Lt Ken Ballard, my hero!

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Be sure to read the comments made from 12/27/03- 6/8/04, 12/27/03- 6/8/04,  5/22/05 - 12/31/06


6/9/04, Flagstaff, AZ

2Lt Jeremy Christopher


I salute you, sir, for your dedication and sacrifice for our country.  To the family of this fallen soldier, know that he died for a cause that is noble and just, and that his comrades will forever remember and be there for you. 
Hooah one last time for you, 1LT Ballard, and those that you love.
Very Respectfully,

2LT Jeremy Christopher


6/9/04, Newark, CA

Mike Warren

To the Ballard family. I send my prayers and sympathy for your loss. I knew Ken’s father in high school in Newark back in the 70’s. Ken makes me proud to be an American in these difficult times. Yes, he is a hero. No doubt. Mike Warren


6/9/04, Rio Rancho, NM

Andrea Fletcher-Gill


Dear Karen,
My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time, especially this morning, the day of Ken's funeral.  How difficult it must be as a mother to have your child go before you.  I knew Ken when he was a teen.  I knew him through Audrey and Betsy when I was teaching in Newark, CA.  He was such a neat teenager, a real gentleman.  What a wonderful man he became.  You have so much to be proud of!  Thank God for our wonderful servicemen and women that defend our country, and enable us to enjoy the freedoms that we do.  Thank you Ken, for your dedication and service to your country. 
Sending healing prayers and energy your way.
~Andrea Fletcher-Gill


6/9/04, California

Jolene Braymen

Dear Karen,
How sorry I was to hear about Ken and my heart goes out to you.  I remember
Ken when he was 8 years old and I was his teacher at Landels.  He had so much
enthusiasm, humor, kindness, energy, and such beautiful smile that lit up his
eyes.  We learned to read and write and I am so pleased he used his skills.  I
always told you he would be a reader because you were.  I am grateful to you
for sharing such a wonderful young man with me.  Ken's Room 12 teacher, Jolene Braymen



6/10/04, San Francisco, CA

Leonard Tran


Dear Ken's loving family,

I was part of the class of MVHS 1995. I am an Army specialist serving in Iraq. I am getting ready to come home. I did not know Ken but I felt a profound sadness when I found out he was killed. I am sorry during high school, I did not know him better. God bless you and Ken.


6/10/04, San Francisco, CA

Debra Parks


I attended your son's memorial yesterday.  I have tried to think of something poignant to say......I cannot.
I needed to put a face on this tragedy.........something I think EVERY American should see for themselves.
When they called out the names of Ken's friends.....and they answered......and then they called out Ken's name......THREE TIMES.......I could no longer hold back my tears.
My body was pierced with each firing of the twenty-one gun salute.  I could not help but think "Is this really what Ken wants to hear......again".
I needed to see them hand you medals in place of your son.
I needed to hear how and why it happened.
I needed to see, for myself, that this man was truly loved and will be greatly missed.
I love my Country......the United States of America......but when will it be said "Enough......Not one more?".......when we know someone who has died?
I am a single mother.  My one and only son is everything to me.  I can only imagine what it would be like to not see his precious face.....each and every day.
I even went so far as to FORCE him to see a Psychiatrist, who prescribed him Lithium, which he didn't take, but served as back-up, in my mind, that the Military could not take him.
I just can't pay "The Ultimate Price".
I love you and I truly care about your son and the loss of his life.

Thank you for allowing me to come and see this tragic passing of your son.


6/10/04, San Francisco, CA

Romer Serrano

My heart grows heavy over the loss of your son.  I did not know Ken personally, but knew of him through his father who spoke very highly of him.  My condolences and prayers go out to Ken's Family. 


6/10/04, San Francisco, CA

Deborah Mariottini


Having Grown up in Los Altos, attended and alum of MVHS class'84, I have been following
the tragic events of the loss of your son.  My heart goes out to you at this incredibly
sad and difficult time.  In viewing your website and all the handsome photos of Ken, I was amazed at his SMILE in every photo, despite the hostile circumstances.  A total stranger, yet his personality and smile radiated in every photograph.  May his memory and smile and heart forever be engraved in your deepest of hearts.  What a beautiful man.  I am sorry.



6/10/04, Mountain View, CA

El Camino Roadrunners



6/10/04, Ft Rucker, AL

Col Mark Farrell


From one old Cavalryman and fellow MTSU Blue Raider..., You got there before us, so save us a spot at "Fiddlers Green!"  I'll buy when I get there.

Mark Ferrell



LaDawn Ahlborn-Smith


 I am so saddened by the loss of Ken Ballard,. Although I have never met
him, I, like his parents, had a child born in  1977. Jennifer was a girl,
thank God! Not that it matters. we have very many great women in the
service, including my niece, and I am proud of them. And then I gave
birth to 3 sons; Matthew, Nick, and Adam Bagwill. They are 26,24,and 22
consecutively. How they managed to stay out of Iraq amazes me. Matt
joined the Army National Guard in 2000, and is now out of the military
and working as an accountant for Folsom Prison. He often looks back and
counts his blessings that he has a civilian life now in the midst of all
this turmoil. All 3 of my boys have many friends over in Iraq, and every
day I think about and pray for them. Ken is no exception.. I am hurt and
my heart is crying just as it would for someone who was close to me.
When a mother hears of a "man" dying, when he is the same age as one of
her babies, it always hits home.       I am a Christian woman, and will
ask my congregation to say a prayer for a fallen comrade this Sunday. My
prayers and thoughts go out to the Meredith and Ballard families.
God Bless the USA!!!!!

In Heartfelt Sorrow, 

La Dawn Ahlborn-Smith



6/11/04, San Jose, CA

Tony LaThanh

June 21, 2003. Wedding Day. Hello Ken,

I heard about you for the first time when my son married your cousin and during the wedding reception we got a congratulation call from you from Baghdad.

Friends and families were gathered for the joyous occasion. It was a time for our family to welcome a new daughter, to meet, to greet, and to welcome an entire new family; new grand parents, new aunts and uncles, new brothers and sisters, new sons and daughters, and new nieces and nephews. We have never met, but among this new family we have just welcomed, I felt an immediate connection when told you were of the newlyweds’ age, a “brother” to my new daughter, and why you were not at the reception.

There was carefree fun, there was celebration, there were tears of happiness, and peace of mind.

But your call reminded me that we live in a dangerous world, that there are people who do not like our way of life, and want to do us harm. We have walls to keep them out and you were not at the reception because you were standing guard on those walls for our security.

I said a silent prayer for your safe return. Thank you Ken.

November, 2003.  Thanksgiving Day.  Hello Ken,

I heard about you for the second time at the family Thanksgiving dinner at your aunt’s house with the grand parents, your mother, aunts, and cousins.

There was carefree fun, there was celebration, there was happiness, and peace of mind. When the family talked about you and got online to chat with you on instant messenger it reminded me again of the sacrifice you were making for us and were away from home because you were still standing guard on those walls for our security. I overheard you could be back for a surprise visit during the holidays and for sure in May for good and I looked forward to meeting you and thanking you in person.

