Jonas H. Ingram
|Jonas Howard Ingram|
October 15, 1886|
|Died||September 9, 1952
San Diego, California
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1907–1947|
Admiral Jonas Howard Ingram (October 15, 1886 – September 9, 1952) was an officer in the United States Navy during World War I and World War II. He commanded the United States Atlantic Fleet during World War II and was a recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions in 1914 in Veracruz, Mexico.
Early life and sports
As a youth, Ingram attended Jeffersonville High School and Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana, then was appointed to the United States Naval Academy in 1903, at the age of 17. During Ingram's time at the Academy, he was a member of the school's rowing, track and football teams, leading the latter team to the Midshipmen's first victory in six years over their bitter rivals from Army by scoring the lone touchdown in the 1906 clash. His athletic exploits helped earn him the Academy's prestigious Athletic Sword and induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1968.
As a Lieutenant, Ingram was named the 15th head college football coach for the United States Naval Academy Midshipmen located in Annapolis, Maryland and he held that position for two seasons, from 1915 until 1916. His coaching record at United States Naval Academy was 9 wins, 8 losses, and 2 ties. As of the conclusion of the 2007 season, this ranks him 22nd at United States Naval Academy in total wins and 24th at United States Naval Academy in winning percentage (0.526).
Following his graduation in 1907, Ingram served in several battleships, cruisers and destroyers. As turret officer of the battleship Arkansas (BB-33), he established a world's record for firing 12-inch (305 mm) guns. On April 22, 1914 he landed at Veracruz, Mexico with the Arkansas battalion and was later received the Medal of Honor for "distinguished conduct in battle" and "skillful and efficient handling of the artillery and machine guns".
World War I and interwar years
Ingram served as head football coach at the Naval Academy from 1915 to 1917. During World War I he was awarded the Navy Cross for his services on the staff of Rear Admiral Hugh Rodman Commander, Division Nine, Battle Force, Atlantic Fleet.
Earning the rank of Commander in 1924, he became the commanding officer of the destroyer Stoddert (DD-302) before returning to the U.S. Naval Academy to serve as both athletic director and football director from 1926 to 1930.
Prior to his promotion to Captain in 1935, Ingram served as an aide to the Secretary of the Navy, then returned to the sea as commander of Destroyer Squadron Six. Ashore, he was Captain of the Yard, New York Navy Yard in Brooklyn, New York before returning to sea, in command of the battleship Tennessee (BB-43).
World War II
In the early years of World War II, Ingram was promoted to Rear Admiral on January 10, 1941 and served as Commander Task Force Three prior to his designation in September 1942 as Commander South Atlantic Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, with the rank of Vice Admiral. This force, with headquarters in Brazil, guarded shipping in the coastal waters south of the Equator and throughout the United States zone of responsibility in the South Atlantic. Admiral Ingram's command included air and surface units of Brazil which were brought to a high state of efficiency through his leadership and coordinating efforts. The ability to develop and maintain harmony and close cooperation with Brazilian naval forces contributed to the control of the South Atlantic achieved by the Allies. He assumed personal responsibility for properly equipping and training the Brazilian Navy and for their combat operations against U-Boats and German raiders and later for the important task of maintaining the air and sea rescue patrol for ultimate deployment in the Pacific. For his services in these important commands, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and a gold award star in lieu of a second.
On November 15, 1944, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, with the rank of Admiral. In this command he played a major role in assuring the steady flow of troops and materials to Europe across the Atlantic during the later phases of World War II. He also directed Atlantic Fleet efforts in containing and destroying the German U-Boat fleet. For exceptionally meritorious service during his command, he was awarded a gold award star in lieu of a third Distinguished Service Medal.
After World War II, retirement and last years
In August 1952, he suffered a heart attack while serving as the superintendent of summer schools at Culver Academies, then was stricken again with another attack on September 9, while at the U.S. Naval Hospital in San Diego, California. He died the following evening.
Medal of Honor citation
Rank and organization: Lieutenant, Junior Grade, U.S. Navy. Born: October 15, 1886, Jeffersonville, Ind. Accredited to: Indiana. G.O. No.: 177, December 4, 1915.
For distinguished conduct in battle, engagement of Vera Cruz, 22 April 1914. During the second day's fighting the service performed by him was eminent and conspicuous. He was conspicuous for skillful and efficient handling of the artillery and machineguns of the Arkansas battalion, for which he was specially commended in reports.
Ingram also received the Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Medal with two award stars; Purple Heart (for wounds received during an encounter with a German submarine "wolf-pack" in 1942); Mexican Service Medal; World War I Victory Medal (United States) with Grand Fleet Clasp; American Defense Service Medal with Bronze "A"; American Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; and the World War II Victory Medal.
He also held the following foreign decorations: Order of the Southern Cross (Brazil); Grand Officer of the Order of Military Merit (Brazil); Order of Naval Merit (Brazil); Order of Aeronautical Merit, Degree of Grand Officer (Brazil); Order of Leopold II (Belgium); and Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (Great Britain).
The destroyer Jonas Ingram (DD-938), launched in 1956, was named in his honor.
- Navy Midshipmen football coaching records
- Rodman, Hugh (1927). Yarns of a Kentucky Admiral. p. 265.
- "College Football Hall of Fame Biography". Retrieved September 29, 2010.
- "Medal of Honor recipients". Medal of Honor citations. United States Army Center of Military History. August 3, 2009. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.