In His Vocabulary, The Word ‘Quit’ Does Not Exist

January 15, 2009

July 2005 is a month that will be forever etched into the mind of 2LT Richard Ingram. During that month, an event occurred that would forever change his life. Ingram lost him left arm in a roadside bombing, while serving in Iraq. That devastating injury didn’t stop him from following his dream to be the very best warrior that he could be.

Lt. Richard Ingram watches his dog Cooper jump into the bed of his pickup truck at a local pet groomer in LaGrange on Wednesday. Ingram lost an arm in a roadside bombing in Iraq.

Lt. Richard Ingram watches his dog Cooper jump into the bed of his pickup truck at a local pet groomer in LaGrange on Wednesday. Ingram lost an arm in a roadside bombing in Iraq.

This past December, Ingram made another milestone in his quest in being the finest warrior possible, when he became the first Soldier severely wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan, to become an officer following their injury. When he was injured, he was an enlisted National Guard Soldier. Now a newly pinned 2LT, Ingram left for Fort Benning, Georgia on January 11th for officer training. Training that will prepare him to lead Soldiers into battle. That may be sooner, rather than later, considering that US Troops are still serving in Iraq and more and more Soldiers are being deployed to Afghanistan.

“I might have to try a little bit harder than everyone else, but I get the same results,” he said. “I’m in better shape now than when I had two arms.”1

Ingram is a role model. Someone that other Soldiers can look up to. Someone who other wounded warriors, approximately 3,722 of them who are classified as severely wounded can look up to. Something that young children look up to. Evidence of that is seen in his parents home, where a letter from a young second grade child is framed. That letter reads:

“I think Richard is very courageous for being in the war in Iraq. His mother works at my school. He lost his arm in an explosion. He went to a hospital in the United States. He had to have an artificial arm and use it. I want to be like him when I grow up.”2

What Richard has accomplished since his injury, gives hope to the thousands of other wounded warriors, that they too can succeed, whether that be in the military or in life outside the military. According to Lt. Col. Richard McNorton, about 113 Soldiers in the Wounded Warriors Program have continued their careers in the military, after being injured. Of that 113, Ingram is the only one who continued or restarted his career by completing Officer Candidate School.

According to Col. Michael Pyott, a military science professor at North Georgia College and State University, where Ingram completed the ROTC program to become an officer, Ingram was trailblazer. Col. Pyott said that it took some work to figure out how they could allow Ingram, who at the time was a disabled Army Specialist, earn his commission. Pyott said that the extra effort and red tape was well worth it. To be able to complete the training and rejoin the Army as an officer, Ingram had to prove that his disability would not make him physically unable to perform his duties. He did just that.3

“There’s no point in living, if you’re not living your life,” Ingram said. “I’m just glad to be alive.”4

Though it took him seven years to complete his degree, between being deployed and then recuperating from a severe injury, Ingram persevered. Although he wasn’t sure that he’d be able to be a frontline Soldier again, he knew that he didn’t want to spend the rest of his military career behind a desk. Initially after his injury, he took a medical retirement from the Army and returned to school. During that time, he realized that he was meant to be a Soldier and began working to return to the Army. On December 13th, Richard Ingram took his oath of office as a 2LT. He’s once again in the Army, this time as a leader. He will eventually be in charge of an engineer platoon with the 10th Mountain Division. More than likely, he’ll see combat once again in Afghanistan. Before he deploys again, he has a few things he’d like to accomplish, such as Airborne and Ranger School. Both of those courses are extremely difficult ones and many with both limbs aren’t able to complete both of them. According to a spokeswoman at Fort Benning, for an amputee to master either of the courses, is an almost insurmountable challenge.5

2LT Ingram’s friends and family all have complete confidence that he’ll succeed at both challenges. They know his strength of character and perseverance when times are tough and they know that if anyone is up to the task of beating almost impossible odds, that 2LT Richard Ingram will be the one to do so.

As I read this article about 2LT Ingram, I was amazed and inspired by the things this young man has accomplished, faced with the type of adversity that he’s had to face. He’s already accomplished so much and I have no doubt, that if given the opportunity, he’ll be able to accomplish anything and everything that he sets his mind to. I’m proud to say that he is just one example of the incredible men and women we having serving in this country’s Armed Forces. Men and women like 2LT Richard Ingram are what makes our military the best in the world. Thank you 2LT Ingram for your inspirational service to our country.

  1. []
  2. []
  3. []
  4. []
  5. []


Got something to say?