John T. “Tom” Ingram served almost two years in the service. He was drafted right out of high school. Tom Ingram said. “I was 18. I couldn’t vote, couldn’t even buy a bottle of beer. But I was old enough to die for my country.”
He was a member of the 90th Infantry Division, known as the ‘Tough Ombres.’ The T.O. represented the Texas/Oklahoma National Guard during World War I. By the Second World War, the 90th was made of soldiers from across the country, who gave the division its new nickname.
As part of the 90th Infantry Division, Tom Ingram served in France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany and Czechslovakia. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and helped liberate the concentration camp in Flossenburg, Germany in the spring of 1945. But in 1944, when he landed in Normandy, he was an 18-year-old sharp shooter straight out of Beauregard High School.
On January 31, 1945, Ingram earned a Bronze Star in a battle at Winterspelt, Germany, during a German counter-attack which consisted of four tanks, strong machine gun, small arms, and mortar fire during a mission to capture the town of Wallmerath, Germany.
The recommendation reads:
“One of the Company officers was hit by sniper fire from a building 40 yards away, the enemy tanks began to fire point blank at the completely exposed position on the forward slope of the hill where he lay. As the rest of the company pulled off the slope to secure protection from the fire, Pvt. John T. Ingram,…remained with the Officer, giving him first aid and assistance ignoring the continuous direct tank fire and machine gun and small arms which fired at him as he dressed the Officers wound….in the face of certain death….”
The closest comparison that I can think to make is to recall the closing scenes from the movie “Saving Private Ryan,” where actor Tom Hanks portrayed an Army captain facing off against one German Tiger Tank. Pvt. John T. Ingram faced four German tanks. When asked how the tank gunners could have possibly missed him, Mr. Ingram told me that he was so close to the German tanks that the gunners were probably not able to get the right deflection angle!