Warner enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2009 after graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in Political Science. He played on the men’s varsity lacrosse team for 3 seasons beginning in 2004. He began his military career with basic training down at Ft. Benning, GA. After 6 months, he attended Airborne Jump School to learn how to parachute from a plane. After Ft. Benning, he began his Special Forces training at Ft. Bragg, NC.
“I was selected to attend Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) or “Selection” in the summer of 2009. It was the hardest 3 weeks of my life.” Say’s Ball. Of the 357 men who tried out, only 109 made it through and were selected. He then began the Special Forces Qualification Course (Q Course). The Q Course is where a soldier learns how to become a Green Beret. They learn how to shoot, move and communicate with other soldiers in hopes of making it through the 2 year pipeline and earn their Green Beret at graduation.
While at the Q Course, he had to go through some incredibly tough training, certainly harder then anything coach Shills had put him through. He attended an intense 6-month language school, where he learned Urdu, spoken in Pakistan. Ball, learned how to survive out in the woods and also learned how to be interrogated.
He then attended his Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) training where he learned radio/satellite communications for 6 months. After that, he participated in Robin Sage, the culmination exercise all Green Beret students must endure. Once he finished Robin Sage, he was awarded his Green Beret. The Green Berets were created in the early 1960s at the request of President Kennedy. Kennedy, saw the need for the creation of an elite unconventional group of soldiers that could go anywhere in the world, train up an indigenous force and then lead those local soldiers in combat against a common enemy. The Green Berets have fought in every campaign and conflict since their creation and can be found today in over 65 countries, conducting Foreign Internal Defense and joint training missions.
After graduation, Warner was assigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Ft. Bragg, NC. and was assigned to Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) 3124.
I’ll let Warner Ball tell this part of the story. “My team was one of the busiest and most deployed teams in all of Special Forces. Within 3 months of my graduation, I was on a team and we were deployed to Afghanistan. My first deployment was amazing. We spent the first 2 months around the Herat area of Western Afghanistan. We worked with the Afghan Special Forces Commandos, as well as the U.S. Marine Special Operations group. We got into quite a few gun-fights during those first few months and being in my first war-time combat was absolutely scary, but incredibly exciting. The intense rush and chaos that occurs once that first bullet gets fired is like nothing you can ever prepare yourself for. I remember watching the dirt kick up around me when I was first shot at. The bullets were slamming into the ground all around us, and I couldn’t help but think why someone would be trying to shoot me! After being in country for 4 months, we were moved to a location in Badghis Province, NW Afghanistan to conduct Village Stability Operations (VSO). We literally packed all our equipment up on large trucks and moved into a valley no Americans had ever been to before. We built our own little base out from an old, abandoned Taliban hospital.
We spent the remaining 5 months in that valley where we linked up with the locals, trained and led them on countless combat operations.
After returning home from my first deployment, we quickly learned we would be sent back over to Afghanistan within a few months. During that brief time home, I attended High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) school in Yuma, AZ. Different than static line parachuting, this was learning how to “free fall” from a plane at over 20,000 ft, then pulling my own rip cord and landing in a specific area. I had around 50 jumps in my Special Forces career, and there is nothing like the feeling of jumping out the back of a plane at 20,000 feet and free falling for 45 seconds towards the Earth. I still dream about it at night.
My team deployed again to Afghanistan in 2012 and this time we knew we were going to be very busy fighting the enemy. We were sent to Wardak Province, just south of Kabul, one of the deadliest areas in all of Afghanistan. It seemed like every time we left our base we were getting into a gun fight. It was during this trip that my boss was shot and nearly killed by an enemy sniper. We luckily saved his life and he was just awarded the Silver Star in February. I was awarded the Bronze Star for my actions in combat during that trip and I am very proud of what we accomplished as a team. We came home beat up and exhausted, but we all made it out alive. My contract with the Army was finished in 2014, and I moved back home to Washington, DC to be with my wife.”
Ball can’t deny that he misses being in Special Forces, but deploying back to back and enduring so much combat, it is nice not having someone shoot at him or try to blow him up.
“I am incredibly proud of the men I served and fought with overseas, and they are my brothers for life. It is an honor and privilege to be a Green Beret and I am truly lucky and honored I was able to serve this great nation twice in war.”
Now officially settled into civilian life, Ball Resides in the greater Northern Virginia area where he is doing business development for Syndetix Inc, a service disabled veteran owned small business that focuses on government defense contracting.