Osmond Kelly Ingram (August 4, 1887 – October 16, 1917) was a sailor in the U. S. Navy and the first enlisted serviceman from the United States killed in World War I. He died heroically, saving his ship and shipmates by jettisoning the vessel's ammunition stores in advance of a torpedo strike.
Ingram was one of four sons born to Robert L. Ingram and his wife Naomi Elizabeth "Betty" Lea. He moved with his mother from Oneonta to Pratt City in 1903 just after he completed high school. He enlisted in the Navy on November 24 of that same year and served until 1908. He then joined the Birmingham Fire Department and spent four years as a fireman based at Birmingham Fire Station No. 18 in Pratt City. In 1912 he re-enlisted.
For a time, Ingram was treated at a Naval hospital for rheumatism and had been ordered discharged, but he begged his surgeon for a chance to fight. His commander on the USS Cassin arranged for him to return to duty as a Gunner’s Mate First Class after a short leave. While in the service he wrote a letter to his mother every week and enclosed $30 from his pay each month. He returned to Birmingham on May 1, 1917 and received a telegram the next day summoning him back to his ship for active duty.
The Cassin was attacked by a German U-61 submarine off the coast of Ireland on October 16, 1917. Ingram spotted the approaching torpedo, realized it would strike close by explosives, thus dooming the ship, and rushed to jettison the ammunition. He was blown overboard and lost when the torpedo struck.
- "Birmingham Man is First of Our Armed Forces to Die." (October 18, 1917) Birmingham Age-Herald
 External links
- Osmond K. Ingram at Find-A-Grave