The guided missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) was commissioned on 12 April 1986 at Bath Iron Works in Maine. There is no more hallowed ritual for a warship than this one, which formally ushers it into service with the U.S. Navy.
COLOR PHOTOS BY PH2 ALEXANDER C. HICKS JR., BLACK-AND-WHITES BY PH2 K. THARPE/U.S. NAVY
Part of the Roberts crew marches to the pier where the ceremony will be held.
The crowd assembles under a light rain.
Sideboys form lines by a sign presented by the shipmates of the first USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE 413).
The Northeastern Navy Band plays “Anchors Aweigh” and other service standards.
Cmdr. Paul Rinn, the Roberts‘ commanding officer, receives a salute from the sideboys.
Capt. Paul Aquilino, commander of Surface Group 4, the Newport, R.I.,-based squadron to which the Roberts will belong.
With the crew assembled around the audience, the ceremony begins.
The ship’s officers, in dress blues, gloves, and swords.
Two petty officers.
Capt. William A. Rehder, the Navy’s Supervisor of Shipbuilding in Bath, offers some words.
Senior Chief Quartermaster (SW) Robert L. Grafing.
BIW president William E. Haggett helped his shipyard win the contest to design and build the Perry-class frigates, of whichRoberts was the 23rd and second-to-last built at Bath.
Sailors run to man the Roberts and set its first watch as a commissioned warship.
Ascending the ladders.
Vice Adm. Henry C. Mustin, commander of the Second Fleet, delivers the principal address. “In the Navy’s hall of heroes, no name shines more brightly” than Samuel B. Roberts, Mustin said, and saluted the survivors of DE 413. “They steamed those little ships into the valley of death,” he told the crowd. “I feel pretty humble about talking about it in their presence.”
Jack Yusen, a survivor of DE 413, wears a ballcap with the numbers of all three Roberts ships.
“Great things come from great traditions,” Rinn tells the crowd. To the former Roberts crewmembers in the audience, he says, “You are our inspiration. You are our spirit.” And he asks his crew for three cheers “for those who have built our ship, and those who sailed before us.”
At the lifelines, the crew waves to the audience.