Commissioned 70 years ago 12/22/1946

Jim Antenucci

Shipmates,

​I am happy and honored to serve as your Association president for the next two years.

USS Samuel B. Roberts (DD 823)—my first ship—was a great tour for me with exciting days and new friendships. Reunions bring out sea stories, renewal of acquaintances and friends, meeting new sailors and officers who served on the Roberts in different decades, learning of similar exploits and service at sea.

​I first became aware of the SBR Shipmates Association in 1999 or 2000 but it wasn’t until September 2001 at Newport, R.I., that I attended my first reunion – then successive reunions followed from 2007 in Charleston through 2015 in Washington, D.C.

​Please join your shipmates and me in Newport again in 2017. We hope to see you there.

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Some background:

As a new ensign out of Officer Candidate School at Newport in August 1962, my biggest fear was that the Roberts would remain tied up—in a nest of destroyers at Coddington Cove—never to go anywhere. Well, I was wrong about that.

​When CDR W.B. Murray was CO, I was assigned to M Division under the tutelage of LT John Terry and Chiefs, BTC Del Barone and MMC Olivo. Highlights of those six months included the America’s Cup flagship for CNO; the Cuban Missile Crisis with a wild and wooly ride to Argentia, Newfoundland; and anchoring in squadron formation one freezing February night in Buzzard’s Bay under the tactical command of an English commodore! High seas adventures for a young man from the Bronx.
​Then off to Damage Control School in Philadelphia. A year later Captain Murray made me his navigator. The baptism of fire came as the ship departed Newport for the Boston Naval Shipyard without a gyrocompass. Ops Boss LT Bill Mackay and I turned our sextants sideways and reported sighted angles to the outstanding QM1 Jim Corbett. Amazing. It also helped having an old quartermaster, Captain Murray, in command.
​Two Med cruises, an abbreviated trip to Gitmo with CDR Rankowski after a major overhaul at Boston NSY, and a Vietnam deployment followed in short order under CDR Glaser. My last days on SBR were spent navigating up the Saigon River passing Vung Tau, then the Mekong Delta, and finally a helo transfer from the fantail in the Gulf of Tonkin en route “DesTech” in Newport in December 1965. It’s hard to believe all that was 50+ years ago but what a memorable three and a half years.

​My sea duty ended in 1972 after later assignments and three more RVN deployments in ’67, ’69, and 1970. I then spent the next 10 Navy years in various shore duty assignments at Pearl Harbor, Portland, Maine, and New Orleans. I retired as a Lieutenant Commander in November 1982 and remained in New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina in 2005 move our family to the Atlanta, Georgia area.—Jim Antenucci