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General Characteristics Crew List Memorabilia Cruise Books In the News About the Ship's Name About the Ship's Coat of Arms Accidents aboard USS Samuel B. Roberts STANAVFORLANT Cruise 2002 Patch Gallery Image Gallery to end of page

USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58)

- decommissioned -

USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS was an OLIVER HAZARD PERRY class frigate and the second ship in her class heavily damaged while in action in the Persian Gulf. USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS was the third ship in the US Navy to bear the name.

General Characteristics:Keel Laid: May 21, 1984
Launched: December 8, 1984
Commissioned: April 12, 1986
Decommissioned: May 22, 2015
Builder: Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine
Propulsion system: two General Electric LM 2500 gas turbines, two 350 Horsepower Electric Drive Auxiliary Propulsion Units
Propellers: one
Blades on each Propeller: five
Length: 453 feet (138 meters)
Beam: 47 feet (14.32 meters)
Draft: 24,6 feet (7.5 meters)
Displacement: 4,100 tons
Speed: 28+ knots
Aircraft: two SH-60 Sea Hawk (LAMPS 3)
Armament: one Mk 75 76mm/62 caliber rapid firing gun, MK 32 ASW torpedo tubes (two triple mounts), one Phalanx CIWS
Crew: 17 Officers and 198 Enlisted

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Crew List:

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.

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About the Frigate’s Name, about Coxswain Samuel B. Roberts:

Coxswain Samuel B. Roberts, Jr. was born in San Francisco on 12 May 1921. He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1939 and was called to active duty in 1940. Roberts served aboard the USS CALIFORNIA (BB 44) and the USS HEYWOOD (AD 12), before being transferred to the troop transport USS BELLATRIX (AKA 20).

In 1942, BELLATRIX was assigned to task group FOUR and became part of the Guadalcanal Assault Force. As a coxswain for the BELLATRIX's Assault (Higgins) boats, Roberts became extensively involved in the landing of supplies from ships at sea to what was a very tenuous beachhead. As a result of the heavy fighting at sea beginning 7 August 1942, Coxswain Roberts was transferred to the Beachmaster unit on the island of Guadalcanal to perform transport and medevac duties.

Early on the morning of 27 September 1942, Roberts volunteered for a rescue mission to save a company size unit of Marines who had been surrounded by a numerically superior Japanese force. Initially, the rescue group of several Hogging boats was taken under heavy fire and was perilously close to failure. Realizing the state of the rescue mission, Roberts unselfishly volunteered to distract Japanese forces by passing directly in front of their lines drawing their fire. This decoy act was performed effectively until all Marines had been evacuated. However, as he was about to withdraw from the range of the Japanese guns, Roberts' boat was hit and he was mortally wounded. For his valor and courage in the face of the enemy fire Coxswain Samuel Booker Roberts was awarded posthumously the Navy Cross which was later proudly displayed in the Wardroom of USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS (FFG 58).

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About the Ship's Coat of Arms:

The Shield:

The shield is divided wavy blue, red and yellow, suggesting the shoreline of Guadalcanal and the Marines trapped there is September 1942. The three stars allude to the Naval Forces who volunteered to rescue the hard-pressed Marines. The gold star represents Coxswain Samuel B. Roberts, Jr., who was mortally wounded during this mission when his boat drew enemy fire away from the other boats embarking the Marines. The three stars also stand for the three ships named for Samuel B. Roberts, Jr.; the gold star denotes the current ship.

The Crest:

The lion, a symbol of courage, signifies Roberts' ultimate sacrifice for his comrades. The lion's red claws and tongue symbolize courage; the blue collar bearing a cross pattee convexed indicates that Roberts' died in battle and was awarded the Navy Cross for his gallant actions. The lion is grasping in his paws a blue torch, suggesting the passing on of Naval history. The lightening flashes represent the armament of this ship, and indicate the quick-strike capabilities of the modern warship.

The Motto:

Admiral Copeland, the LCDR, Commanding Officer of DE 413, concluded in his report of the Battle of Samar, with these words; "In the face of this knowledge, the men zealously manned their stations wherever they might be, and fought and worked with such calmness, courage, and efficiency that no higher honor could be conceived than to command such a group of men."

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Accidents aboard USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS:

April 14, 1988Persian GulfUSS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS strikes a mine while operating in the Persian Gulf. Detonation of the mine results in major structural damage to the hull and superstructure, flooding and fires. There are no personnel casualties but 69 injuries reported as a result of the explosion. Damage aboard the frigate was that extensive that she had to be returned to the United States for repairs by a heavy lift ship (photo below). SAMUEL B. ROBERTS was repaired at Bath Iron Works in Maine and the repairs took at least one year.

