Ship christened Saturday honors WWII commander

Posted June 05, 2010, at 3:25 p.m.

BATH, Maine — The second warship to bear the name of a Navy commander credited with success during a pivotal battle in the Pacific in World War II has been christened in Maine.

The 9,200-ton Aegis destroyer bears the name of Raymond Spruance (SPROO’-untz), who commanded a battle group with two of three U.S. aircraft carriers whose warplanes sank four Japanese carriers at the Battle of Midway, hailed as the turning point in World War II in the Pacific.

Hundreds watched and the rain held up as granddaughter Ellen Spruance Holscher christened the ship with a bottle of champagne Saturday. Her two daughters also participated.

Spruance commanded the Pacific Fleet from 1945 to 1946. The first ship bearing his name was the lead ship in the Spruance-class of destroyers, built in the 1970s.