Category: No Higher Honor

Farewell, FFG 58

The crew of USS Samuel B. Roberts leaves their ship for the last time on May 22, 2015.
The crew of USS Samuel B. Roberts leaves their ship for the last time on May 22, 2015.
It’s been a very Sammy B Memorial Day weekend. The third USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) was decommissioned on Friday, accompanied by the typical pomp and circumstance the Navy affords its ships on the day they leave active service.

Here are some photos, stories, op-eds, and other remembrances that were published over the weekend:

Update: Op-ed: On May 27, Navy Times published my op-ed laying out the case for naming a fourth ship after the World War II coxswain.

Photo gallery: My best photos from the decommissioning ceremony, wrapped up in a Storify. The decommissioning was also covered by WJXT (video) and First Coast News (story).

Op-ed: The Naval Institute published my op-ed arguing that FFG 58, now slated for scrapping, should instead be brought to the Washington Navy Yard to replace the aging destroyer Barry as the centerpiece of the Navy’s main museum.

Tweetstorm: Defense One gathered up my tweets about the history and legacy of FFG 58 and used it to make a case for naming a fourth U.S. warship after Roberts.

Longform: Navy Times’ David Larter tells the story of FFG 58 anew in this longform piece that includes video interviews of former CO Paul Rinn and current crewmen and an audio interview with me.

Article: USNI also republished my 2013 Proceedings article about the mining of the Samuel B. Roberts and the crew’s fight to save her from fire and flood.

Podcast: Cdr. Salamander rebroadcast a 2013 episode of his Midrats podcast in which we discussed the mining of the Roberts.

‘No Higher Honor,’ Kindle Edition

Former Roberts sailors and their families prepare to go aboard during their Mine Blast 25th Anniversary reunion, April 13-14, 2013, in Jacksonville, Fla.
Former sailors and their families prepare to go aboard the Roberts at Naval Station Mayport during their April 13-14 reunion, which marked the 25th anniversary of the day they saved their ship.

Tomorrow marks a quarter-century since Operation Praying Mantis, the one-day campaign of retribution launched by the United States against Iran for the April 14, 1988, mining of the USS Samuel B. Roberts.

Naval Institute Proceedings is marking the anniversary of Praying Mantis, the U.S. Navy’s largest surface battle since World War II, by publishing in its April issue an interview of mine with the Roberts’ first chief engineer, Gordan Van Hook. USNI’s other magazine, Naval History, published a brief retelling of the Roberts story in its March issue. As well, the Naval Institute Press chose this week to release a Kindle version of No Higher Honor, my book about the Roberts.

Many of the sailors who helped save the Roberts marked the anniversary with a weekend reunion in Jacksonville, Fla. The frigate is homeported at Naval Station Mayport, and the current captain and crew threw open their ship to the visiting former sailors. For many of the several dozen Roberts shipmates in attendance, it was the first time they had been aboard in more than two decades. “The ship seems a lot smaller than I remember,” was the comment I heard most as the former sailors walked around the ship, finding their racks and old duty stations. But by Sunday night, when the friends and former shipmates compared notes on the Sammy B mine-blast survivors’ Facebook group, more than one had posted, “This is the best weekend of my life.”

Added to CNO’s reading list

Naval War College, Newport, R.I.
Naval War College, Newport, R.I.

Well, this is exciting. No Higher Honor has been picked as a Title of Interest by the CNO’s Professional Reading Program.

Maintained by the Naval War College, the CNO-PRP’s reading lists include some really great books, such as A Sailor’s History of the U.S. Navy by Tom Cutler, Wired for War by Pete Singer, The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors by Jim Hornfischer, The Twilight War by David Crist, and many more. It’s an honor, and quite humbling, to be listed with them.

Photos: FFG 58

Here are some good U.S. Navy photos of the Sammy B. Many of these don’t appear elsewhere on this site.

