The date was June 30, 1946. A full year had nearly passed since World War II ended and global peace prevailed once again.
The Linn family was celebrating a birthday, Ray Linn’s 18th, to be exact. A few short months after that birthday party and his graduation from Zanesville, Ohio high school, Ray joined the navy.
Ray was born in Adamsville, Ohio in 1928. There wasn’t much opportunity for a young man in the community in 1946, so that’s why he enlisted in the navy, leaving Ohio on September 26, 1946.
Ray moved around a lot and his military career blossomed. He moved through the ranks easily and made it to Communications Technician Chief Petty Officer. His career reached a turning point in 1966 when he passed the 20 year mark and was eligible to retire. His daughter, Joy Linn Evans, talks about the plans they had when he finally retired in July of 1967. She suggested that Dad liked Florida, so the two of them made plans to move there when his navy days were behind him.
That was not to happen. Ray’s life was ended when a torpedo ripped into the USS LIBERTY’s starboard side killing him and many of his shipmates instantaneously.
Joy remembers December of 1967 when a purple heart, for fatal wounds received and the national defense service ribbon, with a bronze star, was presented to her.
Joy remembers, too, that her father had an incredible sense of humor. In a letter he sent to Joy, she remembers him commenting about the rough seas they encountered once with wave swells approaching 30 feet. The rolling was so intense, he sometimes thought they would just roll completely over, but that wasn’t to happen.
He started a rumor that spread quickly throughout the ship. LIBERTY was lost at sea and had been reported missing for two days and couldn’t be found. Most of the crew believed his story…the one person who didn’t find the rumor “humorous” was the skipper, Captain McGonagle, who quickly created a different scenario.
After 21 years in the Navy, he was making his last trip. He planned to move to Florida to purchase a Dairy Queen and make a home for himself and his daughter, Joy.
In April of 1969, the BEQ (Batchelor Enlisted Quarters) at The United States Naval Security Group Activity, Hakata, Japan was renamed the LINN BEQ.
In February of 1978, The United States Naval Security Group Operations Building at Sugar Grove, West Virginia, was renamed the Raymond Eugene Linn Operations Center.