ROBERT F. RUGE, MAJ, USMC

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Robert Ruge '37

Date of birth: January 5, 1914

Date of death: October 24, 1944

Age: 30

Lucky Bag

From the 1937 Lucky Bag:

Obituary

From Find A Grave:

Capt. R. Ruge Dead, Marine Chief Wires Officer Lost Life When Jap Prisoner Ship Was Sunk Last October.

Captain Robert F. Ruge, U.S. Marine Corps, of Valparaiso, today was enshrined on Porter county's Honor Roll of American heroes who have given their lives for their country.

A telegram has been received by his brother, Atty. Mox Ruge, of Chesterton, from General A. A. Vandegrift, commandant, U. S. M. C., announcing that Robert lost his life on October 24, 1944 when a Japanese ship, on which 1,800 American prisoners were being transported from the Philippines to Japan, was sunk.

A son of the late Dr. Marx Ruge, Valparaiso dentist, who died on Aug. 9, 1944, and Nellie Grise Ruge. Captain Ruge was born in Valparaiso on January 5, 1914. He attended the public schools and was graduated from Valparaiso high school in 1932, where he was active in basketball, football and baseball.

From 1933 to 1937 he attended the United State Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., from which institution he was graduated and received a 2nd lieutenant's commission in the U. S. Marine Corps. At Annapolis he was captain of the basketball team in his senior year, and then served as assistant basketball coach at the Academy.

After his graduation he was stationed at Philadelphia for a short time, and then returned to the Naval Academy, remaining there from 1937 to 1940. In 1940 he was assigned for duty with the 4th Marines at Shanghai, where he served until the outbreak of war with Japan on Dec, 7, 1941.

When the American forces left Shanghai for the Philippines, he participated in battles against the Japs on Bataan and Corregidor. When Corregidor capitulated to the Japanese forces on May 6, 1942, he was taken prisoner.

He was held captive by the Japs at Bilibid prison in Manila from May of 1942 until Oct. 11, 1944, when he was shipped out of Manila on a Japanese prison ship which was sunk by an American submarine about 200 miles off the China coast in South China sea.

During his internment by the Japs his parents received a number of cards from him indicating he was well. However, most information concerning him was received from some of his fellow prisoners who were not shipped to Japan but were liberated by American forces when they retook the Philippines.

He was the acting R-2 on the staff of the 4th Marines for a while before the fall of Corregidor.

The ship he was aboard was the Arisan Maru, which was sunk by USS Shark (SS 314) or USS Snook (SS 279) on September 7, 1944.

He has a memory marker in Indiana. Robert's parents were listed as next of kin; he was also survived by his older brother Mox, younger sister Pauline, and younger brother John.

Prisoner of War Medal

From Hall of Valor:

First Lieutenant Robert F. Ruge (MCSN: 0-5565), United States Marine Corps, was captured by the Japanese after the fall of Corregidor, Philippine Islands, on 6 May 1942, and was held as a Prisoner of War until his death while still in captivity.

General Orders: NARA Database: Records of World War II Prisoners of War, created, 1942 - 1947
Action Date: May 6, 1942 - Died in Captivity
Service: Marine Corps
Rank: First Lieutenant
Division: Prisoner of War (Philippine Islands)

Memorial Hall Error

Multiple other sources list him as a Major, as does his memorial marker. His Prisoner of War medal and Memorial Hall have 1st Lieutenant. In the Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps of 1944 he is listed as a Captain with date of rank from February 2, 1942. The Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps of 1945 lists his date of death and his rank as Captain. A newspaper report from February 1945 — in which his mother is holding out hope for his safe return — he referred to as Major. His mother's obituary gives his title as Major.

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

September 1937

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Others at this command: 2LT Robert Moore '36, 2LT Alben Robertson '37, 2LT James Bromeyer '37, and 2LT Radford West '37.

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: CDR Walter Webster '11 (Naval Aircraft Factory), LT John Welch '23 (Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), LT Thomas Fraser '24 (Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), and LTjg Dudley Morton '30 (Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).

January 1938

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Others at this command: 2LT Alben Robertson '37, 2LT James Bromeyer '37, and 2LT Radford West '37.

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: CDR Walter Webster '11 (Naval Aircraft Factory), LT John Welch '23 (Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), and LT Dudley Morton '30 (Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).

July 1938

2nd Lieutenant, USS Reina Mercedes

January 1939

2nd Lieutenant, USS Reina Mercedes

October 1939

2nd Lieutenant, USS Reina Mercedes

November 1940

2nd Lieutenant, Company B, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, China

Others at this command: CAPT Harry Lang '29, 2LT Hugh Tistadt, Jr. '39, 2LT John Fantone '39, 2LT Ralph Mann, Jr. '39, and 2LT William Harris '39.

April 1941

1st Lieutenant, Company B, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, China

Others at this command: CAPT Harry Lang '29, 2LT Hugh Tistadt, Jr. '39, 2LT John Fantone '39, 2LT Ralph Mann, Jr. '39, and 2LT William Harris '39.


Class of 1937

Robert is one of 45 members of the Class of 1937 on Virtual Memorial Hall.