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The Story of Kelly Ingram, United States Navy, World War I

Osmond Kelly Ingram was born on 4 August 1887 in Pratt City, Alabama.  He enlisted in the U.S. Navy from that state as an Apprentice Seaman in November 1903.  In the course of his Naval career, he advanced to the rank of Gunner's Mate First Class and, during World War I, served on board the destroyer U.S.S. Cassin.  On 15 October 1917, while his ship was operating off the Irish coast, she was attacked by the German submarine U-61.  Gunner's Mate Ingram spotted an incoming torpedo and, realizing that it could hit near the depth charges at the ship's stern, he ran aft in an attempt to release them before the torpedo arrived.  However, the torpedo struck the ship before he could achieve his purpose.  Ingram was killed in the ensuing explosion.  For his "extraordinary heroism" on this occasion, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.  Also noteworthy for being the first U.S. Navy enlisted man killed in action during World War I, Osmond K. Ingram is listed on the Wall of the Missing at the American Battle Monuments Commission Cemetery located in Brookwood, Surrey, England.  U.S.S. Osmond Ingram (DD-255, later AVD-9 and APD-35), 1919-1946, was named in honor of Gunner's Mate First Class Osmond K. Ingram.

 

Below reads the Medal of Honor citation of Gunner's Mate First Class Osmond K. Ingram (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 117):

 

"For extraordinary heroism in the presence of the enemy on the occasion of the torpedoing of the Cassin, on 15 October 1917.  While the Cassin was searching for the submarine, INGRAM sighted the torpedo coming, and realizing that it might strike the ship aft in the vicinity of the depth charges, ran aft with the intention of releasing the depth charges before the torpedo could reach the Cassin.  The torpedo struck the ship before he could accomplish his purpose and Ingram was killed by the explosion.  The depth charges exploded immediately afterward.  His life was sacrificed in an attempt to save the ship and his shipmates, as the damage to the ship would have been much less if he had been able to release the depth charges."

 
 
The Veterans of Foreign Wars traces its roots back to 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service: Many arrived home wounded or sick. There was no medical care or veterans' pension for them,and they were left to care for themselves.
  
In their misery, some of these veterans banded together and formed organizations with what would become known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. After chapters were formed in Ohio, Colorado and Pennsylvania, the movement quickly gained momentum. By 1915, membership grew to 5,000; by 1936, membership was almost 200,000.

Since then, the VFW's voice had been instrumental in establishing the Veterans Administration, creating a GI bill for the 20th century, the development of the national cemetery system and the fight for compensation for Vietnam vets exposed to Agent Orange and for veterans diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome. In 2008, VFW won a long-fought victory with the passing of a GI Bill for the 21st Century, giving expanded educational benefits to America's active-duty service members, and members of the Guard and Reserves, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Besides helping fund the creation of the Vietnam, Korean War, World War II and Women in Military Service memorials, the VFW in 2005 became the first veterans' organization to contribute to building the new Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial, which opened in November 2010.

Annually, the nearly 2 million members of the VFW and its Auxiliaries contribute more than 8.6 million hours of volunteerism in the community, including participation in Make A Difference Day and National Volunteer Week. 
 
From providing over $3 million in college scholarships and savings bonds to students every year, to encouraging elevation of the Department of Veterans Affairs to the president's cabinet, the VFW is there.
 
 
 

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