A U.S. Navy destroyer received the customary “christening” accorded to all ships – a whack on the hull with a bottle of champagne – during a ceremony on Saturday in at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. The Aegis destroyer was christened by the granddaughter of its namesake, Adm. Raymond Spruance.
Adm. Spruance was the commander of a battle group composed of two aircraft carriers. The efforts of the warplanes in the carriers under his command contributed to the sinking of four Japanese carriers at the Battle of Midway, an event considered as pivotal in the Pacific Theater during the Second World War. The sinking of the Japanese carriers weakened the Japanese navy.
Adm. Spruance eventually served as commander of the Pacific Fleet from 1945 to 1946 and became an ambassador to the Philippines.
In reference to Adm. Spruance’s reputation of being quiet – an autobiography on the admiral written by Thomas Buell was entitled “The Quiet Warrior.” His granddaughter, Ellen Spruance Holscher, commented that her grandfather would have been in awe with all the attention that he was getting. Holscher was the had to give the hull several whacks before the champagne bottle broke. In addition to Holscher, four other grandchildren of the admiral, as well as six of his great-grandchildren, were in attendance during the ceremony.
This is, however, not the first USS Spruance; the other was the lead ship in the Spruance-class of destroyers. This new USS Spruance, on the other hand, makes use of powerful computers and phased-array radar, giving it the ability to concurrently engage in battle with surface warships and subs, as well as aircraft and missiles.
The ceremony coincided with the observance of the 68th anniversary of the Battle of Midway.