Pratt City Alabama native, Osmond Kelly Ingram, was the first United States serviceman killed in World War I. He died heroically when a German submarine attacked his ship, and he ran to release the ship’s ammunition ahead of the torpedo strike. Ingram was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the USS Osmond Ingram was named in his honor and West Park in Birmingham was renamed Kelly Ingram Park.
Ingram was born on August 4, 1887, in Oneonta, Blount County, to Naomi (Bettie) and Robert Ingram, a Methodist Episcopal preacher and Confederate Army veteran. He was one of four boys. Before his father’s death in 1897, the family moved to Pratt City, Jefferson County. On November 24, 1903, at the age of 16, and with his mother’s consent, Ingram enlisted in the U.S. Navy. When his enlistment ended in August 1908, Ingram moved back to Pratt City and became a firefighter. In August 1913, Ingram reenlisted and was stationed aboard the Cassin, the ship he remained on following U.S. entry into the war on April 6, 1917.
Photos courtesy of: Alabama Department of Archives and History, Naval History and Heritage Command