Cornelius Herbert Ram

United States Marine Corps
18 July 1931 - 10 January 1971
Jersey City, New Jersey
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The database page for Cornelius Herbert Ram

17 June 2005

With every passing year, I realize what a special man my father was. He has always been my hero; now he has a bevy of grandchildren who are coming to know and love him as well. Daddy: you're up to 8!

He loved children, having six of his own, and he loved taking people under his wing. There was no challenge or previous failure that would discourage him from bringing out the very best in people. He planned to get his Ph.D after retiring to counsel inner city children. There are too many anecdotes to recount - but everyone who knew him well sums him up as a Marine's Marine.

Every day I wish I had had the time to know him better; I wish my daughter could have known him. She is just now at the age I was when my father died. She already demonstrates a generosity of spirit and many of the fine qualities of character that would have made him proud. I can only hope that I would have made him proud: it is in the forefront of my mind almost every day.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy. I love you, Linda

Linda S. Ram

28 July 2005

Grace gives the grandfather she never knew a hug.

I am attaching a picture of my daughter giving my father a "hug". This is one of my most treasured pictures of her childhood.

I took Grace to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. when she was four, back in 1995. When I pointed to the panel with my father's name she ran over before I had a chance to explain where his name was (it was very high on the panel and she couldn't even reach it after they brought a ladder) and both hugged and kissed the Wall. When I explained that it wasn't just "Grandpa's panel", and what all those other names meant, she gave the Wall another hug - for all the servicemen sharing the panel with her grandfather who didn't happen to have family there at that particular moment.

Much later Grace wrote a poem to me for Mother's Day - it is really a tribute to all the sons and daughters of fallen soldiers:

Purple Heart

My Grandpa was a major in the Marines
He died saving two young men
They gave our family his Purple Heart
Now as I hold it in my hand
I feel the pain
I feel the pain that my mother must have felt
She was only fourteen
Holding this Purple Heart
It's like holding a moment
Holding a memory
I hear stories of my Grandpa
He was a noble, kind man
He loved all and was willing to fight for what he believed in
Losing her father so young
Really impacted her life
He was in the Marines since she could remember
He wasn't home all that often
But when he was,
She was happy
I put down the Purple Heart and left the room
My mom entered
I poked my head around the corner
I saw her pick up my Grandpa's Purple Heart
She held it so gently in her hands
A tear rolled down her cheek
Then she smiled
That smile was a smile I had never seen before
She was looking at the Purple Heart as if it were her father
As if he were with her right then, that moment
As if she were able to be with her daddy again

- Grace Kohut -

Linda S. Ram

04 Aug 2005

My Father was an excellent Father and Marine. As a scientist, I take great pleasure in telling jokes to keep me sane in this place where "Semper Fi" is uncommon to most. I credit him with encouraging me to count quickly (which now comes in very handy yet not as rapidly). To watch the horse races on Fridays in North Carolina when I was 6 years old we had learn to count: naturally in pennies. Now, the counting that I am really referring to is recognizing those who count.

My Father was also an entertainer - the best memory was line dancing around the house while he marched us around the house playing "Hello, Dolly" on his banjo!

I know that no one can match his eyes, smile and spirit. For that I am not sad (okay, yes I am), but grateful to have had him at all.

I love and miss him (plus your athletic cracklin' ankles which I have now:-)

Peace, My Dear Father, and See You and Mom Again!
Your Loving Daughter Mary

Mary Kathleen Ram
4 Ames St, Salem, Ma. 01970

10 Nov 2007

One of my warmest memories of Corky was that he had no problem with hiring the handicapped - which in the Marine Corps meant folks like me who had spent time in the dreaded Physical Training Unit (PTU) at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.

PTU was composed of physical misfits - the too fat, the too skinny and the too weak. The Marine Corps in its wisdom applied the same regimen to this odd collection of recruits, and magically the fat became slim, the skinny bulked up, and the weak became strong.

