View Full Version : Navy Clinic Honors Medal of Honor Hero

04-24-04, 01:46 PM
Last modified Sat., March 27, 2004 - 01:23 AM
Originally created Saturday, March 27, 2004

New medical, dental facility is dedicated to former Navy hospital corpsman who served in Vietnam.

The Times-Union

A Medal of Honor recipient from Jacksonville was recognized Friday when Jacksonville Naval Hospital dedicated its new $22 million medical and dental clinic to him.

Former Navy hospital corpsman Robert Ingram was awarded the medal by President Clinton in 1998 for bravery during combat in Vietnam. Naval officials said they chose to dedicate the clinic at Mayport Naval Station to him because he represents a heritage that can inspire future military personnel.

"The base is dedicated to providing the finest quality of care to our military personnel as well as retirees, and having a Medal of Honor member adds to what the hospital corps is all about," said Cmdr. Tom Balestrieri.

The 102,000-square-foot clinic at 2104 Massey Ave. began serving active duty personnel, military family members and retired service members on March 1. It is nearly double the size of the previous clinic across the street.

The medical clinic staff has 25 physicians and 170 support staff for the 100,000 patients who visit every year. The dental clinic has 14 dentists and hygienists for its 30,000 annual patients, according to the Navy.

Improvements include a new pharmacy with automated systems and an expanded medical records area, and a wide-screen television to show educational programs to patients.

The larger clinic also brings programs previously in separate buildings under one roof, including community counseling, substance abuse programs, physical therapy and occupational health services.

The clinic's staff also plans to add specialties such as dermatology, urology, general surgery and neurology.

Ingram, now a registered nurse at a family practice in Jacksonville, spoke to a large crowd of civilians and military personnel during the outdoor afternoon ceremony. He compared the team work he learned in Vietnam to the teamwork he said will be needed to successfully operate the clinic.

"You have an updated great facility to serve the fleet. But it takes more than that; it takes a team and the participation of every individual," he said. "This dedication is not about me, it's about being part of a team. ... Our lives and our way of life is dependent upon you."

cherie.black@jacksonville.com, (904) 359-4504

Medal of Honor Citation: Hospital Corpsman Third Class Robert R. Ingram, United States Navy

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Corpsman with Company C, First Battalion, Seventh Marines against elements of a North Vietnam Aggressor (NVA) battalion in Quang Ngai Province Republic of Vietnam on 28 March 1966. Petty Officer Ingram accompanied the point platoon as it aggressively dispatched an outpost of an NVA battalion. The momentum of the attack rolled off a ridgeline down a tree covered slope to a small paddy and a village beyond. Suddenly, the village tree line exploded with an intense hail of automatic rifle fire from approximately 100 North Vietnamese regulars. In mere moments, the platoon ranks were decimated. Oblivious to the danger, Petty Officer Ingram crawled across the bullet-spattered terrain to reach a downed Marine. As he administered aid, a bullet went through the palm of his hand. Calls for "CORPSMAN" echoed across the ridge. Bleeding, he edged across the fire swept landscape, collecting ammunition from the dead and administering aid to the wounded. Receiving two more wounds before realizing the third wound was life threatening, he looked for a way off the face of the ridge, but again he heard the call for corpsman and again, he resolutely answered. Though severely wounded three times, he rendered aid to those incapable until he finally reached the right flank of the platoon. While dressing the head wound of another corpsman, he sustained his fourth bullet wound. From sixteen hundred hours until just prior to sunset, Petty Officer Ingram pushed, pulled, cajoled, and doctored his Marines. Enduring the pain from his many wounds and disregarding the probability of his demise, Petty Officer Ingram's intrepid actions saved many lives that day. By his indomitable fighting spirit, daring initiative, and unfaltering dedications to duty, Petty Officer Ingram reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Note: The medal was presented to Retired Petty Officer Ingram at the White House on 10 July 1998.