Lawson Paterson Ramage

“Red” Ramage, born in Monroe Bridge, MA, January 19, 1909, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1931. Unable to pass the eye exam because of an eye injury he received wrestling in college, he served aboard three surface ships. Finally, he memorized the eye chart, passed the physical and spent most of the remainder of his career on submarines.

He received the Silver Star for heroism patrolling enemy waters aboard the USS Grenadier and assumed his first command, the USS Trout, in June 1942. Aboard the Trout, he conducted four patrols, sank three Japanese ships and received the Navy Cross for heroism at Midway, Truk, the Solomon Islands and the South China Sea.

In May 1943, Ramage assumed command of the new USS Parche (SS-384). As part of a submarine “wolfpack,” they sank seven enemy ships. On the Parche’s second patrol, on July 30, 1944, the Parche met an enemy convoy. Red Ramage cleared the bridge and steamed into the midst of the enemy on the surface of the water, firing torpedoes and dodging gunfire, a kind of close-quarters shooting that had never been seen before.

Ater the war, he continued to rise through the ranks, achieving the rank of vice admiral in 1963, named Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for fleet operations and readiness. In 1967, he became Commander, Military Sea Transportation Service and retired from the Navy in 1969. He died in 1990 in Bethesda, MD, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

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.