I said a silent prayer for your safe return. Thank you Ken.

June 1st, 2004. Memorial Day.

I heard about you for the third time today when I received the phone call from my son that made this Memorial Day and all future ones closer to home and more significant than ever before. You stood your ground, defended those walls, and gave your life for us.

Although we have never met, by now somehow, I feel like I have known you all along. By birth a cousin to my daughter in-law but by choice a brother to her, and by extension a brother to my son and a new son to myself.

We attended a Memorial Day block party on our street and met most of our neighbors for the first time today.

There was fun, there was celebration, there was happiness, but this time, on the inside, there was a searing feeling of sorrow, of sadness, of loss, and a deep sense of gratitude. The new son I was waiting to meet made the ultimate sacrifice, is coming home, and we will meet in spirit.

I said a silent prayer for your return. Thank you Ken.

June 3rd, 2004. My son sent us the website your mother set up for you. We are meeting through your pictures. Hello Ken,

June 8, 2004. Goodbye Day.

You are home. Home with family, friends, and strangers who have come together today to cry, to remember you, pray for you, celebrate your life, and show their gratitude. From the tributes by people who knew you, I now know you are a life-loving person, a fun-loving person, a happy prankster with so many “best friends,” a caring and giving person who did a well-done job, lived a first-class life, and gave the ultimate gift.

Great meeting you, knowing you, so proud welcoming you. An honor!

Thank you and goodbye Ken.  



Jennifer Lombardi


Hi Karen,
I am a friend of Michel's and I attended the beautiful service for Ken yesterday. What a man!  What a son!  What a hero!  So many wonderful and touching things were said about your son. I am sorry I never got to meet him. He sounds like he was a very fun and uplifting person to be around. You must be so proud of him! Thank you for sharing him with all of us. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Jennifer Lombardi


6/12/04, Corte Madera, CA



Dear Karen,
There are no words I can say to adequately express the heartache I feel for you.  I know how very proud of Ken you are and what a close, loving relationship you shared as mother and son.  I regret that I never had the chance to meet Ken, because what I've learned from reading all these beautiful messages is how admired and loved he was by so many.  Ken really is everyone's hero! You are an extraordinary mother who raised a very special son.
I know that the bond you two have is unbroken and he will watch over you now.
They say that pain that is shared is diminished; I hope  there is some small comfort for you in realizing the number of lives Ken touched and how many, many people miss him along with you.
With love,


6/14/04, St Louis, MO

Jill H Garbs



6/14/04, El Dorado Hills

Jamie (Bell) Morgan


I went to high school with Ken and, while I did not know him well, this website has given me a glimpse into the life of a great man.  This website is a wonderful tribute.  I admire him for following his dreams, I thank him for his bravery in serving our country and I will pray for him and your family.



6/14/04, Santa Clara, CA

Kim Forsberg


I am an old friend of Cathy's since her early days at El Camino. I have been following this story and feeling for you for over 2 weeks now. My deepest sympathies go out to you. He sounds like a wonderful young man.





As many others have said, I did not know Ken personally, but I felt as though I did. I am Denise's cousin and she and Ken were such good friends. I'm so glad she was able to be with you Meredith and pitch in during this most difficult time of your life.

My brother is a Mst. Sgt in the Air Force and has served for over 20 years and seen more than his share of major conflict. We're one of the lucky families, as he's back home with us now and I thank God for that every day.

Ken was a brave and wonderful man and soldier and it's the world's loss that he is gone. I think Ken would say what I've heard my brother say many times, "this is what I do, I love it and I'm very good at it."

Ken is in a better place, but I know that doesn't help you much right now. I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't even imagine what you are going through. It's so hard to know exactly what to say.

You and your family will always be in my prayers as well as all of the other men and women in this conflict and their families. I hope it will all be over soon.

Thank you for being so brave through all of this and sharing your son Ken with us. It's my loss for never having the pleasure of meeting him.

God bless you and your family.




Leda Shetler


My dear Mrs. Ballard:
My son, a Gunnery Sgt. in the USMC just e-mailed me about Ken. He told me they were good friends. When I read about Ken in the paper I had no idea that Michael had known him.
I think I can imagine how you must feel, having a son in the Marines and another in the Navy, currently on his fourth tour of the Gulf. It is every mother's nightmare when the children are in the Service. Michael was in Afghanistan, and I was so happy when he returned safe and sound.
Please know beyond any doubt that your grief is a pain in my heart. There isn't anything that I could possibly say that would "make it better", I know that. I guess you could take some comfort in the fact that he died doing what he went into the Service for, and he was where he wanted to be.
I don't support the policy in Iraq but I certainly back all the troops 300%. You are in my thoughts and prayers, and like so many other Moms from Normandy until now, perhaps you can just take it one day at a time until the worst hurt is ebbing.
Leda Shetler



6/15/04, Shelbyville, TN

Mark Geeting


Of all the underclassmen that we had at MTSU Ken was my favorite. All we did was talk about being Armor Officers. Currently I'm with 4th ID down here at Fort Hood. My heart soared when I saw an email with his name on it. I thought perhaps he was coming to Ft Hood. Then I opened it and read the news of his death. I was hurt and still am. I've seen this damn war take friends of mine but Ken's death is one I'm really having a hard time with. I still remember running with him during PT in the morning in college like it was yesterday.



6/15/04, Arroyo Grande, CA

The Floth Family


Dear Karen,
We are so very sorry for the loss of Ken in your life. Our son Trevor has great memories of Ken and was devastated when he heard the news of his death. Trevor was so proud when you asked him to speak at Ken's service because Ken was truly a courageous hero and great friend in his eyes. We had the pleasure of having Ken in our home many times over the years and there were always lots of laughs when the two were together. There will always be wonderful, happy memories of Ken and he will be missed by our family.

Fondly, Larry & Lynn Floth


6/16/04, Marietta, GA

John Carter


Wow!  When I first heard of Ken's passing I really didn't fully take it in.  I thought it had to be another LT Ballard.  My buddy from AOB, lLT Bruggink, went to the funeral and brought back a bulletin and left it in my box at the troop.  I saw his picture and read the bio and thought "God no" - any one but Ken. Reality hit home and my heart sank.  Ken was a part of my platoon at AOB (in fact he was one of the four new LTs in my squad - there was LT Schuh, LT Talbot, LT Ballard, and myself).  I recall one night during our final FTX - I made a bad call - I felt as though I had let my platoon and all my buddies down.  And there he was re-assuring me (I was a former chaplain assistant and supposed to encourage them - how comforting it was to have him there to encourage me!) Ken was so untouchable - I admire his knowledge and how he was so able to get that knowledge down to my level.  I am still in shock - how is it that I live and he has passed on???? I mean this was not even the last thing I would have ever figured of happening - and if I did give it thought I figured I would be the one out of the four of us.

