A Coastguardsman's Story: Commander Beatrice Vivian Ball


Commander Beatrice Vivian Ball was born in Garden Valley, Idaho, on December 2, 1902. Her family relocated to Vici, Oklahoma, where she graduated from high school and played basketball for the high school team. 

She was a talented singer and poet. She was also an accomplished horseback rider and basketball player. Commander Beatrice Ball would coach and participate in community basketball leagues throughout her life and regularly published poems in local periodicals.

While at college at Northwestern Oklahoma University, Commander Ball taught literature at the Wiley Consolidated Schools and was a member of the Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority and the Phi Kappa Delta Fraternity. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1929.

Commander Beatrice Ball accepted a position at the YWCA in Grand Junction, Colorado, shortly after her college graduation. She established several local athletic clubs and swimming classes.  

She accepted an appointment in 1931 with the US Capitol police, becoming one of the first female members of the National Police. Commander Ball was in charge of crimes involving women and children and was also engaged in undercover work to catch men soliciting or assaulting women throughout the National Mall. Commander Beatrice Ball also attended Columbia University's School of Criminology and graduated with a law degree in 1939.

At the outset of World War II, Commander Beatrice Ball enlisted as an active member in the newly created SPAS's (women's reserve unit) of the US Coast Guard. She was assigned to intelligence posts in DC, Miami, and Alaska and recruiting duties in New York.

In 1946 she left active service and attended Art School, first in San Francisco, then in Denver, Colorado, graduating in 1949. Commander Beatrice Ball returned to active duty in 1951.

Commander Beatrice Vivan Ball served in the Division of Special Services at the US Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC, until she retired in 1961.

She died on October 21, 1963, of cancer. She rests at Arlington.


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

In addition to the travel writings at www.takethebackroads.com, you can also read her book reviews at www.riteoffancy.com and US military biographies at www.everydaypatriot.com

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