Ramage, Lawson Paterson, VADM

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Last Rank
Vice Admiral
Last Primary NEC
112X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Submarine Warfare
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1966-1969, CNO - OPNAV
Service Years
1931 - 1969
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral

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Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Michael Kohan (Mikey), ATCS to remember Ramage, Lawson Paterson (Red), VADM.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Monroe Bridge, Franklin County
Last Address
Bethesda, Montgomery County

Date of Passing
Apr 15, 1990
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section 7A, Grave 184

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Last Known Activity

Lawson Paterson "Red" Ramage 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.

Ramage was highly decorated for heroism during World War II – the Medal of Honor, two Navy Crosses, and the Silver Star Medal. Ramage was stationed at Pearl Harbor on the staff of the Commander, Submarines, Pacific during the surprise Japanese attack on 7 December 1941.

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

Other Comments:

In May 1943, Ramage assumed command of the new Balao-class submarine, the USS Parche (SS-384). Commissioned in November 1943 at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine, Parche sailed to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Parche's first patrol, in March 1944, was as part of a U.S. submarine wolfpack with USS Bang and USS Tinosa. The "sub" wolfpack sank seven enemy ships for 35,000 tons; Ramage was credited with two of them for 11,700 tons.[9]

In June 1944, Parche's second patrol was also as part of a wolfpack. This was the patrol that established Ramage's reputation. On 30 July 1944, the wolfpack made contact with an enemy convoy. In the dark hours before dawn on 31 July, for 48 minutes ("among the wildest of the submarine war")

Ramage cleared the bridge of all personnel except himself and steamed right into the enemy convoy on the surface, maneuvering among the ships and firing nineteen torpedoes. Japanese ships fired back with deck guns and tried to ram his submarine. With consummate seamanship and coolness under fire, Ramage dodged and twisted, returning torpedo fire for gunfire.... the attack on the Japanese convoy by Red Ramage was the talk of the U.S. submarine force. In terms of close-in, furious torpedo shooting, there had never been anything like it before.

While the description from Clay Blair describes Ramage as being alone, by his own account Admiral Ramage retained a quartermaster on the bridge to keep a lookout aft.

The Parche sank two enemy ships and badly damaged three others. For this action, Commander Ramage became the first living submariner Medal of Honor recipient, which was formally presented to him by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 10 January 1945.

"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."

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

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 Duty Stations
Submarine School Officers BasicUS NavyCOMSUBPAC, COMNAVSUBFORUSS Grenadier (SS-210)
USS Trout (SS-202)USS Parche (SS-384)USS Rankin (LKA-103)Cruiser Destroyer Group  2, Commander, Naval Surface Force, Atlantic (COMNAVSURFLANT)
  1935-1935, Submarine School Officers Basic
  1939-1940, USS Sands (DD-243)
  1942-1942, USS Grenadier (SS-210)
  1942-1943, USS Trout (SS-202)
  1943-1944, USS Parche (SS-384)
  1952-1953, USS Rankin (LKA-103)
  1958-1960, Cruiser Destroyer Group 2, Commander, Naval Surface Force, Atlantic (COMNAVSURFLANT)
  1964-1966, COMTHIRDFLT
  1966-1969, CNO - OPNAV
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1927-1931, United States Naval Academy
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