Giving Back

Ray Schramm a Long Time Springfield Resident and Veteran of Two Wars

Ray in Navy Credits: Chip Dickson
Ray and Ziad Credits: Chip Dickson
Veteran of Two Wars Credits: Chip Dickson
Ray and his Brothers in Uniform Credits: Chip Dickson
Distinguished Service Medal Credits: Chip Dickson
Other Medals and Stripes Credits: Chip Dickson

SPRINGFIELD, NJ – Recently, due to a kind introduction by Township Administrator Ziad Shehady, I was fortunate enough to spend an hour with Ray Schramm.  He greeted me with a nice smile and a strong handshake.  While most of the short time was spent talking about his World War II experience on the USS Texas, thoughts about how much has happened and changed in his life were always present.

Ray Schramm has lived in Springfield for most of his 94 years.  His is a life that reaches back to the Roaring Twenties, felt the hardship of the Great Depression, and was greatly affected by World War II.  Like most young men of that time he signed up for military duty.   Unlike most young men of the time, during World War II, Ray saw combat in both Europe and the Pacific.  He is a veteran of two wars.

Before and after World War II, Ray has spent almost all his life in Springfield.  He was born in Summit, NJ on August 26, 1922.  Two days later he was moved to Springfield, NJ.  His current house is next door to a house where he grew up.  His first home was on what is now Rose Ave.  In those days, much of the area was a farm.  His dad worked for Westinghouse and he was one of six children.  There were three boys and three girls. He still talks to his 92 year old younger brother. 

Sign Up for E-News

Growing up, he attended kindergarten thru eighth grade at James Caldwell School, which was then just the first floor annex.  He attended Jonathan Dayton High School where he was a member of the track team, the basketball team and the band.  On the track team he did the pole vault and high jump.  On the basketball team he was a forward and will tell you he was tall for the times.  For the band, he played the clarinet and tenor sax.  During his senior year he was the Student Leader of the band.  Most of his time in the Springfield school system was during the Great Depression, which he remembers as “hard times”.

In 1942, he joined the Navy just as his brothers did.  For the first seven months of duty he was part of a ship’s company and played in a band.  Then he was assigned to the Texas and served on it for two years.  He was a leading Petty Officer and often stood watch in the crow’s nest.  During those two years of duty, the ship was involved in five major battles.  Three of the battles were in the Atlantic and two were in the Pacific.

The three battles in the Atlantic were the D-Day Normandy Invasion, the Battle of Cherbourg and Operation Dragoon.  The D-Day Invasion of Normandy is the most famous of the three and the Texas was one of 1,213 warships involved.  A well kept secret, the crew did not know about the invasion until the channel was crossed.  Prior to the D-Day Invasion, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower addressed the crew of the Texas.  Later Ray Schramm would play in a band for the General.

During the invasion, the Texas fired on Nazi positions supporting the troop landings on Omaha Beach.  One of the sites targeted was Pointe du Hoc, which President Reagan spoke of in his speech commemorating the 40th Anniversary of D-Day (link below).

The Battle of Cherbourg was part of the Normandy Invasion and it took place after the allied landings.  The battle was the only time in combat the Texas experienced a combat fatality.  It was hit by two Nazi shells, of which only one exploded.  The one that did explode hit the pilot house and wrecked it.  Of the eleven injured, one died.  After getting fixed up in Plymouth, England the Texas went on to Operation Dragoon, which involved an invasion of Southern France.  That invasion ended up being easier than expected.

After getting fully repaired in New York, the Texas set sail for the Pacific in November 1944.  The two battles in the Pacific were the Battle of Iwo Jima and the Battle of Okinawa.  While the only fatality the Texas experience happened in the Atlantic, the worst attacks on the Texas according to Mr. Schramm came from Kamikazes in battles in Pacific.  He estimated there were 125 a day for two weeks.

