Title: Commemorative Plaque of the USS Samuel B Roberts (DE-413)
Accession #: NHHC 2015.034.001
Location: Headquarters Artifact Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command
One bronze plaque bearing the raised image of the ship USS Samuel B. Roberts. Below in raised lettering is "In Memory of Those Who Have Sailed Before Us/USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413)/LCDR R. W. Copeland, Commanding Officer" The remainder of the plaque includes the names of the original crew of the USS Samuel B. Roberts.
The USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413) was the first ship named after the Coxswain that was killed in the Battle of Guadalcanal. The ship was commissioned 28 April 1944 and participated in the Battle of Leyte Gulf as part of Task Unit 77.4.3 or "Taffy 3". USS Samuel B. Roberts fought a fleet of Japanese battleships, cruisers, and destroyers in the battle off Samar. The ship was so efficient in her attack she is sometimes referred to as "the Destroyer that fought like a Battleship". Samuel B. Roberts sank IJN Chokai, and damaged the bridge of Chikuma before succumbing to enemy fire on 25 October 25 1944.
This plaque was displayed aboard the third USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) in commemoration of the bravery of the men on the first ship to bear the name. On 14 April 1988, the USS Samuel B. Roberts struck a mine laid by the Iran Ajr in the Persian Gulf. The mine blew a 15 foot hole in the hull breaking the keel of the ship. Damage this extensive is almost always fatal to ships. Because of the fast actions of the crew, after a 5 hour effort to purge water and fight fires, the ship was saved. The Captain of the vessel, CDR Paul Rinn, was aware the sailors knew the history of the first USS Samuel B. Roberts. CDR Rinn noted while running to their stations to save the ship, the men would touch this plaque for good luck to commemorate the crew of the first ship.