Photos: Tom Mowry

Thomas Mowry was an Operation Specialist 1st Class — an air-traffic control expert — aboard the USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) during its first deployment to the Persian Gulf. Mowry was in the frigate’s combat information center when the ship hit an Iranian mine on 14 April 1988. During the damage-control effort, he helped transfer 76mm shells from their magazine to the forecastle, and later helped rig a set of cables in an attempt to stabilize the ship’s superstructure, which had cracked and come partially loose from the main deck.

Mowry took these photos in the days and weeks after, as theRoberts made its way to Dubai, was set up on blocks in drydock, and ultimately loaded aboard the Mighty Servant 2 for the trip home to Newport, R.I.

FFG 58: The Wounded

Chief Alex Perez, who was trapped in the engineroom by the mine blast. He survived serious burns after being transported from the Persian Gulf to Texas.
Chief Alex Perez, who was trapped in the engineroom by the mine blast. He survived serious burns after being transported from the Persian Gulf to Texas.

Many of the Roberts crew were injured by the mine blast. Ten were evacuated by helicopter within a day of the explosion, and several were eventually flown to U.S. hospitals to recover.

Excerpt from “No Higher Honor“:

A tall, lean man, Hospitalman 1st Class James Lambert. was the closest thing the ship had to a physician. Inevitably, everyone called him Doc.

When the mine went off, Doc Lambert picked himself off the sickbay floor and considered his options. The frigate had two spaces intended as emergency treatment wards: one was far aft under the flight deck; the other was farther forward but surrounded by racks of DC gear. Neither was usable in the current circumstance, thanks to passageways full of smoke and hoses and equipment. So Lambert consulted with Rinn and Eckelberry about setting up a triage area atop the deckhouse, just behind the signal bridge.

It was hardly an ideal location for a makeshift infirmary — two levels up from the main deck and only a few dozen yards from the hose teams that were pouring water on the smoke-belching exhaust fire. But at least it wasn’t inside the ship, which looked as if it might sink at any moment. It was also close to the whaleboat. If Matthews and his mechanics couldn’t get their helo running, the Roberts might have to send its most severely wounded out by motorboat.

So the exec got on the 1MC and told anyone with an injury to make his way to top of the deckhouse. Privately, he thought, We’re going to lose some of these guys.

Lambert had already begun treating several of the hurt men belowdecks. In engineering’s Central Control, he applied burn salve to Wayne Smith and Dave Burbine, who was shivering uncontrollably despite the blanket wrapped around him.

He sent others up to the triage area behind the signal bridge. They were met by Lambert’s phone talker, Master-at-Arms 1st Class Stanley Bauman, and Ens. Steven Giannone, a disbursing officer who had arrived aboard during the deployment and become Lambert’s medical assistant. Giannone and Bauman took in the new arrivals and tried to make them comfortable.

Forty minutes after the blast, Lambert joined them. He checked on Bobby Gibson, who had been tied to a stretcher and carried up to the aid station. The boatswain’s mate had tried to join a repair party after the mine blast had flipped him from his lookout’s chair, but the pain had soon debilitated him. The corpsman bent over Gibson, sweat dripping from his brow.

Chewing ice chips to keep himself hydrated, Lambert moved from patient to patient, applying Silvadine antibacterial cream, pushing IV needles into their arms, starting drips of Ringer’s lactate to replenish their fluids. As his supply of bandages dwindled, the corpsman sent a junior personnelman, Charles Morin, and a seaman named Richard Klemme down to his sick bay for more.

“Just cut the lock off the medical supplies,” he told them.

Several of the burned engineers eventually arrived. Lambert worked to stabilize them. Severely burned patients are at great risk of shock. The corpsmen knew that their chances for survival depended on better care than he could provide on the frigate.

But Lambert took hope in the news that the ship’s Seahawk might become available for an evacuation flight. Leaving Lt. (j.g.) Robert Chambers, the ship’s electronic readiness officer, in charge of the IVs, he headed down to the hangar to establish a medevac station.

