JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Medal of Honor recipient Petty Officer Robert “Bob” Ingram, native Floridian who calls Jacksonville home, was among 15 Medal of Honor recipients who officially broke ground in late March on the new National Medal of Honor Museum in Arlington, Texas, a news release said.
Ingram and his fellow recipients were joined by former President George W. Bush and current Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark A. Milley, among other dignitaries, in the historic ceremony that came as the nation observed National Medal of Honor Day, according to the statement.
Ingram, who earned his Medal in 1966 in Vietnam, took up a ceremonial shovel alongside fellow recipients whose valor on the battlefield traced from World War II to Korea to Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan, and included the nation’s last living World War II recipient, 98-year-old Woody Williams.
The 15 men turned over soil collected from all 50 states – including North Carolina – symbolizing the unifying nature of the project for the nation, the news release said.
The ceremony also featured a military flyover by the 301st Fighter Wing from Joint Base Fort Worth; video tributes voiced by Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey; performances by the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, the U.S. Air Force Band of the West, and the U.S. Naval Academy Glee Club; and remarks from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark A. Milley and Medal of Honor recipient Major General Patrick H. Brady (Ret.), stated the news release.
When completed, the one-of-a-kind museum will recognize the 3,511 servicemembers who received the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest award for valor in combat, as well as all who they served alongside.
“When you’re looking at a Medal of Honor recipient, you’re looking at someone who has demonstrated gallantry under impossible odds. You’re looking at someone who has placed duty above self. You’re looking at someone who understands the meaning of sacrifice in the most profound way. And you’re looking at a person of integrity, fortitude and patriotism. You’re looking at honor,” President Bush said at the groundbreaking ceremony.
“And these values must be preserved, protected and passed onto future generations, and that is why the National Medal of Honor Museum is so important.”
At the age 18, Ingram enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was assigned to Hospital Corps, according to the news release. After a short tour with Company B, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, he transferred to Company C of the same battalion in late spring of 1965.
A year later his unit arrived in Vietnam. On March 28, 1966 his unit was attacked by a large enemy force. Within minutes, over 300 automatic weapons opened fire, killing or wounding all. Immediately, Ingram moved into enemy fire to aid the downed Marines. Ingram was shot multiple times, the news release stated. Still he continued to assist the wounded Marines.
Throughout the battle, Ingram seized weapons and ammunition from his patients, firing to suppress enemy attacks thereby protecting and saving his fellow comrades, the news release continued. Ingram’s recovery took eight months.
Ingram was nominated for the Medal of Honor shortly after the battle, however the papework was lost, according to the statement. Thirty-two years later, after a reunion in 1995, Ingram’s nomination was resubmitted. Ingram would go on to receive the Medal on July 10, 1998 at a White House ceremony making him the first Sailor to receive the Medal in 20 years.
About the Museum and Monument
The National Medal of Honor Museum, Monument and Leadership Institute will inspire Americans by honoring and preserving the history of the highest military decoration awarded for valor in combat. Serving as a national landmark – and located in America’s heartland in Arlington, Texas – the Museum will provide an unrivaled visitor experience and illustrate the historical thread of sacrifice, patriotism and courage that runs through all U.S. military service members, past and present.
Beyond its state-of-the-art, interactive experiences, a critical part of the Museum’s mission will be to use the stories of Medal of Honor recipients to inspire their fellow Americans and motivate them to be their best selves.
A National Monument in Washington, D.C., will commemorate the service and sacrifice of the bravest and most decorated members of the U.S. Armed Forces. To be located in the nation’s capital, it will give all Americans the opportunity to reflect on the courage and patriotism that safeguard freedom and democracy.