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Ramage started his career in the US Navy aboard the Enterprise [Annotator's Note: USS Enterprise, (CV6)]. The non- aviators in the Navy at the time recommended against getting into aviation because they believed that it was only a novelty and would only be used for scouting. Ramage decided to apply to the US Naval Academy after Admiral Byrd [Annotator's Note: Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd] gave a speech in his hometown. Ramage was impressed with Byrd. Ramage and his father set out to get Ramage into the Academy [Annotator's Note: The US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD]. Ramage's father owned a Chrysler franchise as well as a farm . The family lost the farm during the Depression. Ramage liked the Academy. He saw himself and his fellow aviation enthusiasts as misfits. He also had no "grease" which was the name for aptitude for the service. Ramage lacked grease. He and two fellow classmates, Blackie Weinel [Annotator's Note: Admiral John P. Weinel] and Means Johnston [Annptator's Note: Admiral Means Johnston, Jr.], both of which retired with 4 stars [Annotator's Note: the rank of Full Admiral], were at the bottom of the class. Ramage always wanted to fly. When he reported aboard the Enterprise he knew that flying is what he wanted most. Before getting into flight school he had to spend 2 years on board ship as a black shoe [Annotator's Note: an officer who is a non-aviator]. Ramage was angry about not being able to fly and the closest he could get to flying at this time was befriending the pilots in the air groups like Wade McClusky [Annotator's Note: Rear Admiral Clarence Wade McClusky], Robin Lindsey [Annotator's Note: Commander Robin M. Lindsey], and Jimmie Daniels [Annotator's Note: Captain James G. Daniels, III], and many others. Ramage finally got his wish and went to flight school and after completing his training was able to get assigned to the air group aboard the Enterprise. He believes that John Crommelin [Annotator's Note: Rear Admiral John G. Crommelin] was the greatest leader he had ever known. Crommelin was the air boss [Annotator's Note: the commander of an aircraft carrier's flight group] when Ramage reported aboard the Enterprise and rose to become the Exec. [Annotator's Note: Executive Officer or second in command of a unit]. Ramage graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1939 and reported aboard the Enterprise. After his mandatory 2 year tour was up, he was assigned to flight school in Pensacola [Annotator's Note: US Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida] in September 1941. His actual flight training began on 1 November and he got his wings in the beginning of March [Annotator's Note: March 1942]. The fleet had gone to Pearl Harbor in 1940. The Enterprise had gone in 1939. This was done because of an expected war with Japan in the Pacific. Another change made was--the awarding to Congress an extra appointment to the US Naval Academy. It was 1 of these additional appointments that enabled Ramage to get into the academy in 1935. Ramage believes that Franklin Roosevelt knew at that time that war with Japan was coming. Ramage was shocked when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor but not surprised. For the 1st 5 or 6 months there was little information about what was going on in the Pacific. The US was not doing much during that time and was being beaten. Ramage was at Pearl Harbor when the Battle of Midway began.
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