By Debbie Gregory.
On January 14, 2014 a brilliant 43 year military career ended with the retirement of the Army National Guard director, LTG William E. Ingram Jr.
General Ingram began his military career in 1970 as an enlisted infantryman in the North Carolina National Guard. Like many great officers, Ingram was a prior-enlisted man. In 1972, Ingram was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. As an officer, Ingram steadily made his way through the ranks.
In 2001, Ingram attained the rank of Brigadier General, and was assigned as the Adjutant General of the North Carolina National Guard, a position previously held from 1977 to 1983 by his father, Maj. Gen. William E. Ingram Sr.
In 2010, General Ingram was assigned to the Pentagon as an assistant to the Army’s Vice Chief of Staff. In November 2011, General Ingram was appointed as director of the Army National Guard.
The Director of the Army National Guard is essentially the head of the entity. In 1948, with the creation of the U.S. Air Force and the Air National Guard, the National Guard Bureau was divided into two entities, the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard. Both entities report to the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, who is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
As head of the Army National Guard, LTG Ingram was responsible for a force of more than 350,000 soldiers. Ingram led the Army National Guard during a time of war. During his retirement ceremony, he expressed his feelings about the future of his branch, as our country nears a time of peace.
“It’s extremely important that we preserve this national treasure, even as we navigate through the current period of fiscal uncertainty. The National Guard is a great value today and into the future. Preserving a high-quality, all-volunteer force – active, Guard and Reserve – and upholding our standards, discipline and fitness is essential.”
General Ingram served his country honorably and faithfully for 43 years. During his career, he led platoons, companies, battalions, detachments, task forces and eventually the entire Guard. And just as his service was honorable and dutiful, so was Ingram’s leadership. Like many successful people, the general acknowledged the other people in his life that helped him reach his level of success.
“Behind every soldier is a committed and a resilient family,” Ingram said, of his children and grandchildren. “Few people outside the military understand the sacrifices you made for me to be a soldier. Thank you for all the love and support that allowed me to follow this career path, and to be standing here today.”
Men of LTG Ingram’s quality, while more frequent in the U.S. Armed Forces, are very rare in the world. His guidance will be missed by his soldiers and by his nation. Military Connection would like to salute the general for his service and his leadership, and wish him a peaceful and pleasant retirement.