Ken - if there is one thing to say to you - if you are listening - Dude, you took me under your wing, helped me through AOB, and now while you are residing at Fiddler's Green, may I continue to draw on the memory of your strength and encouragement - and until we meet again - Bless you my brother.


6/17/04, Louisville, KY



I work with Ken's cousin in Louisville. After viewing his website...I appreciate even so much more what he did for our country and for the freedom of 25 million Iraqi's. To this day we already know Iraqi's income has gone way up...about twentyfold. They have virtually all schools open...hospitals up and shops open!...and goods available they've never had before. None of this would be possible without the devotion and sacrifices of people like Ken. We love him for his courage and devotion...his willingness to give. And Americans...knowing Saddam is gone means that country won't have a nuclear bomb...whether six months or six years from now. That could've been a bomb aimed at Israel...creating a world war...or a suitcase bomb aimed at us in one of our cities. Those possibilities now gone because of the bravery of our like Ken. God rest his soul...he did more in his lifetime than most will ever accomplish. We will never forget. Thanks, Scott


6/17/04, Oxford, MS

Melissa Riley


I heard about your son through a friend of mine, Jae Fulks, from MTSU. I have a close friend who just returned from Iraq and is set to go back in December. Please know that none of the freedoms that we experience daily are taken for granted, they are all appreciated, especially more so, on behalf of your Son and your sacrifice and that of thousands of other American soldiers who have given their lives for our nation. You and your Son and family are foremost in my prayers. I am so very sorry. Ken will not be forgotten. We all owe a debt of freedom to him and to you as well.
God bless,
Melissa Riley
Oxford, Mississippi


6/17/04, Ft Campbell, KY

Micheal Lilly


Dear Karen
    It has now been nearly three weeks since I have returned from California. There were so many things that I wanted to say to you but I never could find just the right time. First I would like to thank you for the privilege of returning Kens truck to you. I must admit that at first it was not a pleasant undertaking.  I initially felt like a huge weight had been placed upon Patrick and my shoulders. The knowledge that instead of Ken returning home at the wheel of his baby as he should have, we were returning Kens beloved truck to you, weighed very heavily on Patrick and I. At times the gravity of the situation seemed overwhelming. The mood for the first half of the trip was very somber. We were both in a state of shock and bewildered denial, Patrick even once made the comment that it felt like we were just borrowing Kens truck. But then a funny thing happened, somewhere in the vast expanses of the Utah-Nevada deserts we began to talk about some of the adventures that we had with Ken. We told tale after tale of Kens gregarious personality and his unabashed sense of humor. The more stories we told the better I felt. Somewhere just outside of Sacramento it hit me that Ken will never truly be gone from my life. He will live on in my heart.  Deep down, as close as he could possibly be, to my funny bone.
    I would also like to thank you for your strength. All of us who came out to Mountain View had moments where we thought we were going to break down into inconsolable wrecks. We only had to look at your kind smile and even though we knew that it hid more than a few tears, we all instantly feel better. You were a bastion of strength and whether you know it or not, you supported us far more than we could have ever supported you. Thank you. I wish I could say that I don't often think about the fact that Ken is no longer here on earth. But that we be a lie. There is not a day that goes bye that I don't think of that beautiful cloudless sunny day where I said goodbye to one of the finest human beings this world has ever produced.                        
I miss my friend.
Michael Lilly


6/18/04, Powell, OH

Lisa Zimmer


I am so sorry for your loss my name is Lisa Zimmer and my son Nicholaus was killed in Kufa on May 30,2004 I know that your sadness is as great as mine.  My prayers are with you and your family.



6/19/04, Indian Wells, CA

Peter Desnoes


Karen-I am so sorry to learn of your loss. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and Ken's family.



6/19/04, Fayetteville, TN

The Moore's


We are so sorry to hear of Ken's passing. My cousin, Seth, was a friend of
Ken's. Our deepest of sympathy goes out to your family. May God comfort you all.




Dear Karen, You and your son are very special people. Thank you for sharing him with us all. We are so lucky to have such wonderful people defending us I am devastated such a fine young man won't be here. If the world were filled with people like him maybe we would not have to have wars. I am so sorry for your loss.
Sincerely, Therese   



6/20/04, Maben, MS

CPT Bettina K. Avent



Ken has been one of my best friends, we met in 1996 when he was assigned to work in my post office.  He hated it because he wanted to be back on his tank.  We kept in touch and I was so proud he went Green to Gold.  I visited him while in college and took him home to meet my family.  We visited many times including when we were both at Fort Lewis.  I always expected ours to be a life long friend ship and I am heartbroken today to find out about Kens death.  I was happy he was stationed at Friedberg again and planned to go visit but he deployed so soon after getting assigned there.  It is hard to not have been there to celebrate his life, but it helps to find the website and the news coverage.  I am hurt and angry, because this wasn't supposed to happen to Ken.  We talked on email and he told me that his tank had been hit by 8 RPG's. It frightened me for his safety, but I was so certain he would be ok. I mean he had to be!! This is Ken! No one else like him.  I always told him I love him and I always will.  I wish he is still here, I cant believe he isn't.  He was supposed to get married and have babies and tell me all about it as his life continued!!  I would call him and sing that line from the Barbie song "Hi Ken, come on Barbie lets go party" He had the cd and a lot of other great ones until he forgot them on a plane once.  I hated that, cause he took a lot of time developing that collection.  My thoughts are with you and I am sharing in your pain because Ken was and always will be one of the best friends I have.  For most of us, it is a short list, but for Ken the list I know is long.  I will always keep you in my heart.



Chris Tarver

I have followed Kenneth's life through Cathy -- so many proud moments she shared with us -- I pray that those moments will offer some warmth on the lonely days ahead. It was an honor to be present at Kenneth's service, and to bear witness to the grace of the Meredith family -- so much courage and strength -- it is no wonder Kenneth became the man he did.  My 4 year old, Holly, says, "when the flags are in the middle, it means someone is sad".  So many flags "in the middle" now, and each one reminds me of your Kenneth, a hero to us all -- our US soldiers deserve nothing less than our undying, unfaltering support & respect, as do their mothers and families. I believe in my soul, you will reunite with Kenneth in another place. In the mean time, your friends and family, myself included, are here for all of you -- anytime you need us. Love, Chris Tarver


6/20/04, Crestview, FL

Arnold Huskins


May I offer my condolences to Mrs. Meredith and to all those who loved this American hero.  May God, in His mercy, grant to each of you an extra measure of comfort, peace, and strength during this difficult time.  May the memory of Ken be forever remembered by those who cherish the ideas of liberty and freedom!
Sincerely, with deepest sympathy,
Arnold Huskins
Major, USAF

Eglin AFB



Diana Rollins


Thank you for your sacrifice that keeps us free.
Thank you for bringing this war home and impressing upon all those around you how precious our freedom is with your words and pictures from Ken.  I have no military family.  You are my connection to this tragedy so far from home, yet so close. 
My thoughts and prayers are with your whole family.