I ended up in PTU in 1963 after a six week stint in the hospital for pneumonia and probably because while I received a varsity sports letter in high school it was for membership on the debate team, not exactly the best way to prepare for boot camp.

PTU was the mark of Cain in Marine infantry companies - no one really wanted PTU slugs in their outfit. Not Corky - he figured anyone who survived PTU would make for an extraordinary grunt, which is one of the reasons I became his radio operator in 1/5 at Camp Pendleton in 1964.

I was not the only PTU graduate selected by Corky - he went out of his way to seed his unit with young Marines who had survived that particular trial, an endorsement and a morale boost I will never forget.

Corky took real good care of his Marines - one day I was hitchhiking off Camp Pendleton, when Corky stopped to give me a ride, and brought me home for dinner and to the warmth of his family. Corky was never a part-time Marine.

To this day I remember reading about Corky's death in 1971, and when the Vietnam Memorial was dedicated 25 years ago, made a special visit to his spot on the Wall.

Five years later, my pal Lew Puller Jr. and I were planning a joint Veterans Day visit to The Wall, and I asked Lew who he planned to say hello to. He ran through a list of names, including that of Corky - who had been his Basic School weapons instructor.

Thanks to Lew I was able to connect with the Ram family - Lew did a television show in connection with his autobiography "Fortunate Son" and after the show, Corky's eldest daughter, Linda, called to connect with Lew, who had included Corky in his roll call of the fallen in "Fortunate Son".

Lew and I talked about getting together for dinner - it never happened, as Lew decided to check himself out in May, 1994. I did meet Linda at Lew's funeral at Arlington ... as the daughter of a Marine, she lives "Semper Fidelis" and showed up to honor a man she never met.

Since then the Ram family and my memories of Corky have become part of my life, especially over Veterans Day weekend. Today - November 10, 2007 - marks the 227 anniversary of the founding of the Marine Corps and tomorrow is Veterans Day, the 25th anniversary of the dedication of the Wall.

Tomorrow I'll be at The Wall and will read Lew's roll call from "Fortunate Son", and remember Corky as the Marine who taught me, indulged me and touched my soul.

From his radio operator, 1/5,
Bob Brewin
November 10, 2007
2004 8th Street, Las Vegas, New Mexico 87701

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The 5th Marines' Command Chronology for January 1971 contains the following entry:
"On 10 January Major Ram (2/5 XO) and Captain Ford (E Co., CO), while attempting to aid two wounded Marines, were killed by 60mm surprise firing device."
There's a bit more to the story. Major Ram, Executive Officer of 2/5 Marines, and Captain Ford (of Glen Rock, NJ), Commanding Officer of Echo Company, were overhead in a command helicopter when they spotted the wounded Marines in the open and in the path of on-coming enemy troops. The helicopter pilot, convinced the open area was mined, refused to land in the vicinity of the wounded Marines and instead put down at a distance. Major Ram and Captain Ford exited the helicopter and began across the open area toward the wounded men. The pilot was right - the area was mined, and both Major Ram and Captain Ford died as a result. At least one of the two wounded Marines survived; he visited the Ram family several years later and described the circumstances.

Cornelius H. Ram was graduated from Jersey City High School in 1950 and enlisted in the Navy on February 12, 1951. Married to Lorraine Teresa Shine in September 1954, he had six children. After receiving a B.A. degree from Springfield College, he returned to active duty with the Marines in February 1958. Major Ram served a tour in Vietnam in 1965/1966 and was subsequently assigned as an NROTC instructor at Duke University, where he earned a Master's degree.

Mrs. Ram passed away on 31 Aug 1984. Major Ram's eldest son Mark also served in the Marines; he died in 1989.

Major Ram's personal decorations for valor and duty include the Legion of Merit with Combat "V", three awards of the Bronze Star with Combat "V", two Purple Hearts, and the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his daughter and eldest child,
Linda S. Ram

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 26 Jul 2005
Last updated 12/02/2007