Navy Veteran Marion Frederic Ramírez de Arellano is today’s Veteran of the Day.
Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in August 1913, Marion Frederic Ramírez de Arellano was the son of two professors who taught at the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras. He also studied at the same university for two years before attending the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1931. Ramírez de Arellano was commissioned an ensign in the Navy after graduating in 1935. He also received the Society of Cincinnati prize for achieving the highest standing in the Department of Languages course.
Ramírez de Arellano’s first assignment took him aboard USS Ranger (CV-4), a relatively new aircraft carrier built in 1931. He served as a gunnery officer aboard the ship for two years. Afterward, Ramírez de Arellano reported to the Naval Submarine School in Groton, Connecticut. There, he learned the skills needed to serve aboard submarines and graduated in 1938. He reported to USS Pickerel (SS-177), where he served as a division officer stationed near the Philippines during the early stages of World War II. When the Japanese attacked the Philippines in December 1941, USS Pickerel responded by sinking two enemy ships and damaging another ship during a series of patrols. For his part in the operations, Ramírez de Arellano received a Gold Star.
He returned to the U.S. in December 1942, where he briefly served at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in California, before returning to the Pacific Theater. This time he served aboard USS Skate (SS-305), another submarine, as an executive officer and navigator. In this role, he took part in a mission that rescued several downed pilots and a gunner while also facing enemy fire. He received a Legion of Merit for his actions during the rescue. During a mission that occurred in the early months of 1944, Ramírez de Arellano pursued an enemy light cruiser that attempted to evade USS Skate. Despite the enemy’s maneuvers, Ramírez de Arellano successfully targeted and sank the ship. He received a Silver Star for his contributions during the mission.
In April 1944, Ramírez de Arellano became the first Hispanic naval officer to command a submarine when he became the commanding officer for USS Balao (SS-285). His most notable action occurred between December 1944 and January 1945 when he led an attack in the East China Sea that saw the destruction of two enemy ships, despite shallow waters, mines and intense enemy fire. He received a Bronze Star with Combat “V” for his leadership during this attack.
After World War II ended, Ramírez de Arellano worked with relief crews while a part of Submarine Division 202. In 1947, he became an assistant to the war plans officer on the staff of the Commandant and the staff of Commander Caribbean Sea Frontier at the 10th Naval District in Puerto Rico. Later, Ramírez de Arellano commanded USS Lindenwald (LSD-6), followed by USS Thomaston (LSD-28). He retired in 1961 at the rank of captain.
Ramírez de Arellano died in May 1980.
We honor his service.
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Writer: Raymond Lin
Editors: Theresa Lyon, Alexander Reza
Researcher: Giacomo Ferrari, David Charles Deprez
Graphic artist: Kiki Kelley