Technical Sergeant Paul I. Ingalls
- Unit: Seventh Air Force, 30th Bomber Group, 392nd Bomber Squadron (Heavy)
- Service Number: 17003249
- Date of Birth: April 3, 1919
- Entered the Military: August 15, 1940
- Date of Death: December 28, 1943
- Hometown: Council Bluffs, Iowa
- Place of Death: Maloelap Island, Marshall Islands
- Award(s): Purple Heart
Mentored by Mrs. Debora Masker
Abraham Lincoln High School
Born April 3, 1919, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Paul I. Ingalls was the son of Warren Deloise and Goldie Hoyt Ingalls and a brother to Clarence, Warren Jr., and Mary Ellen Ingalls.
In his childhood, Ingalls was an active member of Boy Scout Troop #11 of the Waubonsie-Boyer area, which met at Fifth Avenue Methodist Church. Paul achieved the Boy Scout ranks of Tenderfoot and Second Class. Ingalls attended Second Avenue School and then Thomas Jefferson High School.
In high school, he was involved with student government, ROTC, technical theater, and journalism. In 1937 as a junior, Ingalls attended the annual Quill and Scroll journalism banquet. As part of “School Days,” he worked at the local newspaper, Council Bluffs Nonpareil. Ingalls developed an interest in photography working at a local photography store, Spicer Studio. He graduated in May 1938.
Technical Sergeant Ingalls’ hometown of Council Bluffs was a moderately-sized middle-class historic town surrounded by farms. Council Bluffs was named after the Lewis and Clark expedition that met with the Otoe and Missouria Indian Tribes on the bluffs near the Missouri River in 1804.
As the war began, Council Bluffs shifted gears as the city worked to contribute to the war effort. Many local women were employed to produce crystals for wartime radio technology. Other manufacturers produced chargers for howitzer guns. Council Bluffs was a critical part of the transcontinental railroad and train mail delivery. The steel wheels and other train parts manufactured in Council Bluffs helped with the movement of troops and mail.
The local Kellogg’s plant produced over 105 million K-ration meals used in the European and Pacific theaters. The company educated local citizens through the “Food for Victory” program that showed how to use non-rationed food effectively. Kellogg’s also dedicated a machine shop to make parts and components for the Manhattan Project. Finally, local organizations, such as church groups and libraries, collected books, assembled soldier service kits, and adopted deployed soldiers as pen pals.
On August 15, 1940, Paul I. Ingalls enlisted at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. He trained at the Lowry Air Force base in Denver, Colorado, specializing in aerial photography, armaments, and B-29 crew training. Military photographers spent six months learning about ground and aerial photography, aerial mapping, and camera and equipment repair at the Air Corps Technical School of Photograph.
Private Ingalls was initially assigned to serve in the Panama Canal Zone. However, in September 1943 this assignment was modified and he was then assigned to the Seventh Air Force, 30th Bomber Group, 392nd Bomb Squadron. After training in Louisiana and California, his squadron arrived in Hawaii in October 1943. Private Ingalls advanced in rank, eventually earning the rank of Technical Sergeant.
Ingalls’ unit left for overseas duty in November 1943. They arrived at the Ellice Islands, now known as Tuvalu, midway between Hawaii and Australia. Technical Sergeant Ingalls and his crew flew missions with B-24 bomber planes following the naval invasion in the Battle of Makin. In November 1943, Ingalls’ 392nd Bomber Squadron, formerly the 2nd Reconnaissance Squadron, was assigned to scout for submarines. The 392nd Bomb Squadron was assisting with the invasion of the Gilbert Islands. By attacking the Japanese planes, the unit could keep the enemy from using their planes against the Allied amphibious missions on Tarawa.
While in flight, aerial photographers, such as Ingalls, were particularly vulnerable. The position in the B-24’s that the photographers needed in order to successfully take pictures was perilously unprotected. On December 28, 1943, while on a mission over Maloelap Island, Technical Sergeant Ingalls was shot in the shoulder by enemy fire. Ingalls died when the shot severed his aorta. He was initially interned in the Army Task Force Station Cemetery on Canton Island before his final burial at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii on February 18, 1949.
Paul Ingalls enlisted in the Army Air Corps on August 15, 1940, at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. He trained first at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver and later at its Air Corps Technical School of Photography. There he learned about ground and aerial photography, mapping, camera equipment and repair. Ingalls was assigned to the Seventh Air Force, 30th Bomber Group 392nd Bomb Squadron. He and his crew worked aboard a B-24.
On November 13, 1943, now Technical Sergeant Ingalls with his squadron moved to Ellice Islands in the South Pacific. His squadron took part in the Gilbert Island Campaign. The goal was to open a second front against the Japanese naval forces dividing the enemy’s focus. On December 28, 1943, Technical Sergeant Ingalls, while aboard a B-24, was killed by enemy anti-aircraft fire. Technical Sergeant Ingalls’ remains were buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
For his service, Technical Sergeant Ingalls received a Purple Heart, which was awarded to his mother, Goldie Ingalls. His family also placed a tombstone memorial for him at the Walnut Hill Cemetery in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
We remember Technical Sergeant Ingalls today for the many roles he played in his short lifetime—child, brother, student, Boy Scout, colleague, and ultimately brother-in-arms. By dutifully and selflessly answering the call to serve his country, we will forever remember Technical Sergeant Paul Ingalls as one of the honorable Silent Heroes of the Greatest Generation that made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
Sacrifice for Freedom®: World War II in the Pacific Student and Teacher Institute was a valuable experience for me. I will forever remember and share the story of my Silent Hero, Technical Sergeant Paul I. Ingalls. The program greatly expanded the limited amount of information that I knew about World War II and the Pacific Theater component. In school, we only talked about the date the Pearl Harbor attack occurred and how it was the turning point for the United States to join World War II. We never delved into any in-depth details about the war. I did not know about the battleships used, the prominent people involved, or the aftermath.
The Sacrifice for Freedom®: World War II in the Pacific Student and Teacher Institute provided me with new and intriguing insights from the many parties involved. Visiting sights such as the USS Missouri battleship, the USS Arizona Memorial, and Hickam Air Field was a powerful and moving time for me. Experiencing these places firsthand puts your mindset into the perspective of the soldiers and civilians tragically involved in the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack. To see the somber view and the vastness of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific illustrated how many people gave their lives for their country. Additionally, seeing some of the actual damage still evident at Hickam Air Field served as a reminder of the destruction that occurred that day.
Coming back from this experience, I personally want to share this knowledge with my school and my community. Understanding the Pearl Harbor attack is more than just knowing that the Japanese attacked the United States; it’s knowing the impact it had on the community, the perspectives of both countries’ soldiers, and the historical legacy it has left. I personally believe that it’s crucial to learn as much information as you can. Through invested experts and in-person experiences the next generations must learn about such defining moments in our history.
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Captain Kenneth Brown to Paul Ingalls. November 21, 1943. 392nd Bombardment Squadron (h) – U.S. Army Air Corps, Department of the U.S. Army Air Corps, RG 319, National Archives and Records Administration – St. Louis.
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