For the Battle of Iwo Jima, the Texas arrived three days before amphibious landings were scheduled and spent those days bombarding Japanese positions.  During the Marine landings of the island, the Texas responsibility shifted to supporting the Marines with “On-call fire”.  Mr. Schramm remembers seeing the U.S. flag raising on Iwo Jima memorialized in a picture by Joseph Rosenthal.

The last battle of World War II for the Texas was called Operation Iceberg, or the Battle of Okinawa.  As it was done for Iwo Jima, the Texas initial role was to prepare the way for battle.  According to Mr. Schramm, that included mine sweeping and the pre-invasion bombardment. After six days, the amphibious landings commenced and once ashore.  The Texas stayed there for almost two months continuing the bombardments.  As part of the battle, the Texas also helped capture the airfields on Ie Shima.  On May 14, 1945, the Texas headed for the Philippines and its end of combat.  Mr. Schramm was headed back home when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

For almost two years, Ray Schramm’s home was the Texas.  He was one of about 1,000 sailors on it.  In his time in the Navy he was part of world changing battles and he saw a great deal of the world.  Aside from the Atlantic Coast of Europe and those Japanese Islands, he saw Iceland, Algeria, the Panama Canal, Argentina, the Philippines and many other places.  Three years ago, he went to reunion for the Texas crew in Houston; 30 of the sailors made it.

Aside from family pictures, he has many items in his house tied to the Texas and the battles he helped fight in World War II.  The Texas is now a National Historic Landmark and owned by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.  It was commissioned on March 12, 1914 and at the time was considered the powerful weapon of the time.  It is the last remaining battleship to have participated in World War I and World War II.

After the war, he got married and raised two daughters.  He also became a toolmaker.  To learn tool making, he went to Bloomfield Tech and Irvington Tech and then worked for Victory Optical out of Newark.  In the late 1980's, he went to China to help set up an optical business.  He traveled to China with two others and spent several weeks there.  They flew to Shanghai and went 100 miles south to where the new facility was based.  Shanghai’s population has tripled since and travel conditions are much better.

One of his hobbies was making models planes and boats.  One is model of the Texas built from scratch.  It is three feet long.  The other is of the USS United States, also built from scratch.  Each model took over two years to complete. 

Mr. Schramm’s life spans a time that includes events and inventions that fill many history books.  When he was growing up, much of Springfield was farm land and the pace of development accelerated after the war.  Route 22 was started in 1926 and I-78 was started in 1957.

The Presidents in office during his life include Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, James Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush, William Jefferson Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.  Next will be Donald Trump. There have also been over 70 different Mayors of Springfield.

He is a member of the American Legion and is a Mason.  The picture of General Eisenhower on the Texas comes USN/USNI.





President Reagan's speech link - ()

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Christopher Rinaldi for Town Council - Leadership, Judgement, Experience

May 17, 2018

My name is Christopher Rinaldi.  As a long-time member of the Republican Party, I am running in the Republican Primary on June 5th for Township Council and Republican Municipal Committee of Berkeley Heights.

As a follow-up to my Candidate Statements from the last two weeks, I would like to share with you a few areas of direct work experience garnered over the past 25 years that I believe ...

Redevelopment: Taking the First Step Together While Protecting Berkeley Heights

Redevelopment. It’s something that takes careful planning, foresight, the ability to negotiate for the most favorable outcome, and, of course, patience. I’m proud to say that we’ve been able to reach all of these milestones. Tomorrow, on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, we as a community will take the first step together in the culmination of these efforts, when the ...

How the Holi Color Festival Came to Summit; Event Planner Shares Her Story

May 21, 2018

Back in India, Holi was a holiday observed by almost all states. The holiday would be declared at all educational institutes and offices. It's a two day spring festival also known as the festival of colors. The festival signifies the victory of good over bad, the arrival of spring with the fragrance of flowers in the air and aura of warmth and happiness.

Holi festival is the time ...

Rain Didn't Dampen Our Vision for Art in the Park

The rain did not dampen our vision for Art in the Park!! Columbia Middle School was transformed into an art paradise, filled with an array of artists whose talents are nothing short of magical! The Peppertown Park Art in the Park Committee would like to thank all of the artists who came to our very first Art in the Park event. We are in awe of your creativity and immeasurable talents! You all ...

