After a month’s journey from its homeport of Newport, R.I., USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) arrived in the Persian Gulf on 14 February 1988, for a scheduled four months of convoy duty and patrols. Operations were tense from the start, with Iranian warplanes and mysterious American aircraft flying overhead and unfriendly Iranian warships on the sea.
The Roberts soon found itself pitted against the Iranian frigate Sahand. The two frigates would tangle several times as the American crew worked to keep the Iranians from harrassing shipping in the Persian Gulf.
On 10 April, Roberts received word that the ship had won the Battle E award for Surface Group Four, beating out the squadron’s seven other frigates for the October 1986-March 1988 battle efficiency awards cycle. The Roberts also earned mission Es in eight categories, including anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, electronic warfare, engineering.