Retired Sep. 1, 1992.
Brigadier General William J. Ball is commander of the 552nd Air Control Wing, Air Combat Command, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. He is responsible for the worldwide operations of the E-3, EC-135 and specialized EC-130.
General Ball was born in Lincoln, Neb., in 1941, where he graduated from Southeast High School in 1959. He earned a bachelor of science degree in military science from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1963 and a master's degree in management from Troy State University in 1978. The general completed Squadron Officer School in 1970 and Air War College in 1982.
Upon graduation from the academy in 1963, General Ball entered undergraduate pilot training with the 3615th Pilot Training Wing, Craig Air Force Base, Ala. He attended F-102 air defense training at Perrin Air Force Base, Texas, from September 1964 until March 1965, when he reported to Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., for F-101 air defense training.
The general's first operational flying assignment was with the 13th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Glasgow Air Force Base, Mont., where he flew F-101s from June 1965 to December 1966. He then entered F-4 upgrade training with the 4453rd Combat Crew Training Wing, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. In June 1967 he was assigned to the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing, Cam Ranh Bay Air Base, South Vietnam.
Upon his return to the United States, General Ball was assigned to the 4453rd Combat Crew Training Wing, Davis-Monthan, as an F-4 instructor pilot from July 1968 to May 1970. After completing Squadron Officer School, he served as air officer commanding, in charge of Cadet Squadron 25, Air Force Academy, from August 1970 to June 1973.
He then transferred to the 86th Tactical Fighter Wing, Ramstein Air Base, West Germany, where he served successively as squadron flight commander, chief of wing standardization and evaluation, and squadron operations officer with the 512th Tactical Fighter Squadron. From May 1977 to August 1978 he was assigned to Kalkar Air Station, West Germany, where he served as chief of current operations and chief of support with the NATO Operations Support Cell.
In August 1978 General Ball was assigned to Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va. He first served as chief, Weapons Systems Division, Directorate of Requirements, and later as chief of command presentations, Directorate of Operations. He then attended Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., from August 1981 to May 1982.
He transferred to Homestead Air Force Base, Fla., as assistant deputy commander for operations with the 31st Tactical Training Wing and became deputy commander for operations in February 1983. He was assigned to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., as vice commander, 4th Tactical Fighter Wing, from March 1985 until March 1986, when he became commander. In April 1988 General Ball was assigned as commander of the Southeast Air Defense Sector, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.
In April 1989 he assumed command of the 28th Air Division, Tactical Air Command, Tinker Air Force Base. In the next three years, the general commanded Compass Call, the Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center, the 8th Air Deployment Control Squadron, and worldwide U.S. Airborne Warning and Control assets during the Panamanian invasion, and during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and counter drug operations. He assumed his current command In May 1992 when the 28th Air Division was deactivated to become the 552nd Air Control Wing.
The general is a command pilot with more than 3,700 flying hours in the T-29, T-33, F-101, F-102, F-4C/D/E's, F-15 and E-3. His flying hours include 200 combat missions in Southeast Asia. His military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters, and Air Force Commendation Medal.
He was promoted to brigadier general Sept. 1,1989, with same date of rank.