The USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS (DE 413) was launched by the U.S. Navy on January 20, 1944, commissioned on April 28, 1944, and sunk by the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Battle off Samar on October 25, 1944. Why would a destroyer escort that existed for less than one year merit a web site? Read on.
Though our crew had only six months in 1944 to get to know one another, we formed bonds that exist today. These bonds will continue, long beyond the time that the last survivor has gone on to join those crew members who were killed when our ship was sunk, so many years ago. Children and other family members have formed strong friendships which will endure.
In addition to the families of the original crew, there exists another family involved with the SAMUEL B. ROBERTS. This is the family of officers and men who have served on the namesakes of the DE 413: the destroyer SAMUEL B. ROBERTS (DD 823), and the fast frigate, SAMUEL B. ROBERTS (FFG 58). Additionally, let us not forget the fast frigate, USS COPELAND (FFG 25), named after our Captain, Robert W. Copeland, and the fast frigate USS CARR (FFG 52), named after our heroic Gunners Mate, Paul Henry Carr.
You will have to search the history books to come up with a heritage such as that of the Sammy B, as our ship has come to be known. We were a crew of teenagers on a ship of which we were immensely proud. As we sailed, we were still making friends, playing together, working together, sharing those pictures and letters from home, and wondering what the future might hold.
On October 25, 1944, we discovered abruptly what fate had in store for us. We were suddenly in mortal combat with our enemy, the Japanese. We fought well and died not so well, but drove off the enemy against unbelievable odds.
What follows is our story. We hope that through this website neither we, nor our comrades who went on before us, will be forgotten.
[Introduction by Survivor Dick Rohde, RADM 3]