6/21/04, Mountain View, CA

Jeff Kimball


As someone who knew Ken from high school, I remember his sense of humor, positive attitude, and his great compassion.  His dedication to our country and our freedom is unmatched.  I know that myself, and all of my Mountain View buddies (Tim, Anton, and Trevor) will all miss you very much.  My thoughts and prayers go to Ken's family.



6/22/04, Tennessee

Haven McBee


To the family of Ken Ballard,
I just wanted to send you my sincerest sympathy. I met Ken while in College at MTSU and had a few international relation classes with him.  He was always such an outgoing and happy person. I also worked at the recreational center there and often saw and talked to him in the early mornings after he and  the rest of the Military group completed their training.  I don't think I ever saw him without a smile on his face and a joke to tell. He was such a great person and I am so sad to hear this news. Please know that my thoughts and prays are with you and please know that even though I had not been in contact with him for about two years, I had often thought about him as I was aware of his stationing in Iraq. Sincerely,

Hippie Chick (Ken's nickname for me)


6/23/04, CA

Erika Labit


The news of Ken's death is truly devastating.  I knew Ken in high school, and have enjoyed for the past year or so reading about his experiences in Iraq serving our country on our alumni website.  My heart and prayers go out to his close friends and family.  There are no words to express my sympathy for such a profound loss; he probably has no idea how many lives he impacted.


6/23/04, Daly City, CA

Margaret Johnson

I have been reading the comments on the website. Ken must have been a very special young man. I am sorry that he was taken away from you so soon. May he Rest in Peace.
Condolences to the family.



Christopher Knear


To Lt Ken Ballard's family,


    My deepest sympathy at the loss of your son.  I never had the honor of meeting Ken.  I heard of his life, service, and sacrifice through Pat Lampton-Ken's Uncle.  I was truly saddened to hear of Ken's death.  Pat told me about this website and it is a wonderful tribute to Ken.  I was particularly impressed by one message which described how a number of NCOs from another unit had requested that Ken be transferred into their unit.  Having served in the Air Force, I know that NCOs don't make requests like that lightly.  He must have been one impressive soldier and leader to earn their respect like that!

    I doubt that I, or anyone else, has the words to ease your pain at a time like this.  But I wanted to share some words from President Ronald Reagan's speech on the 40th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.  It was a different war and different men, but the cause (to liberate) is the same and the individual sacrifice is the same.


“The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge--and pray God we have not lost it--that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt. You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One's country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.”


  I have a six month old daughter and I promise you that she will learn to honor the memories of heroes like your son...Men and Women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for her freedoms and safety.  I hope and pray that 40 years from now, she will be living in a free, safer, and better world...a world where the free nation of Iraq has taken its hard-won place among peace loving nations.


May God grant you peace during this trying time,

Christopher Knear


6/29/04, Syracuse, NY

1LT Michael Hetherington

You don't know me. I served with Ken at Ft. Lewis in the summer of 2002 as cadre at the Land Navigation Course for ROTC advanced camp. I want to express my deepest regret for the loss of Ken's life. Ken and i were friends and i clearly remember looking to Ken for guidance about army issues, after all, i was a brand new officer and I knew Ken had been prior service in Bosnia. I remember him smiling and laughing a lot, and always cracking a joke or making some smart comment. Everyone who knew him out there loved to be around him. He was just a happy, good guy. I'm proud to say I served with such a great human being. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family as you go through this time. Very respectfully, 1LT Michael Hetherington, 3BDE 1st CAVALRY DIVISION, Baghdad, IRAQ.


7/1/04, Cheney, WA

Michael Throckmorton


I'm a tank platoon leader, actually I just became the company xo, but I knew Ken from Ft.Lewis.  We were cadre at ROTC advanced camp together.  Ken was a great guy and a breath of fresh air.  He always talked about how much he loved tanking and how he was looking forward to going to Germany.  I'm sorry I wasn't around to back up Ken.  I'm north of Baghdad at Camp Cooke but if I would have known it was Ken under fire I would have brought my four tanks out of whatever mission I was in to help out.  Ken would have done that for me.  My deepest condolences to your family.  I know where Ken is now and that helps me deal with our loss.  If there is anything I can do, please let me know.

1LT Michael Throckmorton


7/3/04, Louisville, KY

Gayle & Ron

Please except our deepest sympathy on the loss of your son. Your sister, Michele is a friend of ours. We will never forget the sacrifice that was made. You are in our thoughts and prayers daily. God Bless you and your family.


7/3/04, Houston, TX

Michelle Lopez

deeply sorry of your loss ... I am also a single mother son that is ten years old and he also has plans on joining service my regards to you and your family
also wanted to share that your son looked so happy doing his job, wish I could thank him



Melissa Griley

I just found out about Ken's death on the MTSU web site.  I attended MTSU with Ken, and we had two history classes together.  We would make jokes and argue about baseball.  He would try to explain to me why I needed to realize that the Giants were the best and to give up on my Cincinnati Reds. Ken was a unique person because we would cut up and talk baseball, and then the next thing I knew he admired a ring I was wearing and offered information about a catalog that had great jewelry and gifts. I remember after our second class together I had such a crush on him. Most importantly, I knew that he was excited about his future serving our country. 
You know more than anyone what a wonderful man Ken was.  I just wanted to send a message to tell you how sorry I am for your loss.  We never ran into each other again after our last class together, but I often thought about him while watching the news and hearing about our troops in Iraq.  I am a teacher now, and several of my students joined the service upon graduation, and I worry about them and their futures.  Your web site is such a wonderful tribute to Ken and what he believed in with a passion.



Monica Munoz

 Let me start off by sending my condolences to all your family. As kids in grade school Ken and I were very good Friends. My name is Monica Munoz. We were in kinder. and other classes together. I remember we use to go to after- school Y.M.C.A. together and use to get in trouble because we would play WWF wrestling. I have very fond memories of him. He was always a great friend and a wonderful listener.
I am very sorry for the tragedy that has happened to an undeserving man.
Monica Munoz


7/9/04, Foster City, CA

Asok Mukhopadhyay

Dear Karen,
My deepest and heartfelt condolences!  You are one of the nicest persons
I have ever known. I shall work tirelessly to bring this totally optional
invasion to an end, so that others in your situation do not have to
suffer for the rest of their lives so very needlessly!  You have done a
wonderful job with the web site!