The supply officer, Lt. Bradley Gutcher, had beaten him to it. Anticipating the need, Gutcher had raided the aft battle-dressing station, gathered up all the first-aid supplies he could carry, and hauled them in a blanket to the hangar.

Eckelberry passed the word over the 1MC, and injured men began to show up at the hangar. Several dozen had wrenched their backs and limbs, either in the initial blast or by slipping on the various liquids that were being tracked around the ship: water, fuel, AFFF. Some had gotten oil and smoke particles in their eyes, yet had been unable to bear to use the ship’s eyewashes to clear the gunk out. Lambert slit open saline bags and gently cleansed their faces.

Presently, the sailors began to make their way down from the deckhouse aid station. Bill Dodson, an electrician’s mate 3rd class, was working in the midships passageway when one badly burned shipmate hobbled past.

Everyone was yelling and we were moving ammo around or something. Lots of heavy things. And I looked up to see two people escorting GSM Welch aft to the helo deck. He was naked, and completely burned and bloody. He had a gray blanket draped around him. It was a bad scene, and everyone hushed as he walked slowly by. I couldn’t believe he could walk. After he went by, I think our efforts took on a new sense of urgency.

Speech: Capt. Gordan E. Van Hook

In 1988, Lt. Gordan E. Van Hook was chief engineer of the USS Samuel B. Roberts. A plankowner, or original member of the crew, Van Hook was responsible for training the engineering department aboard the frigate. An integral part of the damage control effort that saved the Roberts after it hit a mine, he went on to attain the rank of captain and to command Destroyer Squadron 23, the “Little Beavers” of WWII fame.

On August 17, 2006, Capt. Van Hook spoke at the Surface Navy Association’s West Coast Symposium 2006 at Naval Base San Diego:

Vice Adm. Nyquist, Vice Adm. Etnyre, Rear Adm. Buzby, Commodores, Captains, Fellow Surface Warriors, and friends of Surface Warfare:

I’m pleased and deeply honored to be invited to speak to you today about Leadership and Survival. Like most professional surface warriors, they’re two topics very close to my heart. I want to thank Bill Erickson and the Surface Navy Association for inviting me. I know that Paul Rinn, my CO in the SAMMY B, regrets being unable to attend, but I’ll do my best to talk about my experiences on that great ship and some of the enduring lessons that I think you’ll be able to apply to your jobs on the waterfront and hopefully, beyond.

Needless to say, the experience of the mining did much to shape my career and my life in ways that were sometimes quite obvious, and other times quite subtle. At the time of the action, and in its immediate aftermath, I felt many different emotions. It was a life altering experience, and I tried hard to approach it rationally and to keep it in perspective. It was obvious that we, as a crew, had performed very, very well. We had done more than just survive; we saved our ship to fight another day. In the end, as American fighting men and women, that’s what it’s really all about when you take a hit. But why did we do more than survive? What made us able to pull it together at the right time in the right place? Well, as I thought about it in the aftermath, it was clear there were actually many factors. There were the basics of doctrine, organization, training, professional education, manning, and equipment. As a Navy, then and now, we are second to none in this basic “blocking and tackling” of putting a modern navy to sea. But along with the basics of being properly trained and equipped, there was definitely something different about the “SAMMY B”… there was a spirit in that crew: a deep down sense that we were special, that nothing could beat us, that we really were the best at what we did. Where did that spirit come from? Were we some unique combination of brains, talent and skill that just happened to aggregate at that point in space and time by luck or intelligent design? As professionals, you all know the real answer. It was all about leadership.

I’m not going to tell you all the entire detailed story of the SAMMY B and the mining and its aftermath. You have Brad Peniston here today, and I want to publicly thank and commend Brad on the outstanding job he has done in telling the third SAMMY B’s story in his great book “No Higher Honor”. It is exceptionally accurate and does a great job in capturing many of the elements that gave the ship its spirit. If you have not read it, I highly recommend it to you. It’s a wonderful story of a great ship that through superb leadership, survives a devastating blow without the loss of a single life. I’ll leave the details to the book, and I will try to do my best to offer my perspectives on that key ingredient of leadership, and the role it played in that particular ship.

