Posted on Leave a comment

Florida Medal of Honor Recipient Robert R. Ingram

Robert Ingram
Kneeling photo By Unknown author – Navy Medical History, Robert Ingram, Public Domain, Wikipedia

Robert R. Ingram
Navy
Hospital Corpsman Third Class                                                                Vietnam

Born January 20, 1945, in Clearwater, FL, Ingram joined the United States Navy at age eighteen. He received his training in California before being sent to Japan and then Vietnam as part of Company C, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines in July 1965.

In February 1966, Petty Officer Ingram and his company came under heavy fire. As Ingram sprinted toward the front to assist the wounded bullets punctured both of his canteens. Noticing a machine gunner had been injured, Ingram took up the post, manning the gun for the duration. For his bravery he received the Silver Star, the nation’s third highest military honor.

Just a month later, in the Quang Ngai Province, in South Vietnam, on March 28, 1966, Ingram’s platoon was attacked by more than one-hundred North Vietnamese soldiers who were pouring automatic rifle fire into the Americans.

Despite the barrage of fire, Ingram crawled along the ground to reach a wounded service member and supplied aid. Here he was shot through the hand. Ingram continued to aid wounded men, receiving two more gunshot wounds himself.

While dressing a severe head wound of a fellow soldier, Ingram would be shot for a fourth time. Physically weak, and severely wounded, young Ingram was pulled from the lines, only to refuse evacuation, as he felt others needed to go first.

Ingram’s vital signs weakened, and he was believed to have been killed in action. While eleven members of Company C were to die that day, Ingram survived. He and fifty-three others were wounded.

Other members of Company C were recognized for bravery that day, but for some unknown reason, the actions of Corpsman Ingram were not. His fellow soldiers did not forget him, however. Ingram was to survive the war and after a 1995 reunion, his fellow soldiers took up the fight to have his actions acknowledged.

On July 10, 1998, President Bill Clinton presented the Medal of Honor to Hospital Corpsman, Third Class, Robert R. Ingram.

For a full listing of Florida registered Medal of Honor recipients please see my listing HERE.

Ingram’s Medal of Honor citation can be read below.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Corpsman with Company C, First Battalion, Seventh Marines against elements of a North Vietnam Aggressor (NVA) battalion in Quang Ngai Province Republic of Vietnam on 28 March 1966. Petty Officer Ingram accompanied the point platoon as it aggressively dispatched an outpost of an NVA battalion. The momentum of the attack rolled off a ridge line down a tree covered slope to a small paddy and a village beyond. Suddenly, the village tree line exploded with an intense hail of automatic rifle fire from approximately 100 North Vietnamese regulars. In mere moments, the platoon ranks were decimated. Oblivious to the danger, Petty Officer Ingram crawled across the bullet spattered terrain to reach a downed Marine. As he administered aid, a bullet went through the palm of his hand. Calls for “CORPSMAN” echoed across the ridge. Bleeding, he edged across the fire swept landscape, collecting ammunition from the dead and administering aid to the wounded. Receiving two more wounds before realizing the third wound was life-threatening, he looked for a way off the face of the ridge, but again he heard the call for corpsman and again, he resolutely answered. Though severely wounded three times, he rendered aid to those incapable until he finally reached the right flank of the platoon. While dressing the head wound of another corpsman, he sustained his fourth bullet wound. From sixteen hundred hours until just prior to sunset, Petty Officer Ingram pushed, pulled, cajoled, and doctored his Marines. Enduring the pain from his many wounds and disregarding the probability of his demise, Petty Officer Ingram’s intrepid actions saved many lives that day. By his indomitable fighting spirit, daring initiative, and unfaltering dedications to duty, Petty Officer Ingram reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

To learn more about the Medal of Honor, I recommend Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty.

Eight veterans from the war in Afghanistan have been awarded our nation’s highest honor for valor in combat since the publication of the third edition of Medal of Honor, including Edward C. Byers, Jr., the newest living recipient and a member of Navy SEAL Team Six, and Clint Romesha, author of the New York Times bestselling Red Platoon. And nearly 50 years after their service, four Vietnam veterans have also since received the recognition they so richly deserve. Now these men rightly take their place in the pages of this revised and updated edition.

