Raby was appointed a midshipman on September 9, 1891. Commissioned as an ensign on July 1, 1895, he advanced rapidly in rank, becoming commander on July 1, 1914, Captain on November 23, 1919, and Rear Admiral on November 1, 1927.
In 1912, he commanded the battleship USS Oregon (BB-3) with additional duty as Commander of the port of Apra, Guam. During World War 1, took out the first merchant convoy under American escort during the war. He received the Navy Cross for convoy escort duty while commanding USS Albany (CL-23) and later USS Missouri (BB-11). He held a commission as Air Pilot and often flew his own plane.
After various assignments in Washington, D.C., in 1922 Raby became Commandant of the Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, until 1926, and later of the 8th Naval District. In 1931, he became Commandant of the 6th Naval District with additional duty as Commandant of the Charleston Navy Yard, Charleston, South Carolina. In January 1934, he was transferred from command of the Sixth Naval District, to San Francisco, where he was scheduled to assume command of the 12th Naval District on 1 February.
He died near Midway, Georgia, approximately 30 miles south of Savannah, in a traffic accident on January 15th, 1934, when the car in which he was riding turned over in attempting to pass another. He was 59 years old.. He is buried at Arlington Natioal Cemetery, Section 6, Site 9629. His wife, Jane Callaghan Raby, sustained major injuries but survived, and died in 1957. She is buried in the same plot as Admiral Raby.
REAR ADMIRAL JJ RABY