Vice Admiral Lawson P. "Red" Ramage

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Lawson Paterson "Red" Ramage

Birthdate: (81)
Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of Lawson Ramage and Edith Mary Ramage
Brother of Captain Donald Brewster Ramage

Managed by: Marvin Caulk, (C)
Last Updated:

About Vice Admiral Lawson P. "Red" Ramage

Lawson Paterson "Red" Ramage (19 January 1909 – 15 April 1990) was a vice admiral in the United States Navy and a noted submarine commander during World War II. Ramage was decorated with the Medal of Honor and several other combat decorations during the war. He also served during the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Early life and career

Taking his nickname from his hair color, Ramage was born on 19 January 1909, in Monroe Bridge, Massachusetts. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1931, having injured his right eye while wrestling, and was subsequently commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Navy. From 1931 to 1935, he served aboard several surface ships. He was the navigator of USS Dickerson (DD-157), the engineering officer of USS Lawrence (DD-250), and the radio officer of USS Louisville (CA-28). Unable to pass the submarine physical examination because of his eye injury, Stephen Moore quotes Ramage: "I took the opportunity to memorize the eye chart so that when I returned I had no problem reading off the eye chart" and getting his approval. Confronted with a subsequent eye examination, Ramage relates he passed the eye examination "by just exchanging the card before my right eye and reading with my left eye in both instances." In January 1936, Lieutenant (jg) Ramage reported to the USS S-29 (SS-134); he would then spend most of his career on submarines.

In 1938, Ramage returned to the Naval Academy for postgraduate education. In September 1939, Ramage became executive officer of USS Sands (DD-243), serving until February, 1941. Subsequent duty took him to Hawaii as the force communications and sound officer on the staff of Commander, Submarines Pacific Fleet (ComSubPac).

World War II

Medal of Honor 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 la "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."unched 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.

Following the presentation, Commander Ramage created a certificate for each sailor in his command. The certificate read:

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

The USS Parche was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation.

Summary of CDR Lawson P. Ramage's USS Trout (SS-202) and USS Parche (SS-384) War Patrols

Post-war navy career

After the war, he continued to serve in command of submarines, being commander of Submarine Division Two and then Commander of Submarine Squadron Six. From 1953–1954, he was commanding officer of the amphibious cargo ship USS Rankin (AKA-103). Following ascent to flag rank in July 1956, Admiral Ramage was on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations, and then commander of Cruiser Division Two. In 1963, serving as Deputy Commander of Submarine Forces, Atlantic Fleet, Admiral Ramage led the search operations for the nuclear submarine USS Thresher (SSN-593) that sank in the Atlantic Ocean near Boston, MA. That same year he was promoted to vice admiral, and became Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for fleet operations and readiness. Vice Admiral Ramage was Commander, First Fleet, from 1964 to 1966 during the buildup to the Vietnam War. In 1967, he become Commander, Military Sea Transportation Service. He retired from the Navy in 1969. He received the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. The citation reads:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Distinguished Service Medal to Vice Admiral Lawson Paterson "Red" Ramage, 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.

Personal life

On 2 November 1935, Ramage married Barbara Alice Pine, the daughter of U.S. Coast Guard Vice Admiral James Pine. They had two sons and two daughters.

Ramage died in his home at Bethesda, Maryland, in 1990, having succumbed to cancer. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Posthumous honors

The guided missile destroyer USS Ramage (DDG-61) was named for him in 1994. Several submarine-related facilities were also named after him including the administrative building (Ramage Hall) of the Submarine Training Facility in Norfolk, Virginia and the headquarters building at Naval Submarine Base New London on August 20, 2010.

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Vice Admiral Lawson P. "Red" Ramage's Timeline

Age 81