Lawson Ramage was born on January 19, 1909, in Monroe Bridge, Massachusetts. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy on June 20, 1927, and graduated with a commission as an Ensign on June 4, 1931. His first assignment was aboard the destroyer USS Dickerson (DD-157) from July 1931 to July 1932, followed by the destroyer USS Lawrence (DD-250) from July 1932 to May 1933. Ramage next served aboard the heavy cruiser USS Louisville (CA-28) from May 1933 to June 1935, before attending Submarine School at the Submarine Base in New London, Connecticut, from June to December 1935. LT Ramage served aboard the submarine USS S-29 (SS-134) operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, from December 1935 to May 1938, and then attended U.S. Naval Academy Postgraduate School from May 1938 to September 1939. His next assignment was as Navigator and Executive Officer aboard the destroyer USS Sands (DD-243) from September 1939 to February 1941, followed by service on the staff of Submarine Scouting Force at Pearl Harbor from February 1941 to April 1942. LCDR Ramage served as Navigator aboard the submarine USS Grenadier (SS-210) for one war patrol from April to June 1942, and then made four war patrols as commanding officer of the submarine USS Trout (SS-202) from June 1942 to May 1943. He then served at the Navy Yard in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where he oversaw the completion of the submarine USS Parche (SS-384) from May to November 1943, followed by service as the new submarine's first commanding officer from November 1943 to December 1944, during which time he participated in three more war patrols. CDR Ramage next served on the staff of Commander Submarine Force Pacific Fleet from December 1944 to April 1946, and then as commander of Submarine Division 52 from April 1946 to July 1947. He served in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon from July 1947 to January 1950, and then attended Armed Forces Staff College from January to July 1950. CAPT Ramage served on the staff of Commander Submarine Force Atlantic Fleet from July 1950 to August 1951, followed by service as commander of Submarine Squadron SIX from August 1951 to March 1953. His next assignment was as commanding officer of the attack cargo ship USS Rankin (AKA-103) from March 1953 to July 1954, followed by Naval War College from July 1954 to June 1955. He served as Chief of Staff and Aide to the Commander of Submarine Force Atlantic Fleet from June to October 1955, and then served in the Chief of Naval Operations from October 1955 to August 1958. ADM Ramage was commander of Cruiser Division TWO from September 1958 to November 1959, and then served another tour with the Chief of Naval Operations from November 1959 to July 1962. He served as deputy commander of Submarine Force Atlantic Fleet from July 1962 to July 1963, and then served as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Operations and Readiness at the Pentagon from July 1963 to July 1964. ADM Ramage then served as commander of First Fleet from July 1964 to August 1966, followed by service as deputy commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet from August 1966 to March 1967. His final assignment was as commander of Military Sea Transportation Service from March 1967 until his retirement from the Navy on April 1, 1970. Lawson Ramage died on April 15, 1990, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage (DDG-61) was named in his honor in 1994.
His Medal of Honor Citation reads:
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 pre-dawn attack on a Japanese convoy, July 31, 1944. Boldly penetrating the screen of a heavily escorted convoy, Commander 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 tow 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, Commander Ramage daringly swung the stern of the speeding PARCHE as she crossed the bow of the onrushing ship, clearing by less than fifty feet but placing his submarine in the deadly cross-fire from escorts on all sides and with the transport dead ahead. Undaunted, he sent three smashing down-the-throat bow shots to stop the target, then scored a killing hit as a climax to forty-six minutes of violent action with the PARCHE and her valiant fighting company retiring victorious and unscathed.