Thomas Douglas

Hi everybody,
I would like to send my sincere condolences to the family of Lt. Ken Ballard.  He surely was America's hero.  I am really good friends of Jodie and Geoff Frye of Los Alamos New Mexico.  She sent me Ken's E-Mail address.  Even though I didn't know Ken I would like to thank him for allowing me and millions of Americans for continuing a life of freedom.  Again, please except my deepest sympathy and know that if anybody wants to know the price of freedom, all they have to do is look in the buried ground.  Thank you Ken and May God sincerely Bless you and your family and know that you are not alone.  Tom 


7/20/04, Hayward, CA

Tom Ballard

Hello Son,
At this time 27 years ago. You were kicking, tossing and turning. Trying to get out. At about 8 A.M. Wed. July 20th  your mother started  into labor.
17 hours later at 0116 hrs on the 21st of July, there you were. You were a cone-head!! The doctors had to coach you out with those large chrome forceps. They assured us your head would flatten out eventually and it did.
You went out with as much gusto as you did getting here.
I know you have been watching over all of us. As you have seen, somethings have not changed a bit, while others in the smaller circles have changed quite drastically. I am very grateful for our having been able to talk to each other, half way around the world. The last two messages you left me when I couldn't get to the phone, are still on the machine.
The respect  shown in Los Altos on the 4th of July was very nice. Later that afternoon, I had a BBQ here with the neighbors, family and friends in tribute to you.  I set off fireworks  (non-stop) from 9 o'clock  until 11 o'clock just like we did at your commissioning in Tennessee. Patriotic music, songs and toasts were made to you all afternoon.
The people at Ardenwood have shown their pride by planting a rose bush called "American Hero" on the north side of the porch where we all stood,  Christmas of 94 before you started your military service. At the base of the rose bush are white and blue flowers. 
A large number of your friends some that knew you in life, and others that knew you either through my talking so proudly of you, and some that have learned of your brave sacrifice to our nation, are gathering to celebrate your birthday at Ardenwood for a BBQ and to plant a redwood tree in your name.  
You have always made me very proud son, and you will forever be in my prayers and in my heart. Someday, I will once again be by your side
                                                                                   Love Dad


7/21/04, Mountain View, CA


Hey Buddy, Happy Birthday!  There are no words to describe how much you are missed.  As you can see, life is moving along and still, even after 54 days, it doesn't seem possible that you will not be coming back.  I love you-

Love your fave ma


7/21/04, Campbell, CA


Happy 27th birthday, kiddo!  We love you and miss you very much.

Love Always,

Mimi, your favorite aunt


7/21/04, Georgia

Aunt Kateri

Hi Ken,

We miss you, Kenny Bob, bigtime.  Shannon and I toasted you over the 4th of July with wine coolers and shot off a ton of fireworks in your honor.  I'll always remember Shannon and I drinking wine coolers while we were making tamales and you sneaking while we weren't looking and emptying the wine coolers and you making the sweet and innocent "who me" look when we yelled at you!

Happy Birthday, Ken.  We love you and are proud of you and wish that you were here with us, stealing and downing our wine coolers, fighting with the kids who weighed about a quarter of your weight and enjoying your goofy jokes.  You are the best of the best and I hope that you realize this.   Your little cousins will always know about their big, strong, brave cousin Ken who could tell the best jokes and always had time for a little one, yet was a proud and accomplished military man who everyone was so proud of. 


Kateri, your favorite aunt 


7/21/04, Los Alamos, NM

Jodie Frye

Happy Birthday Ken!
Well, it's your day, some friends & I plan to get together soon to have a drink in your honor. We'd love for you to join us.
The Memorial Day rosebush Matt & I planted the day of your memorial service is absolutely beautiful.  There are a couple of buds that I am so anxious to see open, when they do I'll cut them & dry them to send to your mom.
There isn't a day that goes by that you aren't in my thoughts, we all miss you so much. Someday we will all be together and we will have one heck of a party!!!!
Love ya Ken!



Trevor Floth

Happy Birthday Bud! Monique and I miss you very much man, and I hope, wherever you are now, I want you to know again that there is not one second in the day that I don't see you in my thoughts, hear your voice, and feel you over me. Beyond a hero,  beyond a best friend, you are eternal now, only the best are reserved that title. Happy Birthday again, Ken...
Love ya
Trevor and Monique


7/21/04, Louisville, KY

Tim Meredith

Happy 27th, Ken. 
It's your birthday -- a day for gifts, but it's we who get the goodies... every time we think of you and how you affected everybody in your life.  And that's every day.

You are always close to heart and mind, as I am sure you can see every time somebody you touched posts a message to your website.

We are the poorer that you aren't here for your birthday, but the world is richer that you spent a bright and shining time with us.  It's a testament to the full life you jammed into 27 years.
You are dearly and greatly missed
R.T.F.O. !


7/21/04, San Jose, CA

Blake Highsmith

Hey Bro,
I remember the last time that I got to talk to you...on my had called me after coming back from a patrol to wish me a happy birthday which was the best birthday present I could have ever wished for.
I still can't believe that you are gone.  I still expect the next phone call to come; to see another letter in the mail. 
I know I'm not the only one, but I miss you like crazy...and I know your up there feeling all the love from everyone.
With all the love in my heart, Happy Birthday Bro. 


7/21/04, San Jose, CA

Cathy Patton

Happy Birthday BH--
How clearly I remember receiving a call from Rome NY about 2 in the morning 27 years ago! I was so excited to know that your soon to be cousin Elizabeth was going to have a boy cousin. I have so many fond memories of you 2 joined at the hip (joined later by Jewelry). The sadness of celebrating your birthday without you today was tempered by the great news that you Mom got the house she bid on! What a thoughtful son to give your Mom a house for YOUR birthday!
Mimi, your Mom and I toasted you at Fiesta tonight.
Missing you more than you could ever know,
Your Fave Aunt LTC CP


7/21/04, CA

Lizzie LaThanh

Happy Birthday, dude!
I must admit, I've been dreading this day. Although now that I think about it, I have a feeling my birthday will be worse for me. It will be the day I turn an age you never got to. I will finally be older than you. You always teased me about those four months you had on me-- calling me Kiddo and Little Sis. What's up with that? You know what, though...I would gladly trade anything in this world to have you back and have you teasing me about those four measly months every second of every day for the rest of my life. I know you lived a full life, I just wish it was longer one. I wanted to grow old with you. Have our children grow up like brothers and sisters just like we did. Have mini Blanco Butts and Kinnys, maybe even a Barfin' Betsy or two. But I know that's not possible and I am saddened every day by these thoughts. I miss you, KB. I want to IM you and tell you to get your ass safely home like I always did. But most of all, I want one of your big bear hugs that always took my breath away.
Love ya,
your fave cousin/sister/friend


7/22/04, Hayward, CA

DD Edwards

Happy Birthday a day  late to you, Ken. I've only just become acquainted with you through your dad and grandparents last night at Ardenwood at the BBQ and tree planting in your honor. Very moving for me as a parent to hear your dad and grandpa...I'm very glad for your work as a soldier...Thank you for your service to our country.....Your work really hit home extra close because of knowing some other folks about your age who were there in Irag, serving on the front lines as well.
I will think of you and your family often, as I'm a volunteer at the farm, along with 3 (out of 7) of my children. They were with me at the farm last night...We were very glad, blessed and privileged to have been a part of the tree planting last night, and will remember your life and sacrifice for us and our whole country.
Again, thank you and Happy Birthday!!!!



Christina & Nicholaus

Happy Belated Birthday Kenny!! I Love You!! I hope you're partying like the animal I know you are. haha. I miss you but you will always be in our hearts!!



