.
Captain Ball is a member of Theta Kappa Psi; Army and Navy Club, Washington, DC; the Medical Society of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital; the American Medical Association; and the Association of Military Surgeons.