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Albert Ball as U. S. Marine recruit.

Albert Ball along with childhood friend, Jesse Palmer, joined the United States Marines in June 1917, shortly after the United States entered the war. Ball and Palmer were assigned to the 6th Regiment, First Battalion which trained at Paris Island, South Carolina and at Quantico, Virginia before leaving for France in September 1917. Ball wrote to his mother before leaving for France, reassuring her that he has a "99 out of a 100 chance" of returning home safely. But he also tells her he is prepared to do his duty: "If my life is necessary to help win this war I am ready to die doing my duty for my heart is right with God and I am not afraid to die at all."