Ray Webster was born on September 14, 1917, in Sanford, Maine. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on September 17, 1935, and completed basic training and advanced training at NTS Norfolk, Virginia, in January 1936. His first assignment was as a Fireman and then Electrician's Mate aboard the aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2) from February 1936 to August 1939, and he was honorably discharged from the Navy on September 17, 1939. EM3c Webster reenlisted in the Navy on August 16, 1940, and then served as an Electrician's Mate aboard the attack transport USS McCawley (APA-4) from August 1940 to December 1941, followed by submarine training at Submarine Base New London, Connecticut, from December 1941 to March 1942. EM2c Webster then transferred to the submarine USS Grunion (SS-216) during her fitting out from March to April 1942, and through her commissioning until he was killed in action during a confrontation with the armed Japanese freighter Kano Maru on July 30, 1942. On August 22, 2007, a search team organized by the three sons of CDR Mannert Abele (the Captain of the Grunion when she was sunk) used a remotely operated vehicle to find a sunken vessel 3,000 feet down in the Bering Sea north of Kiska Island at the tip of the Aleutian Islands. On October 1, 2008, the U.S. Navy announced that the sunken vessel is the World War II submarine USS Grunion (SS-216).
His Navy Commendation Medal Citation reads:
For meritorious conduct as a member of the crew of the U.S.S. GRUNION which destroyed three enemy destroyers while engaged in a war patrol in enemy controlled waters. Despite severe and persistent anti-submarine measures resulting from these three successful attacks, the GRUNION was brought safely through the counter attacks and continued an aggressive war patrol. As a member of the crew of the GRUNION, your performance of duty was an important and material contribution to the prosecution of this war.