Veteran of the Week: Seaman Osmond Kelly Ingram
By MELANIE POOLE / Special to the Reporter
The Veteran of the Week is sponsored by the National Veterans Shrine and Register of Honor at the American Village — honoring America’s veterans and telling the stories of their service and sacrifice for the cause of liberty.
“The American Village is pleased to join the Shelby County Reporter in recognizing Seaman Osmond Kelly Ingram as Veteran of the Week,” American Village founder and CEO Tom Walker said. “He is representative of the hundreds of thousands of Alabamians who have risked it all for the sake of our country and its freedom. To all veterans we owe a debt we can never fully repay.”
Visit the website, Veteransregisterofhonor.com, today and add your loved ones to the Register of Honor. Help us honor, recognize, respect and remember our country’s veterans.
Here are highlights about this week’s Veteran of the Week: Osmond Kelly Ingram was born in Oneonta on Aug. 4, 1887. His father, Robert, and his mother, Naomi, were both born in Tennessee, but moved to Alabama with their growing family. Robert Ingram was a local preacher at a Methodist and Episcopal church, as well as a sergeant in the U.S. Army. Growing up, Osmond attended and graduated from public school in Oneonta. On Nov. 24, 1903, after graduating from high school, Osmond enlisted in the U.S. Navy at just 16 years old.
Osmond Ingram began his Navy career as an apprentice seaman assigned to the U.S.S. Colorado (Armored Cruiser No. 7), serving less than five years before retiring and entering the civilian world on Aug. 3, 1908. Osmond reenlisted in the U.S. Navy on Aug. 6, 1913 and served with the U.S.S. Cassin (DD 43) during WWI.
During his time on U.S.S. Cassin, Ingram advanced to the rank of Gunner’s Mate 1st Class. On Oct. 15, 1917, while Cassin was operating off the Irish coast, she was attacked by the German submarine U-61. Petty Officer Ingram spotted an incoming torpedo shot off by the submarine. Realizing the torpedo would strike close to Cassin’s stern where the explosives were housed, Ingram ran toward the stern in hopes of releasing the explosives to lessen the reaction of the torpedo.
The torpedo struck Cassin before Ingram could achieve his plan of saving the ship. He was blown overboard and killed in the explosion. Ingram became the first enlisted man killed in action in World War I as he tried to save his ship and shipmates. For his service and his bravery in action, Osmond Ingram posthumously received the Medal of Honor — the nation’s highest medal for valor in combat that can be awarded to members of the armed forces. He would also be the namesake of the U.S.S. Osmond Ingram (DD 255), the first ship to ever be named for an enlisted person.
Melanie Poole is Communications Officer for the American Village and can be reached at MPoole@americanvillage.org.