Lon Maxwell

Ma'am, I have wanted to send you my condolences for some time now, but it has taken a while to really decide what to say. Ken was one of my best friends at MTSU. We met when we joined the Model UN Team. Some of my fondest memories of college include Ken, on model un trips, in our military history study groups, and mostly just killing time in Murfeesboro.
    Ken was the kind of man that most of us strive to be. He knew his principles and lived by them. He was a friendly and knew how to have a good time. Ken and I were both students in political science, and one of his most admirable qualities was ability to disagree with me on a great number of policies with out getting mean or losing his cool (a rare talent among people in our field of study).
    There are some pictures of all of Ken and the MTSU SIA people at
    I have two great regrets at this moment. One that I was not able to tell you this personally. I was unable to make it to the Ken Ballard day celebration because my wife is 8 months pregnant. The second is that my son, Jack, will never be able to meet Ken in this life.
    Ken Ballard will always be my hero, my colleague and my most of all my friend and his memory will live on in all of us who knew him and in to the next generation in people like Jack who will grow up
hearing the stories of Lt. Ken Ballard.
Thank you for giving us your son as a friend.
My most sincere condolences,
Lon Maxwell


7/25/04, Florida

Shannon Lampton

Happy birthday!  I would give anything to have said that to your face and not just in my heart and to Patrick the evening of your 27th.  My heart still refuses to believe that you aren't here.
 We toasted you on the fourth of July with girlie man wine coolers--well, the guys had beer-- and lit fireworks in your honor (liquor and fireworks, you would have loved it!).  I'm glad that you showed up later for Annie's party, letting us know that you are around.  I love you, you big dummy. 

I never dreamed my little blonde nephew would be a hero who touched so many lives.  I bet heaven is a more raucous place and I know it is a warmer, more loving place with you there, but selfishly, I miss knowing that you are on earth with the rest of us.  Keep us close, kennybob.  We need you more than ever.

Love, Shannon (your for-real-and-for-true favorite aunt)


8/6/04, Los Angeles, CA

Aleyna Minamoto


I would like to send my deepest condolences and love to the family and friends of Lt Ken Ballard.  Although I never had the privilege to meet Ken in person, he was able to touch my life in one brief moment that to me summed up the kind of person he was.  Elizabeth and Tony’s wedding was such a happy and beautiful day, but Ken’s phone call all the way from Baghdad made it perfect –it was the icing on the cake.  I remember thinking to myself, “what an unselfish, caring, loving person, to take the time out to call and congratulate them, with everything else that was going on…what a close and special bond they must share.”.  It was his way of being there and sharing the special day with everyone.  I will cherish this memory, as I know all of you will cherish yours.  I have faith that he will continue to share these special and everyday moments with all of you and although it’ll be hard not to physically see him, his presence will be felt, just as it was on that day.  Thank you Ken for everything you have sacrificed and for all the lives that you have touched will be greatly missed.



Aleyna Minamoto



8/19/04, New Hampshire

2LT Matthew W. St. Pierre


I had the honor of working with Ken in Najaf.  My platoon and his platoon worked together on almost every mission in Najaf and Kufa.  He was a great guy and we looked after each other when we were out there.  He was a great guy I just wish I had that chance to look after him one more time.  I'll miss him greatly.

2LT Matthew W. St. Pierre

2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment


9/9/04, Katherine

My name is Katherine, and I first met Ken as a mere freshman at MTSU.  I transferred right after my freshman year, and unfortunately Ken and I lost contact after time. Today is 9/9/04, and I have just learned of his death. I just can't believe it. He meant the world to me.
       I was so young and naive when I met Ken, and he totally took me under his wings, calling me "Kid."  I called him "Kenny," and he hated it saying only his mother had permission to call him that.  Eventually, he gave me permission. I have numerous memories of that time.
       When I first met Ken, I thought he was one of the most unique people I have ever met.  I remember in his dorm that he had an incredible stereo system. Sometimes early in the morning, or late at night, he would put a cassette tape in and blare a recording of his tank firing off rounds after rounds. He truly loved being a tanker, and it was what he was meant to do. Off course, he would do this just to get to the RA at the dorm, and he would always get in trouble for it. But it was always hilarious. Ken was just funny like that.
       He and I would sit for hours upon hours in the wee hours at a picnic table out in front of dorm. We would talk about life, and he never ceased to amaze me of all his stories that he had in the Army. We would talk about love, life, religion and the future. He was an intensely deep person. He worked harder than anyone I have ever met at having a friendship.  I can just picture him trotting across the lawn of MTSU in his camo-jacket. Whenever he saw me, or others for that matter, he'd always say, "Come on...let's go grab a Coke."  True friendship meant the world to him, and he was the best friend anyone could ever ask for.
       Ken was also one of the most generous people I have ever met. He would literally give the shirt off his back if you needed it.  In addition, he was absolutely CRAZY! I remember an afternoon at MTSU when the rain was pouring down, and I was walking across campus to go to class. He snuck up behind me, picked me up, and threw me to the ground in a puddle of mud! This of course ended in first an argument, because I just couldn't believe he would do that! Then, it ended in a huge mud fight, where we were both laughing so hard that we couldn't stop. We tracked mud all through the dorm. I just remember jumping in the shower with my clothes on, not believing that he would get me into doing something so crazy! That was Ken...he truly, without fail, lived life to the fullest and knew how to have a good time. He truly opened me up as a person, and taught me to loosen up and play in the rain sometimes.
       There are so many other memories, I don't know where to start or stop.
       I am now looking at a letter dated 8/2/2002 that I wrote to Ken. It's been sealed and on my nightstand in a book since. I didn't know where he was located and I just never sent it. That is my biggest regret of my life! I can reiterate the times I've thought about taking a shot in the wind and to send it. "Ken," I wrote, "I am writing to just remind you that there is someone out there who thinks and prays for you--almost daily."
       In the end, I remember having many discussions with Ken about our different views of God and afterlife.  I know, without a doubt, Ken is in Heaven smiling down on us. Ken, I really hope that you have the answers now that I couldn't give you, and that God has given you the peace that you deserved about all your Army experiences that you struggled with but didn't tell anybody. Be at peace my friend.
       Lastly, I hope you knew how much I loved you. I still love you with all my heart.  You have forever had a huge effect on my life. I will never forget you.


9/9/04, Mike Low

Dear Ballard Family,
Please accept my deepest condolences on the loss of Lt. Ken Ballard.  I did not know Ken.  But after reading all of the comments left on this site I began to feel a connection to him.  I will forever remember Lt. Ken Ballard and keep him fresh in my memory.  Thank you Lt. Ballard for serving our nation and helping the people of Iraq.  Rest in peace.
Mike Low


9/13/04, Melbourne, FL

Shannon Lampton

Hey Ken
Jack asked about you the other day.  He wanted to know when his dad's and my tattoos would go away ( I still can't  believe I have a tattoo!) and Patrick explained that they wouldn't, go away that they would always be there as a reminder of Ken.  Then Jack asked me if I was still sad about you.  My heart felt like it would shatter, again.  I said yes, I did still feel sad about you. He slipped his little hand into mine and said , "I know that Ken is in a safe place and he is away from the terrible war, but I miss knowing he is here with us."  I miss knowing that everyday.  I still can't believe that you won't ever be coming back to us.  As October gets closer, your leaving somehow gets harder.




