Commissioned 70 years ago 12/22/1946

Sea Stories

Send us your stories!

We want to hear your personal recollection of your time spent on the USS Samuel B. Roberts DD-823. Each memory is important to us, and helps our beloved ship live on. Send them via e-mail.

Entry May 2008 – Dave Baber – BMSN 64-65

I have a story that I haven’t seen anywhere yet. We were tied up at the pier in Naples, Italy during the 1964 Med cruise. The liberty section had gone ashore hours earlier and everything had settled back into the normal routine of shipboard life. It was quite late and a bunch of us were watching a movie on the mess deck.

IMG_8434-1.JPGSuddenly, our tranquil existence was shattered when the General Quarters alarm was sounded and someone started yelling into the intercom for us to go to our stations. We immediately did as instructed although we mused over the possibility of the Italians attacking the ship. It did not seem likely.

It turned out that one of our rated boatswain mates had returned to the ship in a very inebriated state (drunker than heck). When he attempted to come aboard, he somehow missed the gangplank and plummeted unceremoniously into the void between the ship and the pier. To top it off, he was singing (very loudly and very badly) through the entire ordeal.

Somehow we managed to fish him out of the drink and get him aboard. We were then ordered to take him forward and put him in the shower. Actually, we kind of threw him in the shower but he was a trouper and continued his crooning for hours.

Dave Baber (BMSN 64-65)

Entry November 2008 – Jim Antenucci (62-65)

Every person who proudly served on the “Saggin Sammy B” may submit their sea stories, tall tales, prevarications, and outright lies for inclusion on this page. Dust off the old cobwebs and share the excitement and humor of your tenure on Roberts. Simply write your story down and send it to any Association officer. We anxiously await reading them. IMG_8422-1.JPGIt was the “storm of all storms.” At least, that’s the way all of us now remember it. It was December,1963 and we had just successfully concluded a Med. Cruise. Just a few days earlier we had been enjoying beautiful weather and I remember listening for the first time to a relatively unknown British band called the “Beatles.” Hear they enjoyed a little success. The Squadron was operating with USS Essex and was about a day out of the Azores. The weather had been progressively deteriorating and now all hell had broke loose.

The ship was riding the waves, one minute the bow completely submerged and the propeller biting at thin air and the next everything was totally reversed. I am not admitting to being apprehensive but a large percentage of the crew was “scared s…less.” We were losing everything on the ship’s decks. Darn, no potatoes for awhile. Fortunately, Roberts and the other tin cans were making progress.

The Essex was not. The storm was wrecking havoc on the mighty carrier. She couldn’t tide the waves, therefore took the brunt of their force. The ship’s mast had collapsed and her decks had sustained considerable damage. Her skipper and the Admiral concluded she was in great danger of sinking and ordered Roberts and another can to return to pick up possible survivors.

POD excerpt 2-1.jpgMaking a 180 degree turn in mountainous waves is not something that anyone in their right mind would do for fun and our Captain Murray was no novice seaman. He knew the risks but also knew many lives were in peril. Before commencing the turn, he talked to the crew, explained about the turn he was going to make and the reason for hazarding it. He advised everyone, in rather assertive language, to wedge themselves in and “hold on tight.”

The rest is anticlimactic. The turn was successfully navigated and by the time we reached Essex, the situation had improved dramatically. The carrier’s Captain thanked us for our efforts and the Admiral gave us permission to make speed and rejoin our Squadron for the return to Newport. We did and were all with our loved ones for the Holidays.

Jim Antenucci – 62-65