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I recently met Dick Ramsey at his daughter Patrice’s home following an e-mail that I received from him, which he sent via our Signal’s advertisement for local Veterans to contact me with their service information. It was wonderful listening to Dick at age 94 express his experiences as I found his memory simply incredible. Clearly, Dick remains very proud of his service aboard the USS Nevada battleship.
High School Interrupted
Richard Joseph Ramsey was born Halloween Night October 31, 1923, in Brooklyn, New York, where he grew up and attended Murray Hill Vocation High School. Due to the Japanese surprise bombing at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Dick chose to leave high school. Dick heard the tragic news over his family’s radio and he remembers them wondering where Pearl Harbor was even located. At age 18, Dick was immediately inspired to do his part by leaving high school to work in the defense industry and he landed a job at Bruin Machine Company that produced torpedo parts. He next became a pipe fitter helper in Brooklyn’s Naval Yard working on the Navy’s brand new USS Iowa battleship and witnessed its launching. Afterwards, he had a stint working on the USS Missouri. Richard J. Ramsey Submarine Volunteer
On March 16, 1943, Richard Ramsey enlisted with the U.S. Navy which sent him directly to the Great Lakes Naval Training Station for Boot Camp. After training, he had a 10 day leave of absence to visit his family and it was right back to Great Lakes where Dick volunteered for submarine duty. He was motivated by his Uncle Joseph Ramsey’s WWI stories of serving aboard a submarine. Dick’s father, Francis Ramsey also served in WWI as an artillery soldier. Next, Dick was sent to Camp Shoemaker in Hayward, California, which was built specifically for WWII’s Pacific Theater. Two weeks later, Dick was assigned to Bethlehem Ship Yard near the Golden Gate Bridge where he reported for duty aboard the USS Nevada Battleship.
Anti Aircraft Gunner
Dick proudly learned that the USS Nevada, America’s oldest battleship at that time, participated in escorting President Woodrow Wilson to the Versailles Peace Conference at the end of WWI in 1918. It was in June 1943 when Dick also learned that his assignment was to man a 5 inch anti aircraft gun mount. Three days after boarding the Nevada, they steamed south to the Panama Canal and then up the east coast to Norfolk, Virginia, for retrofitting the mighty battleship with even more anti-aircraft guns. After two months at Norfolk, the USS Nevada joined six separate convoys that successfully delivered troops and supplies needed in the European Theater to Belfast, Ireland.
D-Day Invasion USS Nevada Utah Beach, DDay. Courtesy photo After convoy duties to Ireland, The USS Nevada embarked to Scotland for exercises in preparation for the massive Allied June 6, 1944 D-Day Invasion at Normandy. Late on June 5th, Dick said they began crossing the English Channel headed for Utah Beach. The […]