Commander Lawson P. Ramage, USN (July 31, 1944)

http://prismco.org/prinzide Lawson Paterson Ramage was born in Monroe Bridge, Massachusetts on January 19, 1909. He attended the United States Naval Academy and graduated with the class of 1931, receiving his officer’s commission in the United States Navy as an Ensign.

cheap lasik eye surgery collection;travelDestinations Ramage, nicknamed “Red” for his red hair, served in surface ships until 1935. He wanted to switch to submarines, but a sports injury which damaged his right eye (he had wrestled at the Naval Academy) stopped him from passing the eye test for submariners. Ramage’s solution: he memorized the eye chart.

Ramage was accepted for submarine duty and reported to his first submarine in January of 1936, serving the rest of his career in submarines when he wasn’t in shore or higher command positions.

He was on Pacific submarine force commander’s staff when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. In early 1942, Ramage went to sea as the navigator of the submarine USS Grenadier (SS-210). In June 1942, after being promoted to Lieutenant Commander, he was given his first command: USS Trout (SS-202).

While commanding the Trout, Ramage received his first award of the Navy Cross for the boat’s fifth, sixth, and seventh war patrols. In May 1943, Ramage was assigned as the commanding officer of the USS Parche (SS-384), then under construction at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine. He took Parche to war in the Pacific for the first time in March 1944 and received his second Navy Cross for that war patrol.

On July 31, 1944 during Parche‘s second war patrol, Ramage cemented himself as one of the greatest all-time heroes of the Silent Service. Attacking a Japanese convoy while surfaced, he cleared the exposed bridge of all other personnel and directed his crew from outside alone. Parche sank two enemy ships, damaged three others, and her captain later received the Medal of Honor.

From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II (M-S):

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Lawson Ramage as a Vice Admiral – Photo: Military Times’ Hall of Valor

RAMAGE, LAWSON PATERSON

Rank and organization: Commander, U.S. Navy, U.S.S. Parche. Place and date: Pacific, 31 July 1944

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Parche in a predawn attack on a Japanese convoy, 31 July 1944. Boldly penetrating the screen of a heavily escorted convoy, Comdr. Ramage launched a perilous surface attack by delivering a crippling stern shot into a freighter and quickly following up with a series of bow and stern torpedoes to sink the leading tanker and damage the second one. Exposed by the light of bursting flares and bravely defiant of terrific shellfire passing close overhead, he struck again, sinking a transport by two forward reloads. In the mounting fury of fire from the damaged and sinking tanker, he calmly ordered his men below, remaining on the bridge to fight it out with an enemy now disorganized and confused. Swift to act as a fast transport closed in to ram, Comdr. Ramage daringly swung the stern of the speeding Parche as she crossed the bow of the onrushing ship, clearing by less than 50 feet but placing his submarine in a deadly crossfire from escorts on all sides and with the transport dead ahead. Undaunted, he sent 3 smashing “down the throat” bow shots to stop the target, then scored a killing hit as a climax to 46 minutes of violent action with the Parche and her valiant fighting company retiring victorious and unscathed.

Parche was also awarded the Presidential Unit Citation – a collective achievement equivalent to the Navy Cross – for the action. Ramage knew that his Medal of Honor was as much his crew’s as his, and he presented each of them with the following certificate:

The Captain wishes to emphasize the fact that the Medal of Honor was accepted from the President of the United States as the Nation’s tribute to a fighting ship and her courageous crew. He feels that every officer and man whose loyal cooperation and able assistance contributed to the success of the “Parche” has an equal share in this award which he holds in trust for you. With great pride and respect. Sincerely, L. P. Ramage

Ramage survived the war and remained in the Navy and retired as a Vice Admiral in 1969. Here are the citations for some of the other high-level decorations he received during his career, including his two Navy Crosses.

Additional Award Citations from Military Times’ Hall of Valor:

First Navy Cross Citation:

NC-200pxThe President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant Commander Lawson Paterson “Red” Ramage (NSN: 0-70337), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. TROUT (SS-202), on the FIFTH, SIXTH and SEVENTH War Patrols of that submarine during the period 27 August 1942 to 25 February 1943, in enemy controlled waters of the Pacific War Area. During this period of intense activity, Lieutenant Commander Ramage distinguished himself by his brilliant tactical knowledge and sound judgment in maneuvering his vessel into advantageous striking position so skillfully and aggressively as to destroy and damage an important amount of enemy shipping. Through his excellent direction of these hazardous operations he enabled the TROUT to complete her vital missions successfully. Lieutenant Commander Ramage’s inspiring leadership and the valiant devotion to duty of his command contributed immeasurably to the efforts of our forces against a determined and desperate enemy and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.

Second Navy Cross Citation:

NC-200pxThe President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Navy Cross to Commander Lawson Paterson “Red” Ramage (NSN: 0-70337), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. PARCHE (SS-384), on the FIRST War Patrol of that submarine during the period 29 March 1944 to 23 May 1944, in enemy controlled waters of the Luzon Strait in the Philippine Islands. Despite strong enemy escorts which included air support, Commander Ramage skillfully penetrated the escort screens and through his daring and aggressive determination, delivered smashing torpedo attacks against enemy ships. As a result of these well planned and brilliantly executed attacks, he successfully sank four enemy ships totaling over 30,000 tons. In spite of strong enemy counterattacks and active air opposition, his skillful evasive tactics enabled him to escape and bring his ship to port. His conduct throughout was an inspiration to his officers and men and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Navy Distinguished Service Medal Citation:

NDSM-200pxThe President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Distinguished Service Medal to Vice Admiral Lawson Paterson “Red” Ramage (NSN: 0-70337), United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service in a position of great responsibility to the Government of the United States as Commander FIRST Fleet, from July 1964 to July 1966. During this period of ever-increasing tension in Southeast Asia, Vice Admiral Ramage exercised outstanding leadership, sound judgment and keen foresight in increasing the readiness posture of forces assigned to the FIRST Fleet, ensuring that units deploying to Southeast Asia were ready for any contingency. This he accomplished by conducting training and fleet exercised under conditions closely simulating those that would be encountered in Southeast Asia. Lessons learned in the combat environment of Southeast Asia were widely disseminated and, from these lessons, new tactics were developed and incorporated in fleet exercises, and requirements for improved and new equipment were brought forth. Through his professional knowledge and dedicated and tireless devotion to duty, Vice Admiral Ramage has made an outstanding contribution to the efforts of the Pacific Fleet in accomplishing its vital mission. His distinguished achievements reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.

Silver Star Citation:

SilverStar-200pxThe President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Commander [then Lieutenant] Lawson Paterson “Red” Ramage (NSN: 0-70337), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving as Navigator aboard the Submarine U.S.S. GRENADIER (SS-210) during a War Patrol of that Vessel in enemy-controlled waters from 12 April to 10 June 1942. Exhibiting outstanding skill and efficiency in the performance of his duties, Commander Ramage rendered valuable assistance to his Commanding Officer during attacks which resulted in the sinking of two enemy ships totaling 24,000 tons and, in addition, contributed materially to the success of his vessel in evading enemy countermeasures. His leadership, courage and devotion to duty were an inspiration to the officers and men and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Lawson Ramage passed away at age 81 on April 15, 1990 and was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. The Navy today honors one of its greatest heroes with the destroyer USS Ramage (DDG-61), which was commissioned on July 22, 1995 and sails the high seas in defense of the United States from her home port of Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.

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