The guided missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) was launched on 8 December 1984 at Bath Iron Works in Maine. The BIW launch crew rose before dawn to complete a checklist that was long but familiar, burnished over a century that had sent 393 ships into the Kennebec River.
PHOTOS BY BATH IRON WORKS / COURTESY PAUL RINN
The official party assembles before FFG 58. Among them are prospective CO Cmdr. Paul Rinn, BIW CEO William Haggett, Sen. Mitchell and Rep. McKernan of Maine.
Haggett, left; Mrs. Jack Yusen, wife of a survivor of USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE 413); and Ivonette Roberts, the ship’s sponsor and the sister-in-law of its namesake. Roberts holds the ceremonial wine bottle, swathed in protective fabric.
Roberts swings the bottle at the ship’s prow.
Haggett makes some remarks about FFG 58.
FFG 58 begins to slide sternward, propelled by gravity alone.
The ship leaves the slideway, backing into the Kennebec River.
Tugs take FFG 58 under tow and pull it to the BIW pier so that construction can continue.