Raymond Wellington Alexander was born in Timberville, Virginia, on 24 November 1914, son of John M. and Minnie I. (Crist) Alexander. He attended the University of Maryland for a year before entering the US Naval Academy, on appointment from his native state in July 1934. Graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science on 2 June 1938, he was commissioned Ensign in the US Navy from that date, and subsequently advanced to the rank of Captain, to date from 1 July 1956.
After graduation from the Naval Academy in June 1938, he served for two years as a junior officer on board USS New Mexico, operating with Battleship Division 3, Battle Force. From August 1940 until September 1941 he was Engineer Officer of USS Decatur, Flagship of Destroyer Squadron 27, Patrol Force, and upon detachment was ordered to the Submarine School, New London, Connecticut. There he was a student until December 1941.
After the outbreak of World War II in December 1941 he as ordered to USS 0-10, and had duty until June 1942 as Gunnery Officer 2nd First Lieutenant of that submarine, based at New London. He next served for a year as Executive Officer and Navigator of USS R-5, and during the period August 1943 to December 1944 had similar duty on board USS Perch (SS-313). In the latter submarine he participated in the capture and occupation of Saipan, in the Marianas operation, Pacific Area.
From December 1944 until March 1945 he served as Officer in Charge of the Attack Teacher and Relief Crew 5, and for a month was Prospective Commanding Officer of USS Kraken (SS-370). Attached to Submarine Division 262, as a Prospective Commanding Officer, until August of that year, he assumed command on 22 August, of USS Brill (SS-330) which had just completed combat operations in the Pacific and refit at Freemantle, Australia. She was assigned to the Active Pacific Fleet until his detachment in April 1946, and was based at Pearl Harbor until her scheduled overhaul in San Diego, California, on 1 May 1946.
A tour of shore duty as Executive Officer of Sub Group ONE, New London Group of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet preceded his next command, that of USS Toro (SS-422) from June 1947 until July 1949. He was then ordered to the Navy Department, Washington, DC, where he served for three years in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OP-421C). In July 1952 he reported to the Staff of Commander Submarines, Pacific, for duty as Plans Officer. Two years later he assumed command of Submarine Division 11, and remained in that command until June 1955.
From August 1955 until June 1957 he was a student at the Naval War College, Newport Rhode Island, after which for two years he served as Naval Reserve Coordinator on the Staff of Commander Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet. In June 1959 he took command of USS Howard W. Gilmore (AS-16), a submarine tender of the Atlantic Fleet. He next received orders of 20 May 1960, to the Office of Information, Navy Department, Washington, DC, where for two years he served as Deputy Chief of Information.
In August 1962 he reported for instruction at the National War College, Washington, DC, and upon graduation in June 1963 assumed command of Submarine Squadron FOUR. In April 1964 he was assigned to the Net Evaluation Sub-Committee, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, DC.
Captain Alexander had the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp; National Defense Service Medal; and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon.