The VFW O.K. Ingram Ship was named after Gunner's Mate First Class Osmond K. Ingram who was awarded the Medal of Honor in World War I for his bravery that saved the lives of all members of the ship, except himself.
Osmond Kelly Ingram was born on 4 August 1887 in Pratt City, Alabama. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy from that state as an Apprentice Seaman in November 1903.
In the course of his Naval career, he advanced to the rank of Gunner's Mate First Class and, during World War I, served on board the destroyer USS Cassin. On 15 October 1917, while his ship was operating off the Irish coast, in the Celtic Sea, she was attacked by the German submarine U-61. Gunner's Mate Ingram spotted an incoming torpedo and, realizing that it could hit near the depth charges at the ship's stern, he ran aft in an attempt to release them before the torpedo arrived.
However, the torpedo struck the ship before he could achieve his purpose and Ingram was killed in the ensuing explosion (see picture, below).
For his "extraordinary heroism" on this occasion, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
Also noteworthy for being the first U.S. Navy enlisted man killed in action during World War I, Osmond K. Ingram is listed on the Wall of the Missing at the American Battle Monuments Commission Cemetery, Brookwood, Surrey, England.
USS Osmond Ingram (DD-255, later AVD-9 and APD-35), 1919-1946, was named in honor of Gunner's Mate First Class Osmond K. Ingram. Additionally, there is a park named for O.K. Ingram in Birmingham, Alabama and the main flag pole and colors at the former Naval Training Center, San Diego (now called Liberty Station) are named Ingram Plaza in his honor.
The VFW Osmond Kelly Ship #1774 was formed in the City of San Diego and chartered on 14 Jan 1930 by service members who were in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. They voted to name it a Ship in honor of World War I Medal of Honor recipient O.K. Ingram. Presently having members representing all of the armed forces, the Ship title remains along with the original charter. There are two other VFW Posts that are named a “Ship” and they reside in Port Jervis, New York and Ridgecrest, California. It is no longer possible to name a VFW Post a Ship, Squadron, or other such title since a change to the VFW By-Laws was made. (Were we to name the Ship today, its name would be Osmond K. Ingram Post 1774.) We are officially listed as the O.K. Ingram Ship Post 1774. The difference between a VFW Ship and VFW Post is the organization title and the titles of the officers (which follows the officer titles of Ship officers). VFW Posts and Ships follow the same Congressional Charter By-Laws and Manual of Procedure Ritual as established by the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
We moved to 7298 University Ave, La Mesa, in 1985 (picture below) after selling its downtown building.
On 27 Jan 2011, the Ship’s Charter was moved to the American Legion building located at 8118 University Ave, La Mesa, because of major damage to the 7298 University Ave facility due to a rockslide on 21 Dec 2010. Presently, the facility houses the American Legion and Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary (men and women), The American Veterans organization, and the Air Force Sergeants Association of San Diego and Imperial County. Membership cards from these and other Veterans organizations are honored in the Canteen when purchasing beverages and bringing guests. Together, we are affectionately called the La Mesa Veterans Club and we are proud to be valued members within the City of La Mesa and helping our fellow veterans regardless of where they served our Nation. We continually provide camaraderie, food offerings, and other events at the 8118 University Ave facility. See the monthly calendar within this website.
All American status of a Post is the highest honor accorded by VFW National Headquarters and is given to the top 35 Posts of each membership Division, world-wide. The award means that for the year of award, the Post achieved a minimum of 100% membership, the successful fulfillment of all Programs and mandated requirements, and ranked in the top 35. The O.K. Ingram Ship 1774 was awarded All American status for the years 2012-2013 and 2016-2017 that allows for a permanent streamer attached to the Post’s flag and the wearing of insignia on the caps and uniforms.
The O.K. Ingram Ship Post 1774 has long been involved in the community and at one time had its very own Drum and Bugle Corps as evidenced in these photos, circa 1930s, and the 1965 photo of our sponsored Little League team.
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