Included here are 156 Medal of Honor recipients, captured with a contemporary portrait by award-winning photographer Nick Del Calzo and profiled in moving text by National Book Award nominee Peter Collier. The men in the book fought in conflicts from World War II to Afghanistan, served in every branch of the armed services, and represent a cross section as diverse as America itself. This is their ultimate record.

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society website is also a recommended source.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

Posted on Leave a comment

In Memory: Amzi Harmon Civil War Medal of Honor Recipient

Amzi Harmon Headstone
Amzi Harmon Headstone
Original Union headstone and modern Medal of Honor bronze marker for Amzi D. Harmon.

A couple of years ago while wandering Mt. Peace Cemetery in Kissimmee, Florida, searching for the graves of my grandmother and grandfather; I came across the final resting spot of Amzi D. Harmon. The burial itself was rather unremarkable. In fact, I might not have even noticed it if not for the traditional Union soldier shape of the headstone.

It turns out Amzi D. Harmon received the Medal of Honor for actions during the Civil War. Granted, Medals of Honor for actions during the Civil War were awarded on a much less stringent basis than they have since. In fact, a total of 1,523 Medals of Honor were issued for service during the Civil War. In total, less than 3,500 Medals of Honor have been awarded in total.

Harmon received his Medal of Honor for actions in April 1865, while serving as a
Corporal in Company K of the 211th Pennsylvania at the Battle of Petersburg in
Virginia. His citation reads simply “Capture of Flag.”

The 211th PA was a regiment raised late in the war out of western Pennsylvania. Many of those enlisting had already served prior enlistments. Company K was raised primarily from Westmoreland County.In late 1864, the 211th were transferred to the 3rd Division of the IX Corps, serving under Brigadier General John F. Hartranft.

Those wishing to learn more about General Hartranft are directed to this biography.

The regiment later saw action during the breakthrough at Petersburg under the
command of Lieutenant Colonel Levi A. Dodd. During the fighting, the regiment
was to suffer 135 casualties including 21 men killed. Harmon was singled out in an
after action report by General Hartranft for his efforts and having secured the flag
of the 45th North Carolina during battle. (1) General Hartranft submitted Harmon’s
name for Medal of Honor consideration. (2)

Corporal Harmon was born April 18, 1845 in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
After the war, he and dozens of other former Union soldiers moved to the
developing community of St. Cloud. Harmon arrived in Florida sometime between 1910 and 1920. In 1921, Harmon was named an honorary pall-bearer at the burial of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. (4) Harmon lived in Florida until his death on October 9, 1927.

The story of Harmon’s headstone becomes a bit convoluted using Orlando Sentinel
newspaper articles. In 1995, Geoff Clark wrote that a man from New York brought
a marker noting Harmon’s honor (I assume this to be the bronze marker now on the
grave). The article goes on to state the New Yorker left town with the stone marker which ended up in a private museum in Tennessee. In 1996, Sentinel writer Jovida Fletcher states that the marker had been stolen, but was recovered from this again unnamed Tennessee private museum. (3)

No matter stolen or given, the returned headstone was rededicated in a ceremony held in
1995. I attempted to contact City of St. Cloud employees regarding participation of
the city Historic Preservation Board in this rededication but did not receive a reply.
Mt. Peace Cemetery in St. Cloud was founded in 1911 on a ten-acre tract deeded
by the Seminole Land and Investment Company. A Women’s Auxiliary was
formed with a stated goal “to aid in the work of improving and beautifying the
cemetery.” (5)

Today, Mt. Peace Cemetery is cared for by the City of St. Cloud. It is the final
resting place for more than 6,500 persons.

Notes
1) Geoff Clark. “Civil War Hero to be Honored.” Orlando Sentinel. August 2,
1995.
2) United States Government Printing Office. The War of the Rebellioin: A
Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies
Series I, Volume XLVI Part I Section II. Washington D.C. 1894. Page 1064.
3) Geoff Clark. “Ceremony for Hero Will Note 1865 Feat.” Orlando Sentinel.
July 16, 1995.
Jovida Fletcher. “Johnson Hopes to Preserve Heritage of Union Soldiers.”
Orlando Sentinel. June 23, 1996.
4) Florida Master Site File OS02790.
5) Ibid.

