- Associated Press - Saturday, November 19, 2016

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City woman is the sponsor of a new U.S. Coast Guard ship named for her late uncle, who was killed in 1945 defending his ship from attack.

As the sponsor, Donna Fuller was tapped Saturday to give a short speech prior to the commissioning of the USCGC Rollin Fritch, 154-foot fast-response cutter, at Cape May, New Jersey, the Sioux City Journal reported (https://bit.ly/2g69VUX ).

On Jan. 8, 1945, Rollin Fritch was aboard the USS Callaway off the coast of Luzon in the Philippines when it was attacked by Japanese kamikaze pilots. A member of a gun crew, Fritch stayed at his gun, firing at airplanes in an effort to save his shipmates when a kamikaze crashed into his position, killing him at age 24. Fritch was posthumously awarded a Silver Star.

Fuller said Coast Guard representatives contacted her about two years ago to tell her that the ship had been named in her uncle’s honor.

“Out of the blue came the news that my uncle’s name was chosen as a hero from World War II,” Fuller recalled. “I was completely bowled over. I’m still flabbergasted.”

Fuller had done extensive research of her family’s genealogy and her uncle’s service history, and was able to give information to the Coast Guard about her late uncle, who was born in Blue Rapids, Kansas. Fritch moved with his family to rural Pawnee City, Nebraska, as a child, then to Sioux City to work in a meatpacking plant.

He enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1942, in Omaha, Nebraska.


Information from: Sioux City Journal, https://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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