Salute to USS Ray



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USS Ray SS-271, SSR 271

Photo thanks to OD "Coyote" Carlson STCM(SS) USN (ret), Plank Owner USS Ray II SSN-653

Specifications for USS Ray SS-271
Built by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company, Manitowoc, WI

Class: GATO
Displacement: Submerged:  2370 tons
Surfaced: 1475 tons
Length 307 ft
Beam 27'
Speed Surface: 20 Knots
Submerged: 8.75 knots
Test Depth 300 feet
Armament 3 inch 50 cal gun
6 - 21 inch Torpedo Tubes  Forward
4 - 21 Inch Torpedo Tubes  Aft
Crew 6 Officers
54 Enlisted Men

(Diesel Boats Forever!

The first submarine to carry the name USS Ray.
USS Ray (SS-271) --- (1943-1958)

Keel laid 20 July 42
Launched 28 Feb 43
Commissioned 27 Jul 43
Decommissioned 12 Feb 47
Reclassified SSR-271 2 Jan 51
ReCommissioned 13 Aug 52
Decommissioned 30 Sep 58
Struck 1 Apr 60
Sold 25 Nov 60
Broken Up 1960

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Ships patch from the USS Ray.


Great contributions from Brad Fox, nephew of WWII shipmate Carl "Pappy" Letvin.
"Pappy" Letvin went on his Final Patrol in 1966.  These items were found in his personal effects.

Click on the item to view it...

Official photograph of the launching. (sideways launch)
Sub School New London, Report Card
Unidentified Officers and Chief with Battle Flag 
Cartoon.  Crew Muster 6th War patrol   SEE NOTE:
Painting, Ray Action WWII Battle Scene
Signature Block for Ray Action painting

Note:  Due to the fine line details of this excellent crew cartoon, it was necessary to scan at high resolution.  The file is very large. (300K plus)  It will take a long time to load, but it is certainly worth the wait.

USS Ray I Commissioning Photo

A church in Kyoto, Japan calls its congregation to worship with a bell from a submarine. The bell, from the submarine USS RAY was purchased for the church, and was transported to Yokosuka, Japan by another submarine, the USS RONQUIL.

This information was taken from "Little Know Facts About Submarines" on Judd Spitzers home page. Judd's U S Naval Submarine's.

Battle Flag from USS Ray (SS-271)
provided by Tom Armstrong

Explanation of symbols on battle flag by ST1(SS) John Jones
List of ships sunk with tonnage and location
Info from 1949 USNI Book, Submarine Operations of W.W.II
Book provided by John Swiney, fmr Cpl USMC

Be sure to visit the USS Ray page on Subnet. star.gif (115 bytes)
The Subnet site has a lengthy write up of the USS Ray's history.

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Photo from Subnet site

Rescued Downed Aviators, a series of articles by QM2(SS) Joe Welsh, SS-271.

Read Joe's stories here.

Joe Welsh served on USS Ray (SS271) during WWII.  On this page, Joe relates stories of the rescue of downed aviators.   This information will also be used by the Submarine Lifeguard League Memorial web site at

Photograph Taken in 1946 when USS Ray was in New London operating as a 'School Boat".
Click Photo for larger view.

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Text of the Email received from MM(SS) Turner

"The Ray PIC should have three crewmen left to right Shirly Turner (me) The one in the middle is a chief motor Mac.... I forgot his name.  The one on the left is Clyde Guy from Kingsport Tenn.  We got back in Oct. 45 After a series of 30 day leaves we starting operating as a school boat.  Now that was real duty, every night and every weekend off, just like having a 9 to 5 job.  Sorry the PIC isn't of better quality, it was from a 2x3 snapshot that is 54yrs old." 

Click  [HERE]  to see text.  (in graphic format)

The text is from THE HISTORY OF A FIGHTING SHIP.  It was written by 
Rear Admiral William T. Kinsella, U.S..Navy(Retired) in 1983. It is from his
journal as he remembered the events while he was skipper of USS Ray.

Click star  star.gif (115 bytes)   to view a Launch Day Postal Cover
For more information about Postal Covers, please visit the USCS page at WWW.USCS.ORG

Devil Ray!
taken from the 271 boat's battle flag

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In 1988, QM2(SS)  Karl H. Betz painted the centerpiece from the 271 Ray's battle flag into the weapons shipping hatch of the SSN 653, USS Ray.  "As far as I (Karl) know, it remained there until decommissioning.  I know it was still there in September of 1989 when I left.   Here is a copy of a Polaroid taken when the painting was completed."

Photograph and narrative provided by the artist, QM2(SS) Karl H. Betz. 

The traditions and memories of the 271 boat carried over to the 653 crew!

Click [HERE] to see a very well used SSR-271 Zippo Lighter. 
Lighter provided by Tom Armstrong.

Be sure to stop by   to visit Don Gentry's USS Ray page.  Good photographs, good content.  Don was a crewmenber on Ray 653.   

Click [HERE] to see the USS Ray SS/SSR-271 page at
More great USS Ray photographs..

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Return to the USS Ray page.....
Ver: 18 Jan 2006