Those wishing to learn more about the Siege of Petersburg are directed to In the Trenches at Petersburg by noted Civil War historian Earl J. Hess.  I also highly recommend The Siege of Petersburg Online. Brett has created a massive archive of materials related to all aspects of the Petersburg campaign.

To the best of my knowledge there is no regimental history of the 211th Pennsylvania.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may
receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views
and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors
providing products.

Posted on Leave a comment

Charles George: Korean War Native American Medal of Honor Recipient

Charles George Monument

Tsali “Charles” George was born August 23, 1932 in Cherokee, North Carolina as a member of
the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Tribe. Charlie, as he was known, attended the Indian School
on the Qualla Boundary of Western North Carolina and spent much of his early life near the
Oconaluftee River.

Charles George
Charles George
Image Courtesy North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

At age 18, with the Korean War in full force, Charlie joined the United States Army in  Whittier, North Carolina, attaining the rank of Private First Class. He served in Company C of the 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division.

In November 1952, PFC George gave his life in order to protect that of fellow soldiers, Armando Ruiz and Marion Santo, who along with George were helping lead an assault to try to capture a prisoner for interrogation, just north of Seoul during the Battle of Songnae-dong. Having succeeded in their mission George, Ruiz, and Santo were ordered to provide cover as the Company retired.

The Chinese were continuing to fight and a grenade landed near the three young men. George pushed Santo away before falling on the live grenade in order to prevent injury and possible death to others. Despite his life threatening injuries George did not utter a sound. To do so would have betrayed their location to the Chinese.

Ruiz and Santo bravely carried the dying George to the nearest aid station but the wounds were too severe and the heroic young Cherokee passed. Both Armando Ruiz and Marion Santo survived the war, returning to the States and leading as normal a life as possible having witnessed the ultimate horror of war.

The body of Charles George was returned to Cherokee County where he was interred in Yellow
Hill Cemetery. You may view an online memorial to PFC George here.

PFC George’s heroics were recognized quickly and in March 1954, George’s parents were
invited to Washington D.C. in order to receive the Medal of Honor being awarded posthumously
to their son. In the following years, Charlies father, Jacob, was known to carry the Medal with
him, keeping this piece of his son close to him at all times.

In recent years, further honors have been bestowed upon the memory of PFC Charlie George.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Asheville, NC was renamed the Charles
George Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 2017 after approval by both the
United States House of Representatives and the Senate.

The bridge crossing the Oconaluftee River in the Yellowhill Community was dedicated as the
Charles George Bridge on January 23, 2014.

Charles George Monument
The Charles George Monument located in the Cherokee Veterans Park. An identical monument sits at the VA Center named in his honor.

On September 24, 2016, a life-sized statue of George, sculpted by artists James Spratt, was unveiled at the Charles George VA Medical Center. Center Director Cynthia Breyfogle stated, “The legacy of Charles George was, and still is, an inspiration and influence beyond his local community. His courage and example join those of other brave men and women, past and present, who have answered the call when their country needed them.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Spratt did not live to see the unveiling. He passed away the day of the unveiling while under hospice care. Warren Dupree of the American Legion Post 143 said a few words on behalf of Spratt, “…he wanted to thank the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Charles George Memorial Project Committee for their kindness in helping him make his dream come true.”

On November 11, 2016, an identical sculpture to the one located at the VA Center was unveiled in a moving ceremony at the refurbished Cherokee Veterans Park.

The Museum of the Cherokee Indian opened an exhibit in George’s honor on Memorial Day, May 28, 2018. The impressive displays included a bronze bust of George, the flag that draped his coffin, his numerous military medals including his Medal of Honor, and a copy of the text of his Medal of Honor citation. You may read this citation below.

