Seven survivors, family and friends of the USS Samuel B. Roberts Survivors Association gathered in the Washington DC area at the Springfield Hilton Hotel for their reunion. In all, 27 were present during the period from September 26th to September 30th.
The U.S. Navy Memorial was the site for our Memorial Service on Thursday. The weather was perfect and the staff of the Navy Memorial could not have been more helpful. The bell was sounded three times for shipmates who took their final voyage since our last reunion. They were Executive Officer Everett E. “Bob” Roberts and close friends Seamen George Bray and Sam Blue. Along with the Navy Honor Guard and Navy Bugler, we were pleased to have old friend John Cosgrove in attendance. Following luncheon, we then visited the most impressive World War II Memorial. On returning to the hotel we had our annual business meeting. San Diego is our proposed site for next year’s gathering.
On Friday, we visited Arlington National Cemetery and witnessed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns. No matter how many times you may see this, it never diminishes in honor and respect. One cannot forget the words from the Sentinel’s Creed, “…. this soldier will in honored glory rest under my eternal vigilance”. Following a luncheon at the Mount Vernon Inn, we toured Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington. This is indeed a magnificent home in a beautiful setting.
Saturday evening, following a social hour, we enjoyed a delicious meal served by our hotel. Special guests this evening included CDR Mark Metzger and his wife Dalia. Mark is the Prospective Commanding Officer of USS CARR, FFG 52, named after our shipmate Paul Henry Carr. The Change of Command will take place in October somewhere in the Middle East. Former CO of USS CARR, Ned Bagley and his wife Catriona had planned to be with us for dinner but airline delays changed their plans. Ned did join us for breakfast on Sunday morning. Our speaker for the evening was Brad Peniston, author of the book “No Higher Honor” which chronicles the story of the mining of our namesake ship USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS, FFG 58, in the Persian Gulf in 1988. Even though many of us had read his superb book, he made the story come alive. Following the presentation of long stemmed roses to our ladies, we moved on to our hospitality room for songs, stories and farewells.
Sunday morning most of us gathered for our Farewell Breakfast. Vows to meet again next year were followed by our return to our homes from one coast to the other. Fair winds and following seas to all.