Category Archives: Updates


Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413) Found!

Deep-sea explorers, led by Victor Vescovo (@VictorVescovo on Twitter), announced on June 24 that they have  found the wreckage of the Sammy B, nearly 7000 meters below the surface of the sea, and currently the deepest shipwreck ever found.

Quoted in The Washington Post, Rear Adm. Sam Cox, head of the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington, said, “This site is a hallowed war grave.” 

We now know conclusively where many of our shipmates rest in peace. May the crew’s bravery and perseverance, facing insurmountable odds, always be remembered.

Image source: Victor Vescovo on Twitter.


Passing of Jim Hornfischer

We received the following sad news from Warren Stirling of the USS Johnston/USS Hoel Association about the passing of author Jim Hornfischer. With his acclaimed naval history book, The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy’s Finest Hour, Jim let the world fully know of the heroism of the sailors aboard the Samuel B. Robert (DE-413).

Our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Sharon, family and friends.

Jim’s obituary is here.

Dear Johnston/Hoel Family,

It is deeply saddening to report to you that our good friend, James Hornfischer, has passed away. James left us at the age of 55 on June 2, 2021, after struggling with a challenging medical situation. James attended several of our reunions while gathering information for his perhaps best known work, “The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors.” In that book he not only describes the historic aspects of the Battle at Leyte Gulf on 25 October, 1944, but he also was able to capture and relate an account of the events from a more personal perspective based on his interviews with our shipmates. There were gripping first hand accounts of what crewmembers were doing, feeling, and experiencing during the battle and also during the hours of torment in the water while waiting for rescue.

The Johnston/Hoel family is grateful for James’ friendship and for his efforts in helping others understand the significance of the events at Leyte Gulf. We extend our most heartfelt and sincere sympathy to the Hornfischer family during this time of sadness as James moves on.

Warren Stirling
USS Johnston/USS Hoel Association

Letters to the wife of Charles Staubach

Jim Staubach, son of Charles Staubach, recently reached out to the Survivor Association to inquire about his father’s experience on board. 

Jim kindly shared letters sent to his mother by Executive Officer Roberts  and Captain Copeland in December 1944 and March 1945 respectively. 

They are touching and sad and speak to the bravery of Charles Staubach and other men on the ship.

You can