NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — On December 7th, 1941, thousands of Americans were killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor as 360 Japanese warplanes descended on the United States naval base, including 1,177 men and one woman aboard the U.S.S. Arizona.
Now, General Dynamics Electric Boat in Quonset is honoring the lives lost 81 years ago by announcing that a new submarine, will once again carry the name “Arizona.”
The ship’s sponsor is Nikki Stratton, the granddaughter of a survivor aboard the original U.S.S. Arizona.
“I only wish my grandfather were alive today to see this,” she said.
More than half of Donald Stratton’s body was badly burned from those bombings. He re-enlisted after just two years, returning to fight in campaigns in New Guinea, the Philippines and the Battle of Okinawa.
“My grandfather lived by the mantra, ‘Remember Arizona,’ every single day, every single hour, every single minute,” Stratton said. “She will strike fear into the hearts of our enemies and those who threaten to take our freedoms that we enjoy away.”
As construction begins on the 460-foot 10-ton nuclear-powered submarine, Electric Boat President Kevin Graney is thanking all of the men and women who served to defend this nation’s freedom.
“To be responsible to bring the next U.S.S Arizona back to life, its something every shipbuilder at Electric Boat is completely honored,” he said. “You don’t feel worthy some days … based on what they sacrificed the portion of their lives they gave away and some gave the ultimate sacrifice to serve this country.”
Five World War II veterans were in attendance Wednesday to celebrate the big announcement, including South Kingstown native Tony Faella and his wife of 71 years.