Taxes up, Services down.....At least someone is listening

Do you feel as if you are getting good services from the town for what you pay in property taxes? I don’t, and wanted to thank the one Council person who voted NO on this year’s municipal budget which will increase your taxes by more than 3 percent, exceeding the cap.  Thank you, Susan Poage, for listening to taxpayers.

When our Mayor grants raises by executive order ...

Host an International Exchange Student

May 21, 2018

EF High School Exchange Year announces annual search for student exchange host families in communities across the New Jersey

EF High School Exchange Year—a division of EF Education First, the World Leader in International Education—has kicked off its annual nationwide search for caring host families to welcome exchange students into their homes. Last year EF connected over 3,000 ...

Berkeley Heights Community Pool Set to Open May 26!

Tired of the rain and ready for the sun? We sure are! The Berkeley Heights Community Pool at the YMCA is slated to open during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend on May 26! With only one month until summer starts, swimmers can get a headstart jump into the pool during our pre-season opening! 

Join the Berkeley Heights Community Pool at the YMCA today—there are no joining fees, and ...

Mountain Ridge Bible Chapel Presents Special Women’s program


Mountain Ridge Bible Chapel, 763 Mountain Avenue, Berkeley Heights, is very pleased to host a unique free seminar for women on Saturday June 2, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 

The speaker will be Doctor Ruth Schwertfeger of Brookfield, Wisconsin. Ruth was born in Northern Ireland, is a retired Professor at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  She speaks several languages, and ...

Kids Can Change The World

Karen De La Maza is the founder of “Kids Can Change The World”, a program designed to instill humane values in children while developing essential life skills and positive leadership. Karen and her family relocated to NJ from her native Mexico City in 2008 for her husband’s job.

Karen has always had a strong passion for helping people in need. With ten years of experience in ...

Fallout Continues from Lawsuit Against Mountainside; Police Chief on Administrative Leave

May 19, 2018

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – Police Chief Allan Attanasio is the latest member of the police department to suffer repercussions from a complaint filed against the borough on May 11.  Attanasio, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, was “placed on administrative leave,” on Thursday by Borough Administrator and former Police Chief James Debbie, said  Lt. Joseph ...

Video Shows School Board Member In Altercation With Police at Traffic Stop in South Orange

May 16, 2018

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - South Orange Maplewood School Board Member Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad got into an altercation with a South Orange police officer who stopped her for speeding last month, in which she used profanity, complained when she was issued a ticket and called South Orange Police Chief Kyle Kroll “a skinhead cop.”

Lawson-Muhammad also appeared to suggest that she would ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, May 24, 9:30 AM

Junior League of Summit Thrift Shop, Summit

Here Comes Summer! Junior League of Summit Thrift ...

Giving Back Green

Fri, May 25, 9:30 AM

Junior League of Summit Thrift Shop, Summit

Here Comes Summer! Junior League of Summit Thrift ...

Giving Back Green

Sat, May 26, 2:00 PM

New Providence

Memoir Writing Workshops @ NPML

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, May 31, 11:30 AM

Canoe Brook Country Club, Summit

Fortnightly Club Scholarship Luncheon

Food & Drink Giving Back

Thu, May 31, 1:30 PM

Coppola Ristorante, New Providence

Lunch and Learn: Dental Implants and the ...

Health & Wellness


Fri, June 1, 6:00 PM

Senior Center of the Chathams, , Chatham Township

Senior Center of the Chathams Glorious Garden ...

Food & Drink Home & Garden

Don’t Make These Three Mistakes About Social Security

Social Security has been around for decades and it’s not about to disappear. Why? Social Security is not an entitlement ("gift") that can be taken away - it’s a forced savings scheme that Americans pay into in their working years in order to secure a pension for life. Ideally, Social Security should not be your sole source of income in retirement but even comfortable ...