Citation:

Pfc. George, a member of Company C, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and
outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy on the night
of 30 November 1952. He was a member of a raiding party committed to engage the enemy and
capture a prisoner for interrogation. Forging up the rugged slope of the key terrain feature, the
group was subjected to intense mortar and machine-gun fire and suffered several casualties.
Throughout the advance, he fought valiantly and, upon reaching the crest of the hill, leaped into
the trenches and closed with the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. When friendly troops were
ordered to move back upon completion of the assignment, he and two comrades remained to
cover the withdrawal. While in the process of leaving the trenches a hostile soldier hurled a
grenade into their midst. Pfc. George shouted a warning to one comrade, pushed the other
soldier out of danger, and, with full knowledge of the consequences, unhesitatingly threw himself
upon the grenade, absorbing the full blast of the explosion. Although seriously wounded in this
display of valor, he refrained from any outcry which would divulge the position of his
companions. The two soldiers evacuated him to the forward aid station and shortly thereafter he
succumbed to his wound. Pfc. George’s indomitable courage, consummate devotion to duty, and
willing self-sacrifice reflect the highest credit upon himself and uphold the finest traditions of the
military service.

Sources:

https://asheville.va.gov/
https://www.cmohs.org/recipients/charles-george                                                                 https://www.ncdcr.gov/blog/2014/11/30/cherokee-charles-george-korean-war-medal-of-honor-recipient  https://www.theonefeather.com

To learn more about the Medal of Honor I recommend Medal of Honor, Revised & Updated Third Edition: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty  

 

 

 

 

 

To learn more about the Cherokee Indian Nation I recommend Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation.

 

 

 

 

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

Posted on Leave a comment

Florida Medal of Honor Recipients

Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor has been accredited to Florida only 23 times. Image courtesy US Department of Defense

The Medal of Honor is the highest award for military valor in action. In over 150 years, the Medal has been awarded just over 3,500 times. When originally issued during the Civil War the Medal did not have the same level of stature that it does today. In fact, over 1,500 Medals were awarded during the Civil War alone. When one considers the millions of men and women who have worn military uniforms, it is easy to see the special actions it takes to receive this award.

The official name is the Medal of Honor. Because Congress created the award, it is sometimes mistakenly called the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Congressional Medal of Honor Society, chartered by Congress and thus the name, has an explanation of this misnomer.

States receive accreditation for awards based upon the state where a soldier enlists. The state of Florida is accredited with twenty-three Medal of Honor recipients. As I write brief biographies of these men, they will show as linked below allowing you read about them and the actions that garnered them such acclaim.

Charles Albert Varnum           Captain                                        Army                          Indian Wars

Clarence M. Condon              Sergeant                                      Army                         Philippine War

Francis Edward Ormsbee, Jr.   Chief Machinist’s Mate                    Navy                          World War I

William Merrill Corry, Jr.      Lieutenant Commander                      Navy                          World War I

Alexander R. Nininger, Jr.      Second Lieutenant                           Army                           World War II

James Henry Mills               Private                                           Army                           World War II

David McCampbell                Commander                                  Navy                            World War II

Robert Edward Femoyer           Second Lieutenant                     Air Corps                      World War II

Thomas B. McGuire, Jr.          Major                                           Air Corps                      World War II

Robert M. McTureious, Jr.       Private                                         Marine Corps                World War II

Baldomero Lopez                 First Lieutenant                             Marine Corps                Korean War

Emory L. Bennett                Private First Class                          Army                             Korean War

Robert R. Ingram                Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class            Navy                            Vietnam War

Larry Eugene Smedley            Corporal                                   Marine Corps                  Vietnam War

Clifford Chester Sims           Staff Sergeant                               Army                           Vietnam War

Nicholas J. Cutinha             Specialist 4th Class                          Army                            Vietnam War

Clyde Everett Lassen            Lieutenant Junior Grade                  Navy                             Vietnam War

Robert H. Jenkins, Jr.          Private First Class                             Marine Corps                   Vietnam War

Hammett L. Bowen, Jr.           Staff Sergeant                             Army                              Vietnam War

Bruce Wayne Carter              Private First Class                        Army                              Vietnam War

Ardie R. Copas                  Sergeant                                       Army                              Vietnam War

Paul R. Smith                   Sergeant First Class                         Army                                Iraq

Robert J. Miller                Staff Sergeant                                  Army                              Afghanistan

 

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.