From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Oliver Ramsey '37

Date of birth: November 27, 1914

Date of death: November 13, 1942

Age: 27

Lucky Bag

From the 1937 Lucky Bag:


Oliver was lost when USS Atlanta (CL 51) was sunk on November 13, 1942 during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.


From Find A Grave:

Oliver was known by his middle name, Marion, and was the fourth of seven children born to his parents. The family lived in the rural Fairchild Wisconsin area, on a farm which had no electricity. At the age of 14, he graduated from Fairchild Wisconsin High School, as the Valedictorian. At 18 he graduated from Eau Claire Wisconsin Teacher's College (Now known as the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire). The next year he began his education at the United States Naval Academy, graduating in 1937.

By the fall of 1942, Marion was the right-hand man of Rear Admiral Norman Scott aboard the USS Atlanta (CL-51) in the South Pacific. The nation had been at war for ten months and Marion wrote home weekly. He had a Sear's catalog onboard his ship and sent his family a battery-operated radio which the family sat around and listened for news about the action in the Pacific. He made sure he asked his younger siblings what they wished for Christmas, gifts he would get for them from the catalog. Marion only once mentioned his personal opinions on the war he was in when he said, "We've jumped out of the frying pan into the fire." On November 13, 1942, Marion's ship was sunk in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.

He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star. His remains and that of the entire crew are buried at sea. His family learned of his death on what would have been his 28th birthday. Less than a month later, his siblings received their Christmas gifts from Marion in the mail. His youngest sister still has the radio. In 2002, Marion's younger brother James and his wife Anne established a $1.5 million dollar gift the UW-Eau Claire endowment to honor Marion.

Marion has a memory marker in Wisconsin. His parents were listed as next of kin.

Silver Star

From All Hands Naval Bulletin of June 1943:

Lt. Oliver M. Ramsey, USN, of Fairchild, Wis., posthumously, for outstanding action while serving as flag lieutenant to the commanding admiral in a battle against Japanese naval forces off Savo sland, Oct. 11-12, 1942. During the most critical moments of the battle, Lieutenant Ramsey relayed his keen observations of our own and enemy gunfire and ship losses, and coolly and efficiently carried out the many vitally important duties assigned him, thereby contributing measurably to the effective operations of the forces under his admiral's command.


His younger brother's donation to UW-Eau Claire endowed the Oliver M. Ramsey Chair at the Institute for Health Sciences.

Memorial Hall Error

Oliver is one of three men from the Class of 1937 who are (correctly) recorded in Memorial Hall as being killed in action during World War II, but who are not listed with their classmates.

Class of 1937

Oliver is one of 48 members of the Class of 1937 on Virtual Memorial Hall.