George W. Ingram was born in Michigan around 1921, the son of Charles H. and Sadie Ingram. His family lived in Boyne City, Michigan, and he had at least six siblings: Astella, Marjorie, Ella, Fred, Guy, and Bob. Ingram entered the United States Army before January 1943, and trained at Camp Grant, Illinois, and Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, before being deployed overseas in July 1943. He served in North Africa, Italy, and southern France with the 149th Provisional Military Police Detachment, where his duties included guarding prisoners of war. He returned to the United States before December 1944, and married a woman named Betty in Toledo, Ohio, late that year. Between January and February 1945, Ingram served with the Army Service Forces at Camp Peary, Virginia. He attained the rank of private first class.