Wednesday, April 15, 2020

52 Ancestors - AIR: Planes on Deck

I never knew my grandmother’s older brother Ray Rucker. But a box of photos he left behind when he took his own life in 1927 shows he lived an eventful 28 years.
Ray Rucker 1899-1927
Ray Ellsworth Rucker
Shenandoah, VA
He was a sailor for a time serving on the USS Colorado, a recently commissioned Maryland class super dreadnought, in other words a big-gun battleship. He must have been among the first crewmen.
USS Colorado with Corsair seaplanes
The ship carried Corsair float planes on catapult rails, two on the after deck and one on top of the gun turret.

Sea plane being catapulted off the ship

Sailor walking on the wings of the float plane
The Corsair float planes were used for reconnaissance and to adjust fire for the ship’s big guns

Among the photos Ray saved are these of bomber planes. They are just small professionally produced photo cards about 1.5” x 2”.

Unfortunately, Ray did not live to see the Colorado and the Corsair aircraft in their mission to find Amelia Earhart. Wouldn't that have been a story to tell!

Amy Johnson Crow continues to challenge genealogy bloggers and non-bloggers alike to think about our ancestors and share a story or photo about them. The challenge is “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

© 2020, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. Thanks for sharing your great-uncle’s story. I enjoyed the photos. It must have been something to be on such a ship! It is sad that he committed suicide and that his life must be summed up by the contents of a box. You honor him by sharing his story and I thank you. ✌šŸ»

  2. Sad he died so tragically young. Sad for whatever reason he felt he could not continue living. What marvels he would have seen with aircraft had he lived a longer life indeed!


  3. My grandfather was quite a fan of planes. I'm hoping to blog about that this week.