As I said, there were many factors that went into making the third SAMMY B a successful ship. We were blessed with a true DC zealot in our commissioning DCA, Lt. Eric Sorensen. But where did this DC zealot come from? Was he born from a Perijet eductor, or a P-250 pump? No, as Brad accurately portrays in the book, Eric had no initial interest in damage control. His strength came from his ability to focus, and I mean focus, bore sight his energy and enthusiasm to do the very best at whatever job he was given. Those of you leading at sea know very well how valuable a quality that is on a warship. However, you also know well how such a quality can have a down side. Eric was not universally loved on the ship. He was not a charismatic leader. When he bore-sighted on something like damage control training, it could be to the exclusion of all else. He was a downright pain in the ass! He was a pain in the ass to everyone, especially me as the chief engineer and damage control officer! So how did Eric end up as DCA on the SAMMY B? Well, go figure – Eric’s first commanding officer recognized his qualities, despite his drawbacks, and recommended him to Paul Rinn. Paul Rinn took stock of these qualities and gave him the toughest Divo job aboard ship: DCA. Again, as Brad so accurately depicts, Paul Rinn was no damage control guru. He had no particular interest in it other than he knew that it would be a crucial and essential building block for the ship’s initial success and its ultimate ability to fight and survive in combat. I didn’t recognize it implicitly at the time in Paul Rinn, but I later realized he was demonstrating one of the essential fundamentals of leadership: taking stock of each individual’s strengths and weaknesses and making the most of those strengths while using the team to minimize the weakness. The ability to clearly recognize those strengths, take stock of them and put them to use for the team is an essential leadership quality and certainly a key to survival. By the way, it won’t surprise some of you elders in the audience, that that first CO to recognize those strengths in Eric on his first ship was none other than VADM Hank Giffen, a great surface warfare leader in his own right.

The captain had a great ability to get the most out of each and every member of the crew. That’s certainly a crucial element of leadership, but obviously there was more to building that spirit that made the ship. In its simple way, Webster’s tells us that to lead is to go ahead so as to show the way. Well, Paul Rinn recognized early that to show the way ahead, history would prove an invaluable ally. As the old saying goes, you can’t get where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. In this case, SAMMY B was fortunate to have a name so rich in history for spirit and heroism. For those of you that have read the work of our other author with us today, Jim Hornfischer’s “Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors”, you know well of the remarkable story of raw guts and fighting spirit that the original SAMMY B showed as she fought Japanese cruisers and battleships off Samar Island at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, ultimately sinking and leaving her survivors to sharks and exposure for days before their rescue. Paul Rinn knew the story well and he did his best to immerse the crew in it before and after commissioning. He had many of the original survivors as a part of the commissioning ceremony and more importantly, he would bring them to sea with us at every opportunity. I can remember them sitting on the mess decks and telling their stories for hours to the crew. This had an immense impact on our crew. They not only sucked up every bit of wisdom they could from these old guys, but more importantly they took the flame of a spirit that was passed to them, a sense that they were a part of something much bigger, more important than themselves. They were a part of a fighting legacy, an indomitable history of courage and success. I only wish we’d had Jim’s great book to really illustrate it, but those old guys on the mess decks did a pretty good job on their own. I would enjoin each of you to look back as much as forward and attempt to draw on the lessons of history that can guide you and inspire your crew.

