Ad Spot

The story of Osmond Kelly Ingram, Gunners Mate First Class, U.S. Navy, WWI, Medal of Honor

The first U.S. Navy enlisted man to die in WW I was Gunners Mate First Class [GM1] Osmond Kelly Ingram of Pratt City, Alabama. The 30-year-old seaman was serving aboard the Navy destroyer USS Cassin [DD-43] when it was torpedoed by a German Submarine U-61 on October 15, 1917. Ingram would be awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions that day.

 

Osmond Kelly Ingram was born on August 7, 1887, in Oneonta, Blount County, Alabama, to Naomi [Bettie] and Robert Ingram. His father was a Methodist Episcopal minister and Confederate Army veteran. The family moved to Pratt City, Jefferson County, Alabama sometime before Robert’s death in 1897.

 

Kelly, as he was called, decided to join the Navy after he turned 16 years old in 1903. With his mother’s consent, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy on November 24, 1903. After serving five years in the Navy, he left to join the Pratt City Fire Department. He worked as a firefighter for five years before deciding to reenlist in the Navy. He was assigned to the USS Cassin as a Gunners Mate in the Gunnery Department. 

 

Ingram was still aboard the Cassin when the United States entered the war on April 6, 1917. His ship was part of the Navy fleet sent to protect American merchant ships bringing goods to France and England. 

 

On the morning of October 15, 1917, Cassin was patrolling off the coast of Ireland when she came in contact with the German submarine U-61, which launched a torpedo. Aboard the destroyer, Ingram was the first person to spot the torpedo which was headed toward the ship’s stern. Realizing that the depth charges were stored on the stern, Ingram raced to the rear of the ship and started releasing them in an effort lessen the impact of the explosion. He had released many of the depth charges before the torpedo impact. The resulting explosion blew Ingram overboard and severely damaged Cassin’s rudder. Ingram’s death was the only casualty and the destroyer was able to make its way back into port for repairs. His body was never recovered.

 

GM1 Osmond Kelly Ingram would be awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. His mother became the first recipient of funds for dependents of soldiers and sailors after Congress passed the Military and Naval Insurance Act in 1918. 

 

In June 1919, the navy commissioned a destroyer, the USS Osmond Ingram [DD-255] in honor of the Pratt City sailor. It was the first navy ship named for an enlisted sailor. The ship went through a conversion to a troop transport, then back to a destroyer and was one of the ships moored at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. 

 

Ingram was honored by naming the main flagpole and colors area of the Naval training Center, Sand Diego, California, Ingram Plaza. In 1932, West End Park in Birmingham was renamed Kelly Ingram Park with a memorial placed on the park grounds. Post 668 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Birmingham was also named for Ingram. Ingram’s name is listed on the Wall of the Missing at the American Battle Monuments Commission, Brookwood American Cemetery in Surrey, England.

John Vick

 

[Sources: Wikipedia; Encyclopedia of Alabama article, “Osmond Kelly Ingram” by Graham R. Neeley; WW I Centennial Commission article dated October 19, 2016, “Osmond Kelly Ingram, An Alabama WW I Hero” by Graham R. Neeley; Birmingham Age-Herald article, October 18, 1917, “Birmingham Man is First of Our Armed Forces to Die;” National Medal of Honor Museum]

Osmond Kelly Ingram, GM1, U.S. Navy, WW I [photo circa 2017].

[Photo: encyclopediaofalabama.org]

News

The other side of the gas story: Covington County local wants others to think before judging

News

South Alabama Young Men’s Association plans eventful summer

News

Andalusia Ballet seniors prep for last performance

News

From uncertainty to the sky: Brock lands first flight job

News

MOORE ROAD CLOSED BETWEEN 8 AM AND 2 PM THURSDAY

News

Andalusia locals start non-profit to mentor youth of the area

News

Probate Office will update voting machines

News

Covington County BOE makes personnel decisions

News

WALT MASSEY TO UNDERGO $2.5 MILLION EXPANSION

News

Mizell to celebrate National Hospitals Week

News

Burrows named 2021 Mizell IMAGE Maker recipient

News

COLONIAL PIPELINE HACK CAUSES GAS PANIC BUYING: Vast majority of Covington County gas comes from Plantation pipeline

News

Ivey announces end of participation in all Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Programs: Covington County sees decrease in unemployment in March

News

Covington County Judson alumni react to college closing

News

Edmondson: The epitome of a great mother

News

Andalusia Ballet’s AIM High Outreach Program has successful year

News

Andalusia expert offers families tips for skill-building at home this Better Hearing and Speech Month

News

AHS alumnus to intern with Walmart

News

ALABAMA HOUSE APPROVES MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL: Rep. Jones proposes amendment to remove depression from list of conditions

News

Alabama House takes no vote on medical marijuana after 9-hour debate: Andalusia native that started California cannabis business supports bill legalizing medical marijuana

News

Perfect storm of supply, demand causes lumber prices to skyrocket

News

Alabama Chief Justice shares historic book set with Rotarians

News

City to move forward with demolition on College Street

News

Ivey announces COVID-19 Public Health Order and State of Emergency to end