DENVER — It was one of the most dangerous jobs you could have in the United States Navy during World War II, but Roy Christensen liked it. “Yes, I guess I did. I was just a youngster when I signed up.”
He wanted an adventure, “I was looking for more or less thrills and excitement, and I certainly achieved that.”
You can say that again. Christensen served as a torpedo man, third class, aboard the USS Raton. “In World War II all submarines were named after fish,” he said.
A Gato-Class submarine, it was commissioned in 1943. “Our submarine was the submarine that went in and showed itself and got the Japanese to come out and look for us,” Christensen said.
And, it worked. The Raton was credited for 29 Japanese ships sunk, five of them were men of war.
That was then, however, and this is now.
On Saturday the United States Navy will be christening the USS Colorado, a Virginia class attack submarine.
And one very special guest of the Navy will be Roy Christensen. “The new torpedoes now have a kill factor of over 100 miles. I just wanted to see this new technology.”
He will see that, and more. Christensen will be given a full tour, stem to stern.
But in the end, Christensen says it’s his shipmates that made the USS Raton his home. “Every guy on that boat stood behind everybody else’s back. We were so close in it, we were just 65 guys in a big family.”
Thanks for your service, shipmate.
Christensen is a resident of the Holly Creek Retirement Community in Centennial.