As I’ve reflected on the success of the third SAMMY B, I’ve often thought that we also had a lot of luck on our side. As Bath Iron Works was finishing the ship’s construction prior to commissioning, the yard went on strike. However, despite the virtual halt to all work on the ship, the commissioning crew continued to arrive. Usually, an FFG under construction received her crew in increments that arrived all the way up until commissioning. This could be nerve-wracking as the earlier arrivals and core leadership had very little time to train and integrate the new arrivals, many of whom were very green, fresh out of boot camp or A School. In this case, the delay of the strike was a boon to the leadership. New crew members continued to arrive on the original time schedule and we made the most of it. Contractually, we were unable to work on the ship, but we sure could train. Not only did we roam our entire ship, we roamed throughout the others in various states of construction, conducting DC scavenger hunts and rallies and competitions to test each other’s knowledge of not just damage control, but the entire layout of the ship. This created a remarkable sense of competition and enthusiasm in the crew. Everyone wanted to show their expertise and try to stump their buddies on facts and layouts that seemed trivial to some, but proved invaluable when we really needed it. This competition and enthusiasm continued after commissioning and work-ups with more scavenger hunts and blind-folded egress drills, as well as the normal GQ’s and fire drills. The crew genuinely seemed to enjoy these, no matter how onerous they got, and I’ve already told you that the DCA did not have a lovable personality. You see, each sailor really loved knowing his ship and knowing his job. We just had to supply the data, and they ate it up! Every crewmember carried two small books, one in each back pocket. The “little red book”, the Main Space Fire Doctrine was in his left pocket, and the “little blue book,” containing general DC info and ship’s plans, was in his right pocket. Armed with the reference material close at hand, they continued to amaze all inspectors and trainers. I’m not saying they were perfect angels, but I will say that they taught me that we rarely tap the true potential of our people, and when we do come close it’s more than we could ever expect. By the time they got to GITMO, they couldn’t wait to take on ATG and show them what they knew. Their favorite was the Mass Conflagration Drill when all the canned drills no longer mattered and you had to rely on your innate knowledge of the ship to improvise. This is when the training really showed.

So what really happened with the strike? Was it just the luck of opportune timing and some much needed breathing room to train? Or was it something bigger than that? Somehow, with some well applied skill and enthusiasm in the leaders themselves, we had tapped into a gold mine, that vein of unlimited potential that lies within the heart of the American Bluejacket. Upon further reflection, I realized that while luck helps, it takes much more to achieve success with a crew or any team. If as a leader, you can find a way to unleash the enthusiasm and natural desire to excel that lies within each and every sailor, than you’ll achieve success no matter how your luck turns out.

As you can probably see by now, the Captain, the wardroom and CPO Mess laid the groundwork early for reacting to the events of 14 April 1988. While the spirit and enthusiasm of the crew were essential to survival, make no doubt about it, when the blast comes and the lights go out, when the black smoke is billowing and the water’s rising, you better have those basic skills and that fundamental knowledge, too. Several key decisions were made by leadership that day that were critical, and I’d like to review them. The Captain manned battle stations immediately upon sighting the mines, but he did it without sounding GQ. Sound crazy? Let me tell you, when the CO comes on the 1MC and calmly and deliberately tells you the situation and tells you that he wants you at your battle stations quickly and quietly, with minimal confusion, it has an immense effect. Rather than blindly sounding the claxon, he knew there was a potential for acoustic mines and he wanted to minimize confusion while maximizing our readiness. We honestly had not drilled for being in the middle of a mine field, but the CO understood when procedures needed to be modified, and he did so to great effect. Consequently, our DC teams manned quietly and seriously, and knew that this was the real deal. They were on the balls of their feet and ready for anything. Another key decision was made by then Chief Walker, who quietly advised all in the engineering spaces, via the 2JV, “why don’t you guys all get up on the upper levels until we sort this out”. Sounds like a “no-brainer”, huh? Well, incredibly that had never come up in our training and the Chief improvised and most assuredly saved a half-dozen lives with that order. Ask then GSM3 Burbine if he had wanted to be sitting down on that OD box between the engines which ultimately ended up in the overhead. There were in fact, many snap decisions made throughout the six hours of flooding and fires that followed the blast. Some of them were made by senior leaders, but many were made by very junior sailors, drawing on their training and knowledge of the ship. Fireman Tilley knew he had to get an SSDG on line and he knew he’d have to climb on its big metal back in the dark with a battle lantern and hit “the suicide switch” to give us our lights, firefighting water and crucial eductors. Chief Ford, a navy cook, knew that in AMR 2, standard patches were not going to fit the irregular cracks in the after bulkhead, but shirts and mattresses would buy him the time he needed. Boatswain’s Mate Senior Chief Frost knew that heavy weather lifelines would be handy for stitching a gaping crack across the deckhouse. And the Captain listened to his young chief engineer, Lt. Van Hook, when he insisted on fighting the engine room fire through the engine removal hatches on the O-2 level.

