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.
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.