Vice Admiral Lawson P. “Red” Ramage
This ship honors the distinguished naval career of Vice Admiral Lawson Patterson Ramage, born January 19, 1909 in Monroe Bridge, Massachusetts. After graduating from the Naval Academy in 1931, he saw his first sea duty aboard destroyers and heavy cruisers.
After graduation from Submarine School in December 1935, VADM Ramage entered submarine service, serving in submarine S-29 and USS SANDS. He was assigned on the staff of Commander, Submarine Force Pacific, based in Pearl Harbor, during the attack on December 7, 1941. He made his first war patrol aboard USS GRENADIER in the spring of 1942, participating in the sinking of 24,000 tons of enemy shipping.
His first command was USS TROUT, which engaged in successful war patrols in the areas of Midway, Truk, the Solomons and the South China Sea. On August 28, 1942, Ramage intercepted a Japanese task group consisting of the light carrier TAIYO, plus cruisers and destroyers. Ramage closed TROUT to short range and fired five torpedoes at the carrier, scoring the first-ever hits on a Japanese carrier.
He assumed command of USS PARCHE (SS 384) in July 1943 and led her through four war patrols in the Southern Pacific Theater. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions during a pre-dawn attack by the PARCHE on a Japanese convoy on July 31, 1944.
Following the war, he commanded Submarine Division FIVE TWO. His duties from 1947 until 1956 included several positions including Special Assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations.
After serving as Commander, Cruiser Division TWO and a variety of positions in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, he was designated Assistant Chief of Naval Operations in October 1960.
From August 1962 until July 1963, he was Deputy Commander of the Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet, after which he served as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Fleet Readiness and Operations). In July 1964 he assumed command of First Fleet, during which time he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for exceptionally meritorious service. In August 1966, he reported as Deputy Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet and Chief of Staff and Aide to the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet. In March 1967 he became the Commander in Chief of the Military Sea Transportation Service in Washington, D.C.
On April 1, 1970, VADM Ramage retired from Naval service. He died on April 15, 1990 at his home in Bethesda, Maryland.
Medal of Honor Action
While conducting operations with USS STEELHEAD (SS 280) and USS HAMMERHEAD (SS 364) off the coast of Luzon, the group made contact with a large Japanese convoy. HAMMERHEAD attacked first but was unable to score any hits. Before dawn the next day (July 31, 1944), STEELHEAD and PARCHE made contact with the convoy and STEELHEAD scored several kills before having to disengage to reload torpedoes. Red Ramage saw his opportunity and took PARCHE into the middle of the convoy, engaging in a 46-minute running surface battle with the merchantmen and their escorts. Showing incredible poise and determination, Ramage cleared the bridge and took his boat among the ships, conducting high-speed evasions while firing salvo after salvo at the high value targets. He directed his crew to reload the torpedo tubes, something that was never previously done in combat. At one point, he passed within 50 feet of an enemy merchant, maneuvering violently to avoid collision while simultaneously firing three “down the throat” shots at the target. When he withdrew from the battle, PARCHE had fired nineteen torpedoes and scored hits on 5 ships. Postwar reconstruction credits him with sinking two and sharing credit for a third kill with STEELHEAD. For his heroic actions, CDR Ramage was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in January 1945.