I heard of Lt. Ballard from his uncle, Mr. Tim Meredith. I am so sorry to hear of his death. It is obvious that Ken lived his life to the fullest and was proud to be an America..... and especially so that he had the privilege to defend our great land. It is because of Warriors like Ken that our country is free and we must not let his memory fade with time. America must know that he gave his life so we might live. May God Bless You in all you do,

Tony Rose, Sergeant Major (Ret), U.S. Army, 9-11-01 Pentagon Ground Zero Survivor and Rescuer, 270-401-4055


9/24/04, Ft Rucker, AL

2LT Jesse Hill

I was driving home from a from working out at the MTSU rec center where Ken and I had routinely lifted together when I got a call from Mike Lilly.  He told me to pull over that he had some bad news.  Somehow I knew that Ken was gone before he said anything.  I ensured Mike that he had gotten some wrong information and that nothing bad could ever happen to Ken. Somebody else perhaps but never Ken.  Ken was superman...nothing could happen to superman.  Stackpole had received a letter from him a few days earlier and I was sure to hear from him soon.  As I sat in the parking lot in denial about the news, I struggled with the fact that I would not hear from him again. 
I met Ken when I was a freshman at MTSU. He was without a doubt the funniest, craziest, person that I had ever met. He had a certain persona that people including myself were drawn to.  Through Ranger Challenge and other activities in and outside of ROTC I became great friends with Ken.  I remember barely being awake for PT standing in formation and this crazy galute would come
running in just high on life, (even though he had being up all night working as a bouncer at the club) and slam into me and just crack hisself up.  He was always bugging me about coming down to my parents farm and letting him ride a cow backwards. Ken "we don't ride cows and we certainly don't ride them backwards"...he didn't care and neither did the cow. I have never had as much fun as those first two years at MTSU while Ken was there.  He watched out for me like only a brother would do. There was never a time that Ken wouldn't make time to talk and when I was expecting to lay around and kick back the phone would ring and Ken would say get ready I'm coming to pick you up we are going out. There was no time to say hey Ken I'm kind of busy right now...because even if I was he had already hung up and on his way over. I will never forget those times. I'll never forget the weekends he came from Ft Knox and having a blast with the "moose". I'll never forget the last night that he was in the Boro and I gave him a hug and told him to take care of hisself. I miss ya

2Lt Jesse Hill


9/29/04, Livorno, Italia

vincenzo pichichero

I'm an Italian soldier, I've would like to thank all the soldiers in Iraq for their job.



10/19/04, Berwyn, IL

I read today in the Chicago Tribune about you and this web site.  I do not know what to say.  I am feeling such mixed emotions in my heart right now. I feel great pain, pride, and thanks.  Words seem so trivial.  God bless you, your family, and all of your loved ones.  Thank you for making the
ultimate sacrifice for us.  You will be in my prayers.
Respectfully yours,
Joseph M. Bak

10/19/04, Chemung, NY


As I read thru this site, what amazes me is how many lives he touched in such a short time. I did not have the honor of knowing him or any of his family personally. I do know he was doing a job to protect not only us physically, but protect our way of life, our freedom of thought & voices. No other job has as much class as a person in the USA Military .
I can not even begin to imagine the grief of your days . But as I read thru memories people have shared , a sense of peace comes thru . You all have so many blessings within your lives shared in these pages . Prayers & Blessings to everyone of you in his family , his friends and fellow service people .
Prayers and Blessings to all those how still serve , both actively and retired also.
I regret I did not have the honor of telling your son directly , "Thank You"
for all he has help do for all. Hugs ..Kathy

Beautiful site also. Thank You for sharing so much of your lives.


10/20/04, Chattanooga, TN
Tom Owen

To Ken's loving family

I knew Ken while he was at MTSU. We shared classes together as well as played on the ROTC soccer team. I've only just found out about your loss and I am saddened. Ken was one of the good ones and he will be missed. His stories of his times in Eastern Europe were always entertaining to say the least.

My thoughts and prayers are with you all

Tom Owen


10/21/04, Louisville, KY

Uncle Tim Meredith

Hi Ken--
We are leaving later this morning to be with you again and take you home for your final rest.  It's been almost five months since that night in Najaf and I still cannot believe you won't come barreling back into our lives.  I haven't cried as much lately, and I am sure that will change come Friday when you take your place among the greatest Americans.
Our loss is Arlington's gain.  I just hope the other heroes there are ready for you and the mischief you will certainly bring with you.
Take care and rest in peace.  Watch over us all.  We will take care of Moms.
With my love and deepest respect,
Tim, your uncle from Kentucky


10/21/04, Mize Mississippi

Brittany Chantelle Landrum

I just wanted to say that the soldiers that are fighting in the war that are away from the people they love that i am 1 American that is proud of them and i pray that GOD brings them home and safe. Thanks for fighting for our FREEDOM! Brittany



Tom Shrader




Ali Al-Hakim

I am so sorry for the loss of your son. However, your son is a hero for all the people who want to be free. Ken scarifies his life order to help the people of Iraq. I am American Citizen originally from the city of Najaf in Iraq where Ken was killed. I know the silent majority of the peaceful Iraqi people will always remember the brave coalition soldiers especially the American soldiers who are helping them during this difficult time. I am sure Ken memory will last forever and the free and peace loving people of Iraq will never forget him. Sooner or later Iraq will be stabilized and becomes a peaceful country and Ken will be like a bright star in the sky guiding the way for the Iraqi people so that they can live in freedom. Ken will be always in my thought and my prayers.

Ali Al-Hakim



Nick Talbot


I really am sorry it took me this long to write to you, army life is hell.
I was there that night in Kufa when we were laying waste to the muqtada militia.  In all rights, even though you were on the western flank and I was on the southern, you saved my ass that night.  By not simply holding your own in a tough position and under overwhelming enemy fire, but by pushing forward and slaughtering hundreds of those bastards in the graveyard west of the mosque you kept most of them out of my hair as we were going house to house.  To that, sir, I owe you my unequaled thanks.
It was a terrible night, but it truly broke the back of the enemy resistance.  We did our jobs to the fullest of our ability, and we succeeded in that aim.
My soldiers loved your outgoing attitude and humor, and they were thunderstruck when I told them what happened when we returned to baker/golf.  A number of them volunteered to help honor you that evening as best we could.  I will always miss you, my brother.  When I visited Emu in August this year, you were all we could talk about.  Hopefully I can stop by fitbull's place and we'll do the same.  I am in Washington often (at least until I deploy again in the next couple months), and I will visit you as much as I am able.  Attached is a photo of us in happier and more innocent times, but you were the same no matter the situation we were placed in.
I will always attempt to live up to your standards and to make you proud.
Thank you Ken,
1LT Nicholas Talbot
Iron Troop 3/2 ACR           


11/15/04, Louisville, KY

To Ken's Family,               
You are still in our prayers and thoughts daily. We will never forget the sacrifice made by Ken and his family. God bless you each and every day.      

