MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- With rockets exploding
around him and the entry control point in complete chaos, a security
forces Airman took decisive action to help quell the enemy threat
and treat wounded comrades.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Ball (second left), 366th Security Forces Squadron
controller, and other Defenders pose for a photo at a deployed
location in Iraq on August 27, 2009. With rockets exploding around
him and an entry control point in complete chaos, Ball, a graduate
of Yuba City High School, Calif., took decisive action to help quell
the enemy threat and treat wounded comrades. (courtesy photo)
Some were wounded, a few dead, others assisting and many
heading for cover. As for Staff Sgt. Daniel Ball, a 366th
Security Forces Squadron controller, running to a bunker
wasn't an option on that brisk March morning in 2007 at
Tallil Air Base, Iraq. There was work to be done.
was asleep in my bed when I heard a lot of explosions," Ball
said. "After listening for about 20 seconds, I realized it
was incoming and not outgoing fire, jumped out of bed, threw
on my gear, grabbed my weapon and ran out of the building.
We had to go find the points of impact and clear them of any
hazards or wounded personnel."
That was Ball's third tour in Iraq and the long-range
Air Force sniper was already seasoned.
sergeant, another Airman and I got into our (vehicle) and
called (the Base Defense Operations Center) to let them know
we were mobile," said Ball, a graduate of Yuba City High
School, Calif. "After about 30 seconds on the road, we heard
a panicked radio call. It was our commander and he needed
help near (the base's entry control point)."
team lead called the operations center to let them know
they'd respond and assist. When they got on scene Ball
noticed a truck fully engulfed in flames and wounded
Soldiers on the ground. With rockets still landing in the
area, Ball quickly grabbed the medical kit and rushed to
assist some of the victims.
"I found my commander was
already there and had put a tourniquet on one guy's lower
leg," he recalled. Ball then noticed quite a bit of bleeding
on the Soldiers upper torso and began to apply combat
Looking around, Ball saw chaos in all
directions, he said, and remembered seeing one Soldier
kneeling over his comrades.
"The smell was one of the
worst things about that day," Ball said. "It's a smell you
can never forget."
Ball's been in the Air Force
roughly seven years. He has completed several advanced
training courses, including advanced designated
marksmanship, long-range sniper training, detainee
operations, convoy security, emergency services team
training and the combat life saver course. He has worked
with Army Special Forces and the 820th Battle Group from
Moody Air Force Base, Ga.
He's done everything, he
said, from combat operations to giving first aid to injured
Ball said he suffered nightmares, but is
confident he's always done the right thing and did his best
to save lives. Still, Ball has advice for any Airman who may
find themselves trekking similar paths to one's he's
"Don't hold (stuff) in and let it eat away
at you. Talk to someone," Ball said. "You're never fully
prepared for a combat zone until you get into it, but be as
ready as you can. You need to take all your training
seriously no matter how many times you've been through it.
It could save you or someone else's life."
Remembering the good and the bad days in the deserts of
Iraq, Ball can confidently say, "I did my job."
By USAF Master Sgt. Kevin Wallace
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
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