De Arellano

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Marion Frederic Ramirez de Arellano

Marion Frederic Ramirez de Arellano
Marion Frederic Ramirez de Arellano

Marion Frederic Ramirez de Arellano was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the capital of the island, on August 5, 1913. He was the son of Professor Rafael W. de Arellano and Professor Lucille Kemmerer Ramirez de Arellano of the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras.

When he was just a child, his parents moved for a short period of time to Athens, Georgia where he began grade school. The family soon returned to the island and both his parents found employment as professors at the University of Puerto Rico. Ramirez de Arellano continued his education in Puerto Rico and after he graduated from high school, he attended that university for two years prior to his entrance to the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, as a Midshipman from Puerto Rico, on July 21, 1931

He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy by Theodore Roosevelt Jr, son of former President Theodore Roosevelt, who was the Governor of Puerto Rico from 1929 to 1932. Ramirez de Arellano excelled in sports in the Academy, earning varsity letters in soccer, tennis, and gymnastics. He also won the Society of the Cincinnati prize for highest standing in the course for the Department of Languages. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1935.

Upon his graduation, he was commissioned an Ensign and assigned to the USS Ranger (CV-4), the first ship of the United States Navy to be designed and built from the keel up as an aircraft carrier. He served aboard as Gunnery Officer from 1935 to 1937. It is uncertain why he became interested in submarines, but he volunteered for that duty and from 1937 to 1938, he attended Submarine School at Groton, Connecticut.

In 1938, Ramirez de Arellano was assigned as Division Officer of the USS Pickerel (SS-177), a Porpoise-class submarine. Pickerel was a relatively new submarine having only been commissioned in 1937 and had been transferred to the Pacific when Ramirez de Arellano was assigned to her. Her port of operations was moved to the Philippines and she was training near the Philippines when on December 8, 1941 the islands were attacked by Japan. She was ordered to the coast of Indo-China and conducted her first war patrol off Cam Ranh Bay and Tourane Harbor.

Ramirez de Arellano participated in five war patrols with the Pickerel and led the effort to rescue five Navy pilots and one enlisted gunner off Wake Island. He also contributed to the sinking of two Japanese freighters and damaging a third.

After a brief stint at the Navy Yard on Mare Island, he was reassigned to the USS Skate (SS-305), a Balao-class submarine as the Executive Officer and Navigator. He participated in the Skate's first three war patrols.

The second patrol on Skate for Ramirez de Arellano began on November 15, 1943 Skate departed Midway for her second war patrol. This was conducted off Truk in the Caroline Islands. Ten days later on November 25, she sighted the masts of five warships; but, after firing a spread of torpedoes at overlapping aircraft carriers, she was forced down by depth charging by their escort ships.

Ramirez de Arellano was awarded a second Silver Star Medal for his contributions in the sinking the Japanese light cruiser Agano and also a Legion of Merit Medal for Skate's third war patrol.

Legion of Merit Commander Marion F. Ramirez De Arellano, United States Navy, was awarded the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Assistant Approach Officer aboard U.S.S. SKATE (SS-305) during the THIRD War Patrol of that Submarine in enemy-controlled waters from February 5, 1944 to March 17, 1944. General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 348 (March 1946) & No. 363 (May 1947) Action Date: February 5 - March 17, 1944 Service: Navy Rank: Commander Company: Executive Officer Division: U.S.S. Skate (SS-305)

In April 1944, Ramirez de Arellano was named Commanding Officer of the USS Balao (SS-285), thus becoming the first Hispanic American submarine commanding officer. He participated in Balao's war patrols 5, 6 and 7. On July 5, 1944, Ramirez de Arellano led the rescue of three downed Navy pilots in the Palau area.

Balao commanding officer CDR Ramirez de Arellano was awarded a Bronze Star with Combat V and a Letter of Commendation for his actions in fighting his ship.

Bronze Star Medal: "...for heroic service as Commanding Officer of the USS Balao during the Seventh War Patrol of that vessel in enemy Japanese-controlled waters from 4 December 1944 to 10 January 1945. Penetrating shallow and heavily mined waters, Commander Ramirez de Arellano conducted well-planned torpedo attacks to sink a tanker and a schooner totaling over 10,000 tons despite severe enemy countermeasures. His skills, courage and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

He was detached from command of the Balao in February 1945, and for six months thereafter was assigned to Submarine Division 202, his duty in connection with relief crews. In August 1945 he became Commander Submarine Division 16, with additional duty as a member of the staff of Commander Submarine Squadrons 28 and 8. Three months later he was transferred to command the USS Piper (SS-409), and in April 1946 was detached with orders to duty in command of the Submarine Base at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

In November 1947 he reported to Headquarters, Tenth Naval District, where for two years he served as Assistant to the War Plans Officer on the staff of the Commandant and on the staff of Commander Caribbean Sea Frontier. On August 10, 1949 he returned to the Naval Academy, where for the next three years he was assigned to the Department of Language.

On September 30, 1952 he assumed command of the USS Lindenwald (LSD-6), a unit of the Atlantic Fleet, and under orders of May 17, 1954 he was detached to Pascagoula, Mississippi as Prospective Commanding Officer of the USS Thomaston (LSD-28). He assumed command at her commissioning on September 17, 1954.

He was War Plans Officer, Joint U.S. Military Group in Madrid, Spain from May 1955 to June 1957 and the Deputy Director of the Inter-American Defense Board in Washington, D.C. from July 1957 to July 1961. On July 1, 1961, Captain Ramirez de Arellano retired from the Navy at the rank of Captain.

In addition to the Silver Star Medal and Gold Star in lieu of second silver award, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal with Combat 'V' the Commendation Ribbon with Combat 'V' and the Ribbon for the Navy Unit Commendation, Commander Ramirez de Arellana had the Army Distinguished Unit Emblem; the American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one silver star and two bronze (seven engagements); the American Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; the National Defense Medal; and the Philippine Defense Ribbon.

Ramirez de Arellano was married to Isabel Judson Mysie with whom he had three sons. He died on May 15, 1980 at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C.. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery Plot: Section 64 Site 1541.

US Navy Photo

Biography compiled from Wikipedia and Naval History and Heritage Command and various newspapers and online sources.

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