You never know who’s going to come through for you when the time comes. The sharp eyes that spotted the mines were those of a young seaman, Bobby Gibson, who had spent hours and hours, watch after watch in the bow of that ship, looking through the hot haze of the Gulf. Did he get bored at times? I’m sure he did, but he kept at it because someone made it clear to him, probably a BM3, that he had a job to do and it was important. I remember watching a young seaman apprentice horsing a P-250 pump with a couple of shipmates, reminding a second class how to get a hose connected properly. That second class knew when it was time to listen to the seaman apprentice. I remember others not being there too, ones you thought you could count on, freezing up when you needed them. The point is, you’ve got to spread the knowledge wide and as deep as you can because you’ll never know who’s going to be the man or woman on the scene to save your life and save your ship.

As good as I thought we were, there were still those that said “that will probably never happen to us”, even when in a combat zone. Talking to shipmates and others that have faced similar challenges, this is not an unusual human self defense mechanism. As leaders we have to recognize this challenge and force ourselves and our crews to be ready when the time comes. I remember Paul Rinn coming on the 1MC the night before the mining, and reminding s that we needed to be vigilant for mines. There had been no special warnings, he just was thinking ahead of bad things that could happen. Unfortunately, fires and floods are not limited to ships in combat. They can come at any time. Ask yourself if you’ll really be ready when the time comes. Don’t wait for ATG to tell you if you’re ready. In your heart you know if you are, or if you aren’t.

At this point, I should probably say something about leadership and physical courage. It’s very popular to focus on physical courage in times of crisis. There’s the heroic appeal to facing extreme personal danger for your shipmates and country, sacrifice of self for the greater good. As leaders, I believe measured and rational physical courage under fire or extreme stress is indeed an inherent responsibility and key to unit survival. However, as John McCain has so eloquently written in his book “Why Courage Matters”, it is not necessarily something we are born with, but rather something we must practice every day to be ready when the time comes. I’m not talking about walking through a live target range to be ready for combat, but there’s no doubt that training and knowing our business to the point that it goes in auto when we’re under stress is a key element to maintaining the calmness and coolness that our subordinates will expect from us in dire situations. Paul Rinn had this down to a tee, and his calm demeanor did much to reassure the crew throughout that long night. That calm and cool demeanor became the entire ship’s hallmark.

What really made the SAMMY B in 1988 a survivable ship? No doubt, the Perry-class FFG turned out to be an exceptionally well-designed and well-built ship. We were blessed with a great captain in Paul Rinn. His personality and natural leadership infused the crew with pride and enthusiasm. The wardroom was good, but about fleet average. It was not necessarily an exceptional chief’s mess, but there were some key leaders that built a real sense of responsibility and camaraderie, and formed the key linkage to the crew. Was it all the training? Was it a fluke of nature — the “lucky draw” of a great group of sailors and a bull-headed DCA? I submit to all of you that it was more than that. It was that inner fire and determination that is really there for every leader to find. Nothing can substitute for that will, enthusiasm, and motivation that lies waiting, sometimes dormant, to be tapped in every bluejacket. As leaders, if we take the time to plan, and if we view quality training as an honest concern for their welfare, there is no limit to that potential. I remain convinced that if we as leaders give our people the resources, the time, and the support up front then they’ll more than do their part when the time comes. It’s up to each of us to get out front and show the way ahead!

Thank you.

Photos: Bob Chambers

These photos were taken and provided by Robert Chambers, who in 1988 was a lieutenant junior grade and the electronics readiness officer aboard the Roberts. Click any photo to embiggen.

