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    At her commissioning at New Orleans on 1 October 1943, the ship was sponsored by Mrs. Margorie E. Rich, widow of the namesake, Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Ralph McMaster Rich, USNR.

    He was born 22 January 1916 in Bismark, South Dakota. He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve on 12 October 1939. Designated Naval Aviator on 12 July 1940, he was commissioned ensign on 16 August, and assigned to Enterprise (CV-6) on 28 November. He was promoted to lieutenant junior grade) on 28 May 1942. He led a section of fighters of the famed Torpedo Squadron Six covering the approach of American bombers against the Japanese fleet during the Battle of Midway, 4 to 6 June, 1942.

    Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Rich was killed in an airplane crash on 18 June 1942. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for "capable and aggressive leadership" which enabled his attack group to "maintain continuous flight over enemy naval units, thereby assuring our dive bombers an unmolested approach".

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