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On Sept. 2, 1945, my father was ordered to fashion nine impregnable containers to carry the just-signed Japanese surrender documents to the president of the United States, the King of England and other heads of state. Dad earned his law degree from Harvard in 1932; so naturally, the Navy made him a gunnery officer.

Good thing, because I can’t imagine there’s much Lt. Cmdr. Herbert Ball took from Langdell Hall that equipped him to convert five-inch powder charge casings into watertight containers. His ingenuity helped the important V-mail (Victory mail) make it to Mr. Truman, safe and sound.

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