Raymond John Tennant

1920 - 2015

Korean WarWWII

Their Story

Raymond John Tennant was born on January 5, 1920, in Beverly (Lynn County), Iowa to William and Susie (Hayworth) Tennant.[1] He graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs Iowa. Tennant joined the US Navy in 1941 and completed flight training in Texas in 1942. He married wife Catherine (Quinn) on June 26, 1943, while serving as a pilot in the U.S. Navy.[2]

On June 12, 1943, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Tennant was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with four clusters, while stationed on the U.S.S. Bogue (CVE-9), for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight.[3] Tennant was pilot of a plane of Navy Composite Squadron Nine (VC-9) that depth charged and sank a German submarine without damage to the Allied forces. He accurately strafed the enemy submarine so that effective anti-aircraft fire was prevented. The crew of the submarine was rescued and captured by the Allies.

Raymond J. Tennant, U.S. Navy (photo courtesy FindAGrave.com)

The Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) is a prominent military decoration of the United States Armed Forces.[4] The medal is awarded to any persons who distinguish themselves by single acts of heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight. Both heroism and extraordinary achievement are entirely distinctive, involving operations that are not routine.

In April 1944, having reached the rank of Lieutenant, Tenant received the Bronze Star for acts of bravery while stationed on the U.S.S. Enterprise.[5] The Bronze Star Medal (BSM) is a United States Armed Forces decoration awarded for either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone.[6]

Raymond J. Tennant (photo courtesy The Dispatch)

Tennant continued to serve as the night-time land signal officer on the U.S.S. Enterprise until the end of World War II.[7] In 1947, he was assigned to the British Navy at Malta to train the British Navy and U.S. Navy on U.S. Navy Landing protocols and techniques for aircraft carriers.[8] He then served on the U.S.S. Bon Homme Richard (CV-31) during the Korean War.[9] His final assignment was at the Bureau of Naval Weapons in Washington D.C.as oversight of numerous naval contracts with U.S. manufacturers. He remained there until his retirement from the Navy in 1962.[10]

During his service in the U.S. Navy, Tennant also earned the American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, American Defense Service Medal.[11]

After completing over 20 years of military service, Tennant returned to Iowa and finished his undergraduate degree at Parsons College in 1963.[12] The next year he received his master’s degree from North East Missouri State University. He then taught and coached high school in Ottumwa, Iowa, where he also became the athletic director. He moved on to teaching and coaching jobs in Nebraska and Mason City, Iowa, before becoming a youth recreation director in Kansas City, Kansas, until his retirement in 1985.[13]

Tenant and his wife relocated to Silvis, Illinois to be with family until her death in 2012.[14] They were married 68 years and had had four children, seven grandsons and twelve great-grandchildren. Raymond Tenant passed away while in hospice care on April 20, 2015, at the age of 95. He was interred in burial at the National Cemetery at Rock Island Arsenal on May 1, 2015.


[1] The Dispatch

[2] The Dispatch

[3] Traces of War

[4] U.S. Naval History

[5] The Dispatch

[6] What is a Bronze Star?

[7] Fold3.com

[8] Find a grave memorial

[9] Traces of War

[10] The Dispatch

[11] Fold3.com

[12] The Dispatch

[13] Fold3.com

[14] The Dispatch