Published in The Washington Post on March 4, 2012.
Shannon D. Cramer, Jr., VADM, USN, Ret., 90, formerly of Clemson, SC, passed away at his home in Washington, DC, surrounded by family on February IS, 2012. Shannon was born on September 18, 1921 in Washington, DC to Shannon D. Cramer, Sr, and Mary Hazen Duffy Cramer. He attended Central High School in Washington, DC, where he excelled at football, was named to the National Honor Society and was the President of his graduating class of 1939. He skipped one year in high school and attended Admiral Farragut Academy in Pine Beach, New Jersey to prepare for his entrance to the United States Naval Academy. World War II accelerated the wartime classes including the Class of 1944. Shannon graduated early, after only two years and nine months, on June 9, 1943 and was commissioned an Ensign.
Admiral Cramer served aboard USS LAUB (DD613), USS FURSE (DDR882), USS COCHINO (SS345), USS HALFBEAK (SS352), USS COBBLER (SS344) and USS SIRAGO. He commanded USS SWORDFISH (SSN579), the Gold Crew of USS PATRICK HENRY (SSBN599), Submarine Division 102, Submarine Squadron 15. Admiral Cramer’s other assignments included; aide to the Executive Officer of the Submarine Base, head of the Reserve Training and Ordnance Departments; submarine advisor to the Chief of Naval Reactors Office, Atomic Energy Commission; head of the Material and Submarine Propulsion Sections, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations; deputy director of Operations in the National Military Command Systems, J-3, Joint Chiefs of Staff; and military assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs). He became commander, Submarine Flotilla 6 in May 1970, and in August 1972, he reported as deputy director (strategic) of J-5, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. From August to September 1974, he was deputy director for Plans, Defense Intelligence Agency. Admiral Cramer consolidated and streamlined production elements of the Defense Mapping Agency (OMA). He directed the efficiencies to the growing demands of the services and commands for geographic information. He retired in 1977. Following retirement, he served as the Department of Defense/Joint Chief of Staff representative to the United Nations Law of the Sea Conference from 1978 to 1981. He received the DoD Outstanding Award for Public Service for this assignment. Vice Admiral Cramer was a founder and the first President of the Naval Submarine League. His tenure in that role was from 1981 to 1989. Vice Admiral Cramer was recognized for his outstanding contribution as director of OMA and was inducted into the National Imagery and Mapping Agency Hall of Fame in 2003.
Admiral Cramer’s decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with four gold stars; the American Defense Service Medal; the American Campaign Medal; the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two stars; the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; the Navy Occupation Service Medal; Europe Clasp; the National Defense Service Medal with bronze star. Admiral Cramer was a member of Eternal Shepherd Lutheran Church in Clemson, S.C.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Hugh, spouses Elizabeth (Betts) Stewart Cramer and Marie Ploetz Cramer and son Shannon D. Cramer III. Left to honor Shannon and remember his love are brother Calvin Cramer (Sandra) and children John Cramer (Beverly), Beth Churchya (Dave), Susan Algeo (Michael), Mary Cramer Wagner, Lawrence Ploetz (Denise), Frederick Ploetz (Sandra), Joanne Biery (Tom), Janet Davis (Don), Judi Petersen (Mark) and John Ploetz (Carol) as well as many grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. The family of Admiral Cramer also wants to acknowledge the tender care given to Shannon by his caregiver Rutendo Ried, the staff of Grand Oaks and Capital Care Hospice.