Operation Nimble Archer

On 16 October 1987, Iranian troops fired a Silkworm anti-ship missile from a launcher on Iran’s northwestern coast. It streaked across open Gulf waters and struck the MV Sea Isle City, a reflagged Kuwaiti oil tanker at anchor off Kuwait. The missile exploded, blinding the tanker’s American captain. It was the first successful strike against a tanker reflagged as part of Operation Earnest Will. U.S. officials took pains to point out that the attack had happened after the tanker had been turned loose by its naval escorts, but the White House nevertheless decided to deal a retaliatory blow. Three days later, on 19 October, the U.S. Navy mounted Operation Nimble Archer.

Two oil platforms were selected as targets; both were being used by Iranian forces as command-and-control posts. Four U.S. destroyers lined up — USS Hoel (DDG-13), USS John Young (DD-973), USS Kidd (DDG-993), and USS Leftwich (DD-984) — and began to steam past one of the platforms. At 2 p.m., Gulf time, the ships began firing hundreds of naval gun shells at the platforms. The facilities stubbornly refused to crumble; their steel lattice proved almost impervious to the blasting shells. But the incendiary effect eventually set them afire.

In a subsequent press conference, President Ronald Reagan called Nimble Archer “a prudent yet restrained response.”

U.S. NAVY PHOTOS BY PHOTOGRAPHER’S MATE 3RD CLASS HENRY CLEVELAND

The U.S. Navy destroyer USS JOHN YOUNG (DD 973) shells a pair of Iranian command and control platforms as part of Operation Nimble Archer, the U.S. response to a recent Iranian missile attack on a reflagged Kuwaiti supertanker.

arrow up to photoUSS John Young (DD-973) shells one of the Iranian oil platforms.

An Iranian command and control platform burns after being shelled by four US Navy destroyers. The shelling, dubbed Operation Nimble Archer,  is a response to a recent Iranian missile attack on a reflagged Kuwaiti oil tanker.

arrow up to photoA U.S. Navy helicopter flies past one of the burning Iranian oil platforms.

An Iranian command and control platform burns after being shelled by four US Navy destroyers. The shelling, dubbed Operation Nimble Archer, is a response to a recent Iranian missile attack on a reflagged Kuwaiti oil tanker.

arrow up to photoAnother Iranian oil platform burns.

An Iranian command and control platform burns after being shelled by four US Navy destroyers. The shelling is a response to a recent Iranian missile attack on a reflagged Kuwaiti oil tanker.

arrow up to photoJohn Young sails by one of the Iranian oil platforms.

An Iranian command and control platform burns after being shelled by four US Navy destroyers. The shelling is a response to a recent Iranian missile attack on a reflagged Kuwaiti oil tanker.

arrow up to photoSpruance-class destroyer passes the burning platforms.

FFG 58: Repair at Bath Iron Works

USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58), a Perry-class guided missile frigate, entered Bath Iron Works’ dry dock in Portland, Maine, on 6 October 1988. In a unique and difficult repair job, its engineroom was cut out and replaced with a 315-ton module fabricated in the Bath shipyard.
The ship was undocked on 1 April 1989. Subsequent sea trials showed its performance to be better than new.

PHOTOS BY MARK S. ANDOLINA, WHO SIGNED ABOARD ROBERTS AS AUXILIARIES ENGINEERING OFFICER IN MAY 1988.

USS Samuel B. Roberts under repair in Bath Iron Works dry dock in Portland, MaineUSS Samuel B. Roberts under repair in Bath Iron Works dry dock in Portland, MaineUSS Samuel B. Roberts under repair in Bath Iron Works dry dock in Portland, MaineUSS Samuel B. Roberts under repair in Bath Iron Works dry dock in Portland, MaineUSS Samuel B. Roberts under repair in Bath Iron Works dry dock in Portland, MaineUSS Samuel B. Roberts under repair in Bath Iron Works dry dock in Portland, Maine