Gayle and Ron

11/16/04, Gilroy, CA

Phill Laursen

I taught World Studies, Psychology, and Anthropology.  Ken and I hit it off right away. As an underclassman and as an upperclassman, Ken was open, honest, and a catalyst for classes. He sparked discussions and spoke confidently, but not arrogantly about things that mattered to him. He listened well and respected everyone's opinion, he was never cowed by smarty-pants "high-achieving" students but he listened to them as well and never rejected the possibility that others might contribute to his understanding.  For the life of me, I can't tell you what grades Ken took home from my classes, what I can say clearly is that his contributions to classes went beyond the point systems we engineer in an attempt to be objective in evaluating students. Ken brought heart to class, that interest and passion which prods other students to realize the importance of trying to become more rational about human behavior — he modeled the most important attitudes and behaviors a teacher hopes to encourage in students.

Ken often stayed after class or dropped in and talked, he always showed a genuine interest in me and my family as well as in topics that came up in class.  I got a lot of satisfaction from making him squeal once as I gave him a ride home in my daughter's '68 GTO — he liked the car and the weather was turning ugly, so I offered to give him a lift.  Rolling slowly away from a stop sign on Bryant Avenue, I punched the accelerator and the car lurched forward — the front lifted high and Ken was thrown back in the seat, I glanced over to see a huge grin and heard a big "Thanks!"

When he was home on leave from Bosnia and Macedonia, he would visit and speak to my classes. Students were very moved by his stories of protecting Bosnian Muslims from Serbs.  We had studied the Balkan mess extensively, so students were fascinated to hear from someone who was actually a part of the struggle to bring peace there. Ken was masterful in his teaching, I wasn't surprised at all to find the military recognized his leadership skills.

Ken's photo remains over my desk, as it did at Mountain View High School, as a reminder of what's best about America and why we as teachers do what we do.


Phill Laursen 


11/22/04, Murfreesboro, TN

Steven Morris

I was friends with Ken at MTSU. Ken and I were enrolled in R.O.T.C. together. I can't say that we were all that close, but we did hangout a lot together our freshman year. I first heard the news of Ken's death from a friend of mine named Perry white. Perry was also a friend of Ken's at MTSU. I was sad to hear of Ken's death. He was a great guy and a heck of a friend. I lost touch with Ken throughout college, but I still remember the last time I saw him. It was our Senior year at MTSU. I will never forget Ken and I am proud to say that I got the chance to know him. He will be missed greatly and I thank him for his friendship and service to our country.


11/29/04, California

Andrea Harvey

Hey Ken,
 I just wanted to let you know that blakey and me went to the Metallica Concert last night. It was so special to me because it was my first Metallica concert and all I could do was think about you. The songs had more meaning and memories of you and how you use to come over to my house and rock out with your music on my moms radio. Anyway I just wanted you to know that I had a great time and me and Blake vow never to let Metallica come to town with out us going to see them in honor of you. =) I love ya and always will!
Love always, Andrea

P.S. The gitar player with the black curley hair threw a gitar pick into the crowed and I got one... It was great! And its signed!


12/5/04, Florida

Chris Ricci

I went to Armor OBC and served in Iraq with your son.  His unit was attached to 2nd ACR on Camp Marlboro.  I'll never forget seeing him the night of 9 OCT 03.  It was like a bit of a homecoming seeing Ken there to help us.  Ken Ballard was a fine leader and an outstanding friend.  Words cannot express how much I will miss him.


12/22/04, Mountain View, CA


Hey buddy-this has been my hardest birthday ever. I can't remember when I didn't speak to you on the 22nd.  I just so wanted to hear your voice again, hear the mischief and hear your laugh. I wanted to say I love you- one more time.  And I wanted to get one of your famous birthday cards.  I miss you so much- this is definitely not getting any easier.  I love you-

your fave ma


12/23/04, Ca

Trevor & Q

Hey Bud, Merry Christmas.
   Just wanted to let you know to have a great holiday wherever you are now, and that alot of people are missing your physical appearance, but I know personally you will stop in and make your rounds to everyone that knew you, you crazy boy. I emailed your mom about the progress on your memorial garden here at the nursery, and it will be awesome. I know you have heard this many times from family and friends, co-workers and associates, through thoughts and prayers, but Monique and I, WE MISS YOU MAN. It never gets old to tell you that, on a website, in thoughts, and in my heart. You were a big part of our lives, still are to say the least, and definately to everyone that came into contact with you. So, I will end this for the time being as again saying Merry Christmas Moose, and Monique and I will definately be thinking of you every second. We love you Ken.....
Trev and Monique


12/25/04, Melbourne, Florida

Shannon Lampton


Merry Christmas, Ken.
You weren't here to help put the angel on the tree and you won't be here to steal our drinks and do the pinata in your own inimitable Ken style, and that made this Christmas a hard one for me, for all of us.  Missing you just hits me sometimes and I can't believe that you will never burst through my door needing food and rest. 
I miss you and I wish I could tell you that to your face.  I am glad that I still feel you around me, still get a sense of your spirit.  I loved the trick with the Metallica sticker.  That lady had no idea how the sticker got on her car, but I did, and it made me laugh to imagine the expression on your face.  ('course, then the lady looked at me like I did it. . . as if!)
I love you KB. 

Your favorite aunt Shannon



Tiffany & Jason





i am a veteran. i honor your son's life and sacrifice and yours. i wish this secret gov't would give the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice a little slack and leeway. i went to the "eyes wide open" exhibit in san francisco and walked by the pair of boots that represented Lt Ballard in the Vermont row. there were 1828 pairs of boots that will never be filled by any giant. ma'am, my oldest son is of age and wants to serve. i pray i never pay the price you have. i bid you peace.




Diane Sperry

To The family of Ken Ballard, I just saw the article regarding your son. I agree with you. He gave his life for the very freedom of expression that you were denied. I too would want to know and see the ceremony that would take place showing how much my son was thought of in the army if he should lose his life. I worry and fret every day for my son's safety and have tried to accept the fact he too may not come back alive, but if that should happen I want to be able to record every aspect of his return. We as parents should have the right to see just how proud and caring the United States Military takes care of our fallen soldiers. God be with you and your family. MS Diane Sperry mother of Sgt Andrew Sperry



Kathy Fisher, Newark, CA

Dear Karen,

It was great to meet you and have a chance to talk to you and your sisters
yesterday at the VA hospital.  I came home and spent a  long time looking
at Ken's website, I can tell he was a wonderful person and loved by so
many.  Thank you for sharing your experiences with me and I will keep you
and your family in my thoughts and prayers and pray that each day gets a
tiny bit easier.  Your son is truly a hero and thanks to you will not be
forgotten, even by those of us who didn't know him during his lifetime.


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