Admiral Ballentine – Small Lot Of Insignia Etc. From Different Periods


This lot is a cross section of insignia and other items from the different periods of Adm. Ballentine’s latter career.

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Admiral Ballentine – Small Lot Of Insignia Etc. From Different Periods.  This lot is a cross section of items from the different periods of Adm. Ballentine’s latter career; consisting of:

  • Captain’s shoulder straps made by Vanguard, worn in the early to mid 1940s, when he commanded the USS Bunker Hill, seeing to that ship’s fitting out, commissioning and first commanding officer, fighting in the Pacific Theater.
  • Bullion cap eagle on tattered cap band. The quality of the bullion work is super, and the condition may very well have to due with the climate and condition of weather at sea, and combat with all the foul air from combat.  Well, that’s what I want to believe. Worthy for simple what it is.
  • Line stars worn on the uniform coat cuffs above the braid.
  • A single vice admiral shirt collar rank, pin back, hallmarked STERLING.
  • Brass belt buckle.
  • Large light sepia toned portrait as Rear Adm. in tan uniform. No date or photographer information. Circa late 1944, to 1947.
  • Small snap shot of Adm. and Mrs, Ballentine taken by navy photographer from the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, dated on the back 12/20/48.  Note the Coast Guard officer in the background. Were there CG vessels assigned to the 6th U.S. Fleet in the Med.

A great little sampling of items for an naval officer with an historic record.


John J, Ballentine (1896 -1970).  Graduated United States Naval Academy, Class of 1917.  After graduating he served during WWI on the U.S.S. Nebraska, and a few years later was aboard the U.S.S. Arizona in 1920. Later that year Ballentine reported for flight training at Pensacola Naval Air Station, with additional training with U.S. Army Air Corps, Carlstrom Field, Arcadia, Florida, and in pursuit plane training at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas.

May of 1921, he reported to the Atlantic Fleet, Torpedo Plane Division, for duty with the first torpedo plane squadron in the fleet.  In June of 1922, he was Officer In Charge, Naval Air Detail, Naval Proving Ground, Dahlgren, Va, where he served until February 1926. During that time, he worked with Carl Norden, a Navy consultant, who designed his first bombsight in 1922, and then Lieutenant Ballentine put it through its original tests, and later tested the first production model; he also controlled from the ground, the first airplane operated under radio control.

In the late 1920’s, Ballentine assumed command of Observation Squadron 11, serving in the Asiatic and made to special trips to Tokyo, Japan to make official inspection of Japanese naval aviation and aircraft manufacturing facilities.

During the early years of WWII, he was the executive officer of the U.S.S. Ranger in 1941, and later that year assumed command of the U.S.S. Long Island, a converted merchant ship with a flat top only.  On January 2, 1943 he reported to the Bethlehem Steel Company, Quincy, Massachusetts, to fit out the U.S.S. Bunker Hill, which he commanded from her commissioning from May 25, 1943 to February 5, 1944. He was awarded the Silver Star Medal for “conspicuous gallantry in intrepidity in action against enemy Japanese forces during the assaults on Rabaul Harbor and the invasion and occupation of the Gilbert Islands in November 1943.

In February 1944, he was promoted to Rear Admiral, and reported for duty as Deputy and Chief of Staff and Aide to the Commander, Aircraft, Pacific Fleet, at Pearl Harbor until October 1944. After a brief duty as commander of Carrier Division 7, under Admiral Halsey’s 3rd Fleet, from June until August 1945, with his flag in the U.S.S. Bon Homme Richard. On August 15, planes from his division in the 3rd Fleet were launched against Japan, not knowing at the time that two atomic bombs had been dropped on Japan. Admiral Halsey sent out instruction to recall all aircraft from the attack on the Japanese homeland.  In his message, he said that all pilots will not shoot down any enemy aircraft with vindictiveness but to shoot them down in a “Friendly” manor (at this point the order related to Kamikazes apparently unaware of the surrender talks then beginning between the Allies and Japan. The Bon Homme Richard dealt with 70 some Kamikazes that day.  Halsey ordered all ships in the fleet, to raise their battle flags, and for all officers to send up their own flags. Ballentine said in his diary, it was the first time he had flown his flag in action,  Shortly after, he was reassigned as Fleet Liaison Officer for the Commander in Chief, and Supreme Commander for the Allied Forces, Pacific. Ballentine had the honor of landing at Atsugi Airport on August 30, 1945, in the airborne occupation of Japan and of escorting General of the Armies, Douglas MacArthur to the surrender ceremonies aboard the U.S.S. Missouri on September 2, 1945.

He was awarded the Legion of Merit (second gold star), and the citation better sums up his importance in the Pacific Theater, ” …for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Liaison Officer between the CinCPac (Nimitz) and the Supreme Commander for the Allied Forces for the Occupation of Japan (MacArthur) from 30 August to 20 December 1945. Rear Admiral Ballentine, as the representative of the CinCPacFlt accompanied the Supreme Commander on his flight into Japan on 30 August 1945 and thereafter rendered outstanding service and displayed commendable initiative in connection with the arrangements for the formal surrender of Japan, the recovery of Allied personnel from Japanese prison camps, the repatriation of the Japanese from overseas, the seizure of Japanese naval vessels, stations, and equipment, and the removal of mines from Japanese waters. Rear Admiral Ballentine’s conduct was at all times with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

He had several assignments after the war, and in July 1947, assumed command of Carrier Division One, in the Mediterranean in the U.S.S. Midway, that winter, and then commanded the Sixth Fleet in the U.S.S. Roosevelt 1948-49.  In April of 1951, he became the Commander Air Force, Atlantic Fleet, and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1954.  Much, much more in his career to go into here.