Robert Roland Ingram was born on 20 January 1945 in Clearwater, Florida. In November 1963, at age 18, he enlisted in the U. S. Navy. After completing recruit training in San Diego, California, he requested and was assigned to Hospital Corps School. He later completed Field Medical Service School at Camp Pendleton, California.

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. The unit arrived in Vietnam in July of that year after concluding further training in Okinawa, Japan. During a fierce engagement on 8 February 1966, HM3 Ingram rushed forward while under fire to treat between 12 and 14 wounded Marines. For his actions that day, he received the Silver Star.

On 28 March 1966, HM3 Ingram’s unit was attacked by a much larger enemy force. Within minutes, over 300 automatic weapons opened fire, killing or wounding all in the lead squad of Company C, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines. Immediately, HM3 Ingram moved into the fire-swept field to aid the downed Marines.

Hospital Corpsman Third Class Ingram was shot through the hand while treating a wounded Marine but continued on. He was rushing to another casualty when another bullet tore through his knee. Although he was struggling to move, HM3 continued to respond to calls for aid when an enemy soldier shot him in the face, directly below the right eye. Still he continued to assist the wounded Marines.

Throughout the battle, HM3 Ingram seized weapons and ammunition from his patients, firing to suppress enemy attacks and thereby protect the Marines. Finally, while tending to a fallen hospital corpsman, a fourth shot went through HM3 Ingram’s groin and buttocks. Despite blood loss and agonizing pain, he managed to crawl back to friendly lines. Even then, he tried to delay his medical evacuation, asking that the injured Marines go first. His recovery took eight months, but HM3 Ingram eventually was able to return to duty. For his selflessness, he was nominated for the Medal of Honor.

After HM3 Ingram was discharged from the Navy in 1968, he enrolled in college to pursue a degree in nursing. He became a registered nurse and eventually worked as a nurse and operations manager at a family practice in his home state of Florida.

During a unit reunion in 1995, the Marines discovered that the original Medal of Honor nomination for HM3 Ingram had been lost. The nomination was re-submitted and finally, 32 years after the action, Mr. Ingram received his Medal of Honor. President William J. Clinton presented the award to him in a ceremony in the White House on 10 July 1998—20 years after the last Medal of Honor was awarded to a Navy Sailor.

Navy Medal of Honor recipients serving with Marine units at the time of award

Marine Corps University