Marion Frederic Ramírez de Arellano

Captain Marion Frederic Ramirez de Arellano (August 5, 1913 – May 15, 1980) was a submarine commander in the United States Navy and the first Hispanic submarine commanding officer.[1][2] He was awarded two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, and a Bronze Star for his actions against the Japanese Imperial Navy during World War II.

Marion Frederic Ramirez de Arellano
De Arellano with awards cropped.jpg
Capt. Marion Frederic Ramirez de Arellano
First Hispanic submarine commanding officer
Birth nameMarion Frederic Ramirez de Arellano Kimerer
Born(1913-08-05)August 5, 1913
Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
DiedMay 15, 1980(1980-05-15) (aged 66)
Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C.
Place of burial
AllegianceUnited States United States of America
Service/branchSeal of the United States Department of the Navy.svg United States Navy
Years of service1935–1961
RankUS-O6 insignia.svg
Commands heldUSS Balao (SS-285)
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsSilver Star (2)
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star with combat "V"

Early yearsEdit

Ramirez de Arellano (birth name: Marion Frederic Ramírez de Arellano Kimerer [note 1]) was born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, to Rafael Ramirez de Arellano and Lucille Josephne Kimerer. 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 the University of Puerto Rico for two years.

U.S. Naval AcademyEdit

Midshipman Ramirez de Arellano on the cover of "The Submarine Forces Diversity Trailblazer"

In 1931, he was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy by Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. who served as Governor of Puerto Rico from 1929 to 1932.[3] 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 Academy in 1935.

Upon his graduation, he was commissioned an Ensign and assigned to the USS Ranger, 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. From 1937 to 1938, he attended Submarine School at Groton, Connecticut.

World War IIEdit

Then-Lt. Ramirez de Arellano (third from the left) posing with his fellow officers during USS Skate's (SS-305) commissioning on April 15, 1943.
USS Balao, October 25, 1944

In 1938, Ramirez de Arellano was assigned as Division Officer of the USS Pickerel, a Porpoise-class submarine. The Pickerel was training near the Philippines when on December 8, 1941 the islands were attacked by Japan. The Pickerel was ordered to patrol the coast of the islands and on her second war patrol she sank the Kanko Maru, a Japanese vessel, in the Gulf of Davao off Mindanao. He 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. For his actions, he was awarded a Silver Star Medal and a Legion of Merit Medal.[4]

After a brief stint at the Navy Yard on Mare Island, he was reassigned to the USS Skate, a Balao class submarine. He participated in the Skate's first three war patrols and was awarded a second Silver Star Medal for his contributions in the sinking the Japanese light cruiser Agano, on his third patrol. The Agano had survived a previous torpedo attack by submarine USS Scamp.

In April 1944, Ramirez de Arellano as named Commanding Officer of the USS Balao, thus becoming the first Hispanic submarine commanding officer.[1] He participated in his ship'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. On December 4, 1944, the Balao departed from Pearl Harbor to patrol in the Yellow Sea. The Balao engaged and sunk the Japanese cargo ship Daigo Maru on January 8, 1945. Ramirez de Arellano was awarded a Bronze Star with Combat V and a Letter of Commendation.[5]

In February 1945, Ramirez de Arellano worked with submarine relief crews in Submarine Division 202 and he served as Commander of Submarine Division 16.

Post-World War IIEdit

In May 1946, Ramirez de Arellano was named Commanding Officer of Submarine Base, Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. With the exception of his other two ship commands, the USS Lindenwald (1952–1954) and of the USS Thomaston (1954–1955), Ramirez de Arellano held various administrative and teaching positions — among them Assistant to War Plans Officer, Caribbean Sea Frontier, 10th Naval District (1947–1949) and in the Department of Languages, U.S/ Naval Academy (1949–1952). 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.


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..


Ramirez de Arellano is described in Rick Riordan's young-adult novel The Blood of Olympus as being a great-great-uncle of the major character Reyna Ramirez-Arellano.[6]

Awards and decorationsEdit

Among Ramirez de Arellano's military decorations were the following:

Ramirez de Arellano, then a commander, receives the Silver Star—the fourth highest decoration given by the U.S. military.
Navy Distinguished Service Medal Silver Star with one gold award star Legion of Merit with Combat "V" Bronze Star with Combat "V"
Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V" American Defense Service Medal with one bronze service star Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal World War II Victory Medal


Further readingEdit

  • "Puertorriquenos Who Served With Guts, Glory, and Honor. Fighting to Defend a Nation Not Completely Their Own"; by : Greg Boudonck; ISBN 1497421837; ISBN 978-1497421837

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ This article uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Ramirez de Arellano and the second or maternal family name is Kimerer.


  1. ^ a b "The Submarine Forces Diversity Trailblazer - Capt. Marion Frederick Ramirez de Arellano"; Summer 2007 Undersea Warfare magazine; pg.31
  2. ^ UNDERSEA WARFARE Magazine article on Capt. Ramirez de Arellano Archived 2009-07-06 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "CAPT Marion Frederic Ramirez de Arellano". USNA graduates of Hispanic descent for the Class of 1911, 1915, 1924, 1927, 1931, 1935, 1939, 1943, 1947. Association of Naval Services Officers. February 27, 2007. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-15.
  4. ^ "Pickerel". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Shiprs. Naval Historical Center, Department of the Navy. Retrieved 2007-03-15.
  5. ^ "Balao". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Naval Historical Center, Department of the Navy. Retrieved 2007-03-15.
  6. ^ Rick Riordan,The Blood of Olympus,p.285.

External linksEdit