Three days after the mine blast, forces of the Joint Task Force Middle East executed the American response - Operation Praying Mantis. During a two-day period, the Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force units of Joint Task Force Middle East destroyed two oil platforms being used by Iran to coordinate attacks on merchant shipping, sank or destroyed three Iranian warships and neutralized at least six Iranian speedboats.

The photos below show the hull damage and the situation of the ship shortly after the mine hit.

March 2010off NigeriaThe Nigerian Navy patrol boat BURUTU collides with the USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS while both vessels are in a training exercise. The ROBERTS had previously sounded a warning using her loudspeakers that the Nigerian vessel was on a collision course but the patrol boat subsequently scraped along the side of the ROBERTS.

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After nearly six months at sea, USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS returned to its homeport at Naval Station Mayport July 5, 2002.

Deployed as a member of NATO's Standing Naval Forces Atlantic (SNFL), ROBERTS' odyssey took the ship and crew through Norway's freezing fjords to seas off of Syria, which were physically placid but politically tense.

Visiting the snowy Norwegian ports of Bergen and Trondheim, sophisticated and continental Lisbon, and the sunny coasts of Crete and Turkey, ROBERTS' crew completed not only its naval mission, but a diplomatic mission of goodwill across Europe.

SNFL is an international force that sails as NATO's ready force in the Atlantic. Serving as the only US ship of the force, ROBERTS operated with naval forces from Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Soon after joining SNFL in late January, ROBERTS began two weeks of intense work-ups allowing each ship to adjust to the others' capabilities while carrying out exercises in every warfare area. The force then steamed to the tiny Portuguese island of Porto Santo, 300 miles west off Morocco, in order to practice a crisis response operation.

The exercise, called Unified Odyssey, simulated providing relief and care to a city experiencing a disastrous earthquake and imminent volcano eruption. During the exercise, the six-nation team set up camp on the island and took care of the displaced citizens of the island.

After visiting the mild climes of Portugal, the ships headed north to brave the nasty winter of the North Atlantic. Experiencing almost constant 12-foot seas, 50 knot winds, and low visibility, respite from the heavy seas came with a week long visit to Trondheim, Norway where the Floridian Sailors were greeted with almost two feet of snow.

March 1 brought SNFL back to sea for Exercise Strong Resolve 2002. Strong Resolve is an annual action involving 26 nations engaging in land, air, and sea warfare exercises. Simulating a defense of the Norwegian coast, SAMUEL B. ROBERTS and her international partners engaged in simulated combat operations and battled more of the Arctic winters, operating frequently in the dangerous narrows of the Norwegian fjords.

One fjord transit proved particularly demanding and was called, "easily the most memorable moment of the cruise" by Command Master Chief Timothy Gudge. Having just landed its helicopter due to deteriorating weather, the ship suddenly found itself enveloped in a blizzard with winds more than 60 knots and zero visibility. Navigating with absolutely no room for error, the ship barely shuddered forward through the driving wind with steep cliffs just 1,000 yards to either side.

Other vessels similarly fighting the weather in close quarters only fueled the incredibly tense transit. The taxing evolution lasted hours, but the crew eventually brought the ship to the safety of the high seas, tired but safe.

Strong Resolve was completed with a well-deserved visit to Bergen, Norway, after which the crew reluctantly said goodbye to their friendly Scandinavian hosts. With the promise of warm weather ahead, the ship was off for the second visit to Lisbon.

The highlight of the two-week visit to Lisbon was the change of command ceremony for the commander of SNFL. On April 5, Commodore Fernando Jose Ribiero de Melo Gomes of Portugal, commander of the naval squadron since the end of March 2001, was succeeded by Rear Adm. Manuel Otero Peñuelas of Spain.

The departure from Lisbon marked a major mission shift for the force and ROBERTS as it sailed into the Mediterranean Sea to participate in Operation Direct Endeavor, an overseas maritime component of Operation Enduring Freedom, the international war on terrorism.

These real world actions for ROBERTS included patrolling and monitor commercial shipping. With the help of its helicopter, nicknamed "Venom", ROBERTS would track shipping vessels and send pertinent information to higher authorities. ROBERTS' two months with Direct Endeavor were highly successful ones as the crew tracked and reported more than 600 vessels. ROBERTS' query total, on station time and accumulated helicopter flight hours, were all far more than any other ships in the NATO force.

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Operation Desert ShieldMEF 1-98 HSL-42 Det.4

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The photo below was taken by me and shows the SAMUEL B. ROBERTS at Royal Navy Base Clyde in Faslane, Scotland, on March 30, 2014. She is visiting Scotland to participate in Exercise Joint Warrior 14-1, however, she did not depart Faslane with the other US ships due to technical problems.

The photos below were taken by Michael Jenning and show the SAMUEL B. ROBERTS laid up at the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, Penn., on October 16, 2015.

The photo below was taken by Michael Jenning and shows the SAMUEL B. ROBERTS laid up at the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, Penn., on October 17, 2016.

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