Serving On A Submarine Meant This Navy Vet Didn’t Know WWII Was Ending Until Days Later

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Photo: Roy Christensen USS Raton Submarine
Roy Christensen served aboard the USS Raton submarine in the Pacific Ocean during World War II. The 93-year-old U.S. Navy veteran now lives in Centennial.

By the time the Potsdam Declaration called for the surrender of Japanese armed forces on July 26, 1945, most allied soldiers knew World War II was coming to an end. But that message didn't reach Roy Christensen until days later. That's because he and the rest of the crew on the USS Raton submarine were deep underwater in the Pacific Ocean.

"We were still hunting enemy ships," Christensen said, and the submarine would not receive the coded message with the news until the USS Raton came ashore. "We had an idea something was going on, but we really didn't know anything to celebrate that the Japanese had surrendered."

Christensen would not be discharged until six months after VJ Day. The 93-year-old U.S. Navy veteran now lives at the Holly Creek Retirement Community in Centennial. As part of its series documenting the stories of World War II veterans, Christensen talked to Colorado Matters about